Film Music Review
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To read past reviews and other information, click on this link:

Film Music Review (Volumes 1-7)

 
   

 

 

 

 

Volume 8

Number 2 (March - April 2006)


Editor and Publisher: Roger L. Hall

Contributing Writer: Steven A. Kennedy


This e-zine will focus on film scores and compilations of the past, but will also feature new soundtracks, especially those by lesser known film composers.

The old FMR site with Volumes 1-7 will remain online (click on link in top left column) for those who want to read over reviews of past soundtracks and compilations, also...

  • From the Editor
  • Top Ten Film Scores (1930s - 1970s)
  • Book Reviews and Magazine Articles
  • Film Composer Tributes
  • Film Music Essays
  • Film Music News   

Here is the revised FMR rating system:

**** (Superlative - Highest Recommendation)

***1/2 (Outstanding - Recommended)

*** (Good - Okay)

**1/2 (Fair - Nothing Special)

** (Mediocre - Barely Passable)

* (Poor - Save Your Money)

The Special Merit and Editor's Choice - Best of the Month CDs are chosen at any time during the month for outstanding soundtracks or compilations.

There are only a few copies remaining of the Limited Edition book:
A Guide to Film Music.
To order, click on the link in the right column.

Your comments are always welcome. Send them to:

FMR


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Past reviews are found here:

Volume 8/ Number 1 (January - February)


CD Reviews for March - April


Editor's Choice - Best of the Month for April:

THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT! THE ULTIMATE ANTHOLOGY OF M-G-M MUSICALS (6 CDs + 108 page booklet) - ****


This CD has received Special Merit:

CHARLIE CHAPLIN: The Essential Film Music Collection - ****


Other reviews:

BASIC INSTINCT 2 - music by John Murphy - ***

CAPOTE - music by Mychael Danna - **

ECHOES OF INNOCENCE - music by Brad Sayles - ***

ENDURING LOVE - music by Jeremy Sams - ****

ESCAPE TO VICTORY - music by Bill Conti - ***

GREAT FILM FANTASIES (2006) - music from Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings - ***1/2

HOSTEL - music by Nathan Barr - ***

KING KONG VS. GODZILLA - music by Akira Ifukube- **

MUSIC FROM THE HARRY POTTER FILMS - music by John Williams and Patrick Doyle - ****

RANSOM - music by Jerry Goldsmith - ***1/2

THE TRIANGLE - music by Joseph Lo Duca - ***1/ 2

TRISTAN AND ISOLDE - music by Anne Dudley - ***

 


Editorial:

78th Academy Awards --

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

By Roger Hall

In past years, I've enjoyed watching the Oscar telecast because it was live and anything could happen to cause some chuckles. Now the whole thing is so tightly scripted and with such time limits that it's become a big bore. Of course it's easy to dismiss this annual parade of red carpet princes and princesses in their designer clothes and say that the awards are merely an overblown popularity contest. That it is.

As for this year's buzzfest, the only surprise was CRASH getting the Best Picture Oscar. Everything else was predicted far ahead of time by the media hounds who sniffed along the trail of these Oscar nominees like bloodhounds after their prey.

It's all become so tiresome that the films with the most buzz (like BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and KING KONG), get the most Oscars. Of those two films, one was a sensitively told love story and the other one was about a girl and her ape pal, that was way too long and mostly poorly acted (except for Naomi Watts). So BROKEBACK had a good story and acting and deserved its Oscars for Adapted Screenplay and especially for Director Ang Lee. KING KONG got three technical Oscars: for Visual Effects, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. I believe they weren't all justified. How about MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA which had far more subtle visual effects? Or WAR OF THE WORLDS with its eerie sound effects? But who can predict these lesser known Oscar categories? It seems these days splashy spectacle rules over story substance.

Rather than go on with the other categories I'll skip to the music categories...

Best Song

This was the worst choice of songs ever! Only three of them were nominated and none of them were very memorable. But the song which got the Oscar was the worst of them all. I didn't see the film, HUSTLE & FLOW. I have a hard time believing the Academy voters really thought the rhythm and rhyme junk with the provocative title, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," was the best song of the year. This was the worst song ever to receive an Oscar. It's just gutter trash.

On to the next music category...

Best Score

This isn't a great choice since the score is very sparse and doesn't make much of an impression. But it worked well enough in the film. I preferred the songs in this film and chose "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" for a Sammy Award. I didn't pick the Santaollalla score. Instead, I believe that MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA was the best score of 2005..

So there it is...the good (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN), the bad (KING KONG), and the ugly ("It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from HUSTLE & FLOW).

Will the Best Song or Best Score be remembered in years to come? Probably not. They seldom are these days.

The voters could have chosen a very good film like GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK. Instead they were more in the mood for an L.A. CRASH. They could have chosen the brilliant John Williams score for MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA. Instead, they went off on a trip to BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.

Go figure. That's Hollywood!


18th Annual Sammy Awards

These film music awards have been announced.

To read the list, go here:

Sammy Awards 


The International Film Music Critics Assocation

Film Music Awards for 2005

BEST ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SCORE

Memoirs of a Geisha ( John Williams)

BEST ORIGINAL ACTION/ADVENTURE MOTION PICTURE SCORE

King Kong ( James Newton Howard)

BEST ORIGINAL COMEDY MOTION PICTURE SCORE

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit ( Julian Nott)

BEST ORIGINAL DRAMA MOTION PICTURE SCORE

Memoirs of a Geisha ( John Williams)

BEST ORIGINAL HORROR/THRILLER MOTION PICTURE SCORE

A History of Violence ( Howard Shore)

BEST ORIGINAL SCI-FI/FANTASY MOTION PICTURE SCORE

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ( Patrick Doyle)

BEST ORIGINAL TELEVISION SCORE

Lost ( Michael Giacchino)

BEST NEW CD RELEASE OF A PREVIOUSLY EXISTING MOTION PICTURE SCORE

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – The Complete Recordings (Howard Shore/Reprise)

SOUNDTRACK RECORD LABEL OF THE YEAR

Film Score Monthly

FILM COMPOSER OF THE YEAR

John Williams


More Mozart at the Movies

Elvira Madigan (1967) - Andante movement from Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21in C Major, K. 467. Also used in the film are excerpts from music by Antonio Vivaldi (the sensuous "Red Priest"): "L'Amoroso" - First Movement from Violin Concerto in E Major; "L'Estro Armonico" - First Movement from Violin Concerto in D; "Summer" Concerto from The Four Seasons.

The serene slow movement from Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21 in C has become best known as: "Elvira Madigan" Concerto. This is a confusing designation because it has nothing to do with when the music was written. The Swedish film used the Mozart slow movement on its soundtrack. Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide mostly dismissed this film because it "too often resembles a shampoo commercial." Actually the shampoo commercial came as a result of the popularity of the Swedish film with its long soft focus shots of the romantic couple romping in the fields. Having seen this lovely sensitive film when it premiered in 1967, I believe the Mozart and Vivaldi music were used very effectively as underscoring.

The problem isn't with the film or its director (Bo Widerberg)--it's with the record producers. The recording used in the 1967film was by pianist Geza Anda and the Camerata Academica of the Salzburg Mozarteum. It received a Grand Prix Du Disque. I believe it's still one of the best recordings of this sublime piano concerto. Almost immediately after the film became a big hit, the record company (Deutsche Grammaphon) replaced the oriiginal LP album cover which had a beautiful old color print, and replace it with an LP cover showing the stunning Pia Degermark, the actress who played the title role in the Swedish film:

At least that LP (and later CD) cover stated that it contained the theme from the film. But since then many record companies have ignored explaining that the Mozart slow movement theme was used in the Swedish film. They make more money by recycling this lovely Mozart music with the title "Elvira Madigan" Piano Concerto. This is just one more example of the money-handlers misleading consumers. Watch the film and decide for yourself. For me, I thought the Mozart theme was a bit overused in the film. Yet this is still ideal music for such a melancholy story of two runaway lovers.

 

To order the Swedish film, go to: Elvira Madigan DVD

Other Mozart music featured in films here.


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