Tuesday, April 03, 2018

What's The Score?

Today, for some reason, is National Film Score Day.

A score is an odd things.  Going back to its earliest days, drama was often accompanied by music.  But why?  Real life has no musical background? On the other hand, film scores were there before dialogue.  When films started to be shown to the public, it wasn't long before someone decide to play music along with it.  And at the height of the silent era, fancy movie theatres would have orchestras playing music, often written for the particular film.

Then came sound, and the score would be the same at every performances. (Think of it--silent movies were different in every theatre, based on what the musicians did.) Though the earliest producers sometimes worried the customers would think it odd that there was music coming out of nowhere.  Some would even film musicians playing just to reassure the audience.

Scores became an important part of the film, though, ironically, they're often best if you don't notice them too much. (Or maybe there's something wrong with the storytelling if you're noticing the music.)

I have a friend who's very into film scores.  When I first met him, he had hundreds of albums of his favorite stuff.  While I was aware of scores, there were probably only a few back then I'd specifically recognize (half of them probably by John Williams).

But once you get into it, you start recognizing certain styles, and even certain eras.  You've got Steiner and Korngold and Stothart and Alfred Newman and Herrmann and Waxman and Tiomkin.  And you also start getting jazz scores and pop scores and rock scores, and people like Elmer Bernstein and John Barry and Mancini and Jarre and Rozsa and Morricone and Rota and North.  More recently there's Goldsmith and Morris and Conti and Zimmer and Horner and Shore and good old John Williams and Silvestri and Newton Howard and Elfman and Mothersbaugh and Burwell and Giacchino.  (Of course, there's also the soundtrack made up of old tunes replacing the specially written score.)

So here's to you guys, and all the others.  When done right, you add something to the movie (but not too much).

2 Comments:

Blogger brian said...

When done right.
When done wrong it is really noticeable. My wife likes (or perhaps loves) the Hallmark Channel. These fluffy stories with very conventional plots are fine for what they are. But the scores are amazingly annoying. Noticeably annoying even in the context of a less than masterpiece milieu. Whoever is doing the scoring for Hallmark is not doing it right.

9:17 AM, April 03, 2018  
Blogger Movies Reviews said...


I wasn't sure Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen--or any actor, for that matter--could play such an iconic character without being overshadowed by its grand progenitor (i.e., Hopkins), however "Hannibal" is so beautifully written, acted and directed that it transcends the inevitable comparisons. Happy death day Hopkins played Lecter with hellish glee. He was the serial killer as prankster, a thinking man's Joker without the facial scars. the devil's candy Mikkelsen's Lecter is quieter and deadlier. He's almost like an alien predator, or a velociraptor in human form. When he smiles, you're probably about to die. Mikkelsen is chilling, funny, and blazingly brilliant. He totally makes the role his own, but that's not to take anything away from Anthony Hopkins. Asking who makes the better Lecter is like asking who's the best Dracula, Lugosi or Lee. They're both great, they're just different. Happy death day 2017

8:47 PM, April 03, 2018  

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