Wednesday, December 9, 2020

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1970, Day Four: Original Score

This year's field was dominated by Best Picture nominees: AirportPatton, and the winner, Love Story:

Two exceptions, though, one from a newbie, the other from a veteran of the game...

Cromwell is a historical drama in the vein of Anne of the Thousand Days or A Man for All Seasons, depicting the clash between statesman Oliver Cromwell and King Charles I - a clash that included Civil war, the execution of the King, and Cromwell's becoming head of state and government. It feels like a film made for those who already know the history, with the many people and their titles and their loyalties increasingly difficult to track - I know there's betrayal and double-crosses and whatnot, but I could not for the life of me figure out who was betraying or why. Hoarse Richard Harris disappoints; Alec Guinness is great. This was one of the film's two nominations; it won for Costume Design.

Sunflower is a drama about a woman who refuses to believe her husband, declared MIA, died in war; she searches for him in the Soviet Union and uncovers the shocking truth. Sophia Loren (who this year, returns to cinema in Netflix's The Life Ahead) is quite gutting in the film. Otherwise, I wasn't too crazy about it. I don't mind its score, though, which you can hear, alongside the other nominees, right here:
Alfred Newman
past nine-time winner, 43rd and final nomination for score; Golden Globe nominee for Best Original Score

The movie's strongest element. Suspenseful, driving music that emphasizes the danger when the script cannot, the excitement when the direction cannot, the momentum when...actually, the editing's pretty good at that, they're working in tandem.

Frank Cordell
first and only nomination; Golden Globe nominee for Best Original Score

About as big as you'd expect a historical epic to be. Great opener! Not a very surprising sound for a medieval drama, just shy of greatness. It's do-able.

Love Story
Francis Lai
first and only nomination; Golden Globe winner for Best Original Score

You'll never convince me this couldn't double as a giallo score! The point being, I love a giallo score, and this is just as memorable and exotic and beautiful as a Morricone. Like Airport, it's doing the heavy lifting.

Jerry Goldsmith

I really liked this one! It's surprisingly understated at times. Plenty of Americana sounds - the brass and drums, you know - but there's a certain meditativeness to it.

Henry Mancini
past winner, fourth of seven nominations for scoring

A romantic sweep that's not really comparable to much else in the Mancini oeuvre. Beautiful, mournful, the sound of bittersweet memories.


As you can see, while one or two come close, nothing, in my mind, beats:


Tomorrow, the nominees for Best Original Song Score: The Baby MakerA Boy Named Charlie BrownDarling Lili, Let It Be and Scrooge.

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