Saturday, September 12, 2015

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Cinema '65: Hymns and Balalaikas!

A musical, three epics, and a drama.

Let's take some time to listen to some music, shall we?

Alex North for The Agony and the Ecstasy
It's lovely, the right mix of epic, intimate, and holy. It's your typical roadshow sound, really.

Maurice Jarre for Doctor Zhivago
Now this is how you do an epic roadshow score! "Lara's Theme" sweeps you into the romance, revealing itself in unexpected moments -- like a moon shining in the sky, a beacon showing the way.

Alfred Newman for The Greatest Story Ever Told
One of the things I admire about this film is its refusal to be bombastic. Newman adapts his score accordingly -- it's subtle, it's moving, and it saves its big guns for resurrection and ascension -- in which case, it adapts Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus for full effect.

Jerry Goldsmith for A Patch of Blue
What does bittersweet sound like? Probably like this -- simple and elegant, Goldsmith captures the gentleness of the story in his main theme, while creating genuinely upsetting moments like the blind crosswalk scene. Beautiful.

Jacques Demy/Michel Legrand for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
If Jarre's Zhivago score sweeps, Legrand's Umbrellas score swoons -- nothing could sound more vital than the love theme that carries Genevieve and Guy through the film, while the "Recit de Cassard" is full of a subtle longing, even if it is more straightforward. But still -- why does Demy get credit here, and not in the actual movie?


Maurice Jarre won the Oscar for Doctor Zhivago...but I'm gonna go with


Yes, the same. It's incredible.

On the next adventure: Martin Balsam (A Thousand Clowns), Ian Bannen (The Flight of the Phoenix), Tom Courtenay (Doctor Zhivago), Michael Dunn (Ship of Fools), Frank Finlay (Othello) -- yup, it's Best Supporting Actor time, y'all!

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