Thursday, October 21, 2021

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Cinema '62: Best Original Score

Each category always seems to have one lone nominee, the sole representative of a film that, perhaps, had greater Oscar dreams. I'm sure the lone nominee in this category had higher aspirations: Taras Bulba.

Based on the novel by Nikolai Gogol, Taras Bulba is the story of a family. Taras is a proud Cossack, a ferocious military leader, an enemy of the Poles, a friend as well a father to his sons. His sons Andriy and Ostap are educated in Kyiv, where Andriy falls in love with a Polish noblewoman. This leads to some tensions when the Cossack take arms against the Polish government. Exciting battle scenes, with so many horses, extras, and pyrotechnics, you'll thrill even as you worry for everyone's safety! A bear pit! Lots of drinking and singing! Great performances!

And, of course, a sweeping, epic score - let's discuss further:

Jerry Goldsmith
first of 17 nominations (and one win!) for scoring

Weeeeeird horror score to highlight how unusual, how disturbing, how scary this new breed of psychoanalysis is - Freud is just as horrified/thrilled by it as we are! 

Lawrence of Arabia
Maurice Jarre
first of three wins, first of eight nominations for scoring; Golden Globe nominee for Best Original Score 

A classic, one of the great standard-bearers of scoring - and especially epic scoring - should sound like. No complaints.

Mutiny on the Bounty
Bronislau Kaper
past winner, third and final nomination for scoring; Golden Globe nominee for Best Original Score

For seafaring derring-do, Kaper nails the propulsive excitement of life on the water - and, later, the sensual seduction of life on the islands. Pure excitement.

Taras Bulba
Franz Waxman
past two-time winner, twelfth and final nomination; Golden Globe nominee for Best Original Score

I said what I said: this score? A blast! Even Bernard Herrmann called it one of the finest film scores ever written.

To Kill a Mockingbird
Elmer Bernstein
fourth of ten nominations for scoring; Golden Globe winner for Best Original Score

Softer, less bombastic than the other nominees, but no less effective in the way it captures the child's memories-of-a-small-town feel of the thing.


No surprise, Lawrence of Arabia went home the winner:

But I listen to my heart - and my ears - and while I'd happily place Lawrence at #2, my #1 vote goes to:


Tomorrow, the nominees for Best Original Song: Days of Wine and Roses, Mutiny on the Bounty, Tender is the NightTwo for the Seesaw, and Walk on the Wild Side.

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