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stevef
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film

[ Edited ]

edwardean wrote:
Re: tongtong and stevef's comments on Eastwood as composer. (Unless we're talking about a miracle like West Side Story where every artist involved was a brazen genius, and let them all be the first to tell us so.)

Does this trouble anyone? Should Eastwood and Elfman get different credits from Toru Takemitsu or Jerry Goldsmith? How much of Eastwood's credit (or discredit, in tongtong's ears) goes to Lennie Niehaus, who orchestrated and conducted?
<

Ah, credit and film making, that time-honored brain twister.Collaboration is the wrench in the works when it comes to authorship. That Clint is a passable pianist is in his favor,but I've already expressed my admiration for Lennie N. Credit/blame--its a tough call for sure.

And speaking of West Side Story--keep in mind that the revered Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim delegates all his orchestrations to one Jonathan Tunick, whose ingenious work is rightly celebrated.

Message Edited by stevef on 06-27-2007 04:44 PM
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vermontlady
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film

Steve,

I still listen to the NASHVILLE soundtrack on a fairly regular basis, quite apart from the movie....and in addition, more often than I care to admit to, find myself humming Idaho Home...Blakley is incredible.

It's been a while since I've seen POPEYE; will take a look at it this weekend again.

And since I have been to more Pizza, Pooh, and Magpie concerts (sic) than I care to say, I have a soft spot for Tom, Bill and Mary.
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edwardean
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film

Great points. I don't really blame anyone for not wanting to orchestrate: it seems impossible--a combination of dictation, editing, addition and subtraction. Busywork that must be expressive. Tough stuff and kudos to them what can do it.



stevef wrote:


edwardean wrote:
Re: tongtong and stevef's comments on Eastwood as composer. (Unless we're talking about a miracle like West Side Story where every artist involved was a brazen genius, and let them all be the first to tell us so.)

Does this trouble anyone? Should Eastwood and Elfman get different credits from Toru Takemitsu or Jerry Goldsmith? How much of Eastwood's credit (or discredit, in tongtong's ears) goes to Lennie Niehaus, who orchestrated and conducted?


Ah, credit and film making, that time-honored brain twister.Collaboration is the wrench in the works when it comes to authorship. That Clint is a passable pianist is in his favor,but I've already expressed my admiration for Lennie N. Credit/blame--its a tough call for sure.

And speaking of West Side Story--keep in mind that the revered Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim delegates all his orchestrations to one Jonathan Tunick.


"I was knee-high to a chicken. And that love bug bit me."
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magraith
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film & Broadway

is there any Broadway composer that writes his/her own orchestrations? Rodgers didn't, Berlin couldn't read music, Porter assuredly didn't. I guess Bernstein musta but he is definitely a special breed of Broadway composer.

OK so here's one - what about film adaptations of Broadway? stay faithful as possible? best/worst examples? I'm blending over from a topic in another board, but it's relevant!

unfortunately I haven't seen enough of the original staged versions to make many comparisons. 1776 is a VERY faithful adaptation, but I'm not sure it was the best movie it could be for it. It's nice when action alluded to on stage can be enacted on screen, thought the examples of this I'm thinking of are not particularly good movies (Oklahoma & South Pacific)

I guess it's hard to beat West Side & SoM in the filmed musical category. Fiddler also a strong competitor, though i can never decide whether I like topol talking to the camera like that. The music in all 3 comes across well on screen.


And speaking of West Side Story--keep in mind that the revered Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim delegates all his orchestrations to one Jonathan Tunick, whose ingenious work is rightly celebrated.



ian
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vermontlady
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film & Broadway

Well, I for one am looking forward to Sweeney Todd....no bricks, please.

As for interesting adaptations, I also like the 1936 version of SHOW BOAT very much. Helen Morgan = incredible.

More interesting for me are the musicals about broadway: Bandwagon (was there a Broadway version?), almost all of Busby Berkeley, etc. etc. Lots of good ones to put on such a list.
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edwardean
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film & Broadway

The Band Wagon wasn't a Broadway show. It followed the MGM songbook template: take the music and lyrics of a composer (or composers), weave a dramatic pretext for it, mix well with the rest of your crack studio team and---presto! Instant success. BW took on Dietz and Schwartz, same way that Singin' in the Rain did Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown. An side effect was the greater the composer(s) the lesser the movie, most times, IMHO. The Porter, Kern, and Rodgers and Hart jobs (Night and Day, Til the Clouds Roll By, Words and Music, respectively) were middling to terrible movies. The aforementioned BW and Singin', plus An American in Paris (Gershwins, and the exquisite exception to the rule) were all extraordinary and innovative.

It might be worth discussing the reasons why.

Thank you for bringing Helen Morgan up--she's one of the underheralded treasures of early film musicals. Even more so because of Applause, a pivotal (historically, sonically, visually), unflinching, devastating backstage melodrama set in burlesque halls. Worlds away glistening dreams and polished floors of Astaire-Berkeley-Minnelli et al, but nevertheless as sophisticated (two years previous, director Rouben Mamoulian staged Porgy & Bess on Broadway to universal acclaim).



vermontlady wrote:
Well, I for one am looking forward to Sweeney Todd....no bricks, please.

As for interesting adaptations, I also like the 1936 version of SHOW BOAT very much. Helen Morgan = incredible.

More interesting for me are the musicals about broadway: Bandwagon (was there a Broadway version?), almost all of Busby Berkeley, etc. etc. Lots of good ones to put on such a list.


"I was knee-high to a chicken. And that love bug bit me."
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film & Broadway

Gotta include these:

The Magnificent Seven

Harold and Maude
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vermontlady
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film & Broadway

Yes, you are spot on about APPLAUSE. Her performance is definitive.
And given where it stands in the the history of film, at the dawn of the sound era, it is a truly amazing achievement on many levels. I have often thought that Morgan's performances, even on film, are so achingly full, at a time when acting style was often not as multi-dimensional. People often say with theater that Laurette Taylor did the same on stage. I think both are deserving of much more attention.
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edwardean
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film & Broadway

Are scores sometimes too rich for their own good? This definitely pops into my head as I watch The Magnificent Seven and am walloped time and again by that theme, which admittedly and by any measure is a stunning (in all senses) piece of anthemic music. But does it get in the way for anyone out there? Does the problem pop up with other blockbuster scores--eg, Exodus, Gone With the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia?



PaulH wrote:
Gotta include these:

The Magnificent Seven

Harold and Maude


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Chet_Guevara
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Discussion Topic: Music and Film

Anyone have feelings on the current trend of non-instrumental pop songs laid over the action (and dialogue) of tv or film? Drives me up the wall. Grey's Anatomy pioneered this one, I think, just murmuring voices constantly humming under the actors...

And I hate their twee music picks, too.
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LitEditor
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film

That's a fascinating perspective on composers -- I don't know enough about filmmaking to be sure of this, but surely the title "director" encompasses the same wide spectrum of technical skill and sweating-of-the-details from person to person. I'm certain that I've seen films and marveled at the director's eye for color, when really it was a genius D.P. (is that the right role?) who brought that to the project. But then there are other truly auteur-school guys who are probably right on top of every subtle aspect of how the film is cast, scenes blocked, dialogue delivered, shots framed, lights deployed, and so forth...

As for literary authorship; James Patterson is of course being very upfront these days about the thriller as something that can essentially be produced in, for lack of a better word, a collaborative spirit!




edwardean wrote:
Re: tongtong and stevef's comments on Eastwood as composer. When I watch FOOF (didn't see Letters), I too wondered what the "Original Music by" credit meant. Tongtong used the word "pros," which begs many fertile questions about the hows and whys of film music credits.

Danny Elfman, f'rinstance, is known to be a humming composer, ie, he sings or plays the rudiments of his score down on disc (or tape) and someone else (his old lead guitarist in O Boingo most of the times) orchestrates, fleshes the music out. A world away from say, Bernard Herrmann or Howard Shore, who do everything. Film music writing thus runs into the same authorship problems of any collaborative artmaking. (Unless we're talking about a miracle like West Side Story where every artist involved was a brazen genius, and let them all be the first to tell us so.)

Does this trouble anyone? Should Eastwood and Elfman get different credits from Toru Takemitsu or Jerry Goldsmith? How much of Eastwood's credit (or discredit, in tongtong's ears) goes to Lennie Niehaus, who orchestrated and conducted?




tongtong wrote:


stevef wrote:
What are examples of music going all wrong in a film?




Clint Eastwood is an interesting case in this regard. The guy makes terrific films, IMHO; I thought “Letters From Iwo Jima” was one of the finest war movies I’ve seen. But the music he writes for his movies? Not so positive on that. Certainly, it’s impressive that he does it at all, and relatively successfully, on top of his other jobs – I bet he knows what “gesamtkunstwerk” means! But to me, there’s an amateurish quality to his scores for “Flags of our Fathers” and “Mystic River.” That makes me wish he’d left the composing to the pros.





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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film - "The Holiday"

Another excellent movie!



stevef wrote:
Among his many other talents as an actor, Jack Black has a wondrous ability to convey genuine enthusiasm. When his characters are obsessed by something –- as with pop music in HIGH FIDELITY –-- you know it.




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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film

Sometimes it can be annoying, but sometimes (on Grey's and One Tree Hill) it has been spot on. The song can be perfect and can connect me with the emotion of the moment on the screen so much so that I find myself still singing a song I had never heard of before hours later. These two shows have introduced some great songs into my life.



Chet_Guevara wrote:
Anyone have feelings on the current trend of non-instrumental pop songs laid over the action (and dialogue) of tv or film? Drives me up the wall. Grey's Anatomy pioneered this one, I think, just murmuring voices constantly humming under the actors...

And I hate their twee music picks, too.


"It's never to late to be what you might have been" -George Eliot
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edwardean
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film

I am sometimes snapped out of my daily reality when I am in the city, walk into a succession of stores, offices, restaurants, etc, and realize that every single one has music playing overhead. Sometimes they are even tuned to the same light rock satellite station so you hear a song continue just like in a movie (or Grey's Anatomy). It turns real life into a trite movie sometimes --the appeal of the walkman/iPod rests largely in you taking back private sonic space from the surrounding people who (badly) score your daily life.

Your remarks begs a chicken-egg question. Does Grey's just reflect the way music we don't necessarily dig seeps into the empty sonic spaces of the day????



Chet_Guevara wrote:
Anyone have feelings on the current trend of non-instrumental pop songs laid over the action (and dialogue) of tv or film? Drives me up the wall. Grey's Anatomy pioneered this one, I think, just murmuring voices constantly humming under the actors...

And I hate their twee music picks, too.


"I was knee-high to a chicken. And that love bug bit me."
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film & Broadway



magraith wrote:
is there any Broadway composer that writes his/her own orchestrations? Rodgers didn't, Berlin couldn't read music, Porter assuredly didn't. I guess Bernstein musta but he is definitely a special breed of Broadway composer.

OK so here's one - what about film adaptations of Broadway? stay faithful as possible? best/worst examples? I'm blending over from a topic in another board, but it's relevant!

unfortunately I haven't seen enough of the original staged versions to make many comparisons. 1776 is a VERY faithful adaptation, but I'm not sure it was the best movie it could be for it. It's nice when action alluded to on stage can be enacted on screen, thought the examples of this I'm thinking of are not particularly good movies (Oklahoma & South Pacific)

I guess it's hard to beat West Side & SoM in the filmed musical category. Fiddler also a strong competitor, though i can never decide whether I like topol talking to the camera like that. The music in all 3 comes across well on screen.


And speaking of West Side Story--keep in mind that the revered Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim delegates all his orchestrations to one Jonathan Tunick, whose ingenious work is rightly celebrated.



ian




My vote for worst Hollywood adaptation of a musical was A Chorus Line. I saw the London cast perform that more times than I can count and loved it every time. I've seen it in other cities since then. But I have to gag when I see the horrendous movie. Ugh.
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film & Broadway

[ Edited ]
Re: background music behind today's TV shows. I'm not a fan of rock, and it's very irritating. I've only recently found out from a story on Public Radio that rock groups are selling their music that way. I think the music detracts from the story.
.....................................
magrath wrote

Is there any Broadway composer that writes his/her own orchestrations? Rodgers didn't, Berlin couldn't read music, Porter assuredly didn't. I guess Bernstein musta but he is definitely a special breed of Broadway composer.

................................................

Porter and Berlin didn't do their own orchestrations, but they were the only 2 of the great American composers who did their own lyrics. And yes, Porter did read music. But they didn't have to do their own orchestrations. The jobs were more specialized in the '30's through '50's.
Bernstein wasn't just a Broadway composer, but also composed many classical pieces.
.................................
magrath wrote:

OK so here's one - what about film adaptations of Broadway? stay faithful as possible? best/worst examples?

.......................................

You must include "My Fair Lady" and "Gigi"
Lerner & Loewe wrote literate, sophisticated songs with clever lyrics for complex, fully realized characters. The producers of the films kept the original intent. Even at 12, I understood what Gigi was being trained for.

I hate typing, or I would quote from "'enry 'iggins, Just You Wait!" and "Why Can't a Woman be More like a Man?" Can't recall the name of it, but the song Gasteau sings when Gigi tries to act like a courtesan to attract him, and he leaves in a fury.

OT--A little known fact: The stage version of "Gigi" which is not very well-known, starred Audrey Hepburn.


The problem with "Carousel," "Oklahoma" and "Show Boat" is that they were filmed when it was fashionable to make musicals cloyingly sweet. "Showboat" deals with several issues which were taboo--miscegenation, black-white friendship, the Jim Crow laws. Carousel is a far darker story than portrayed in the film, a story of a poor factory worker and a thief. The Broadway revival of about 10 years ago steered closer to the original material. If THAT version were to be filmed, it would be another film altogether.

Oh, yes, add the 1936 version of "Showboat"
as one of the best adaptations.
__________________________________________________________


_________________

Message Edited by foxycat on 06-30-2007 09:56 PM
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magraith
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film & Broadway


foxycat wrote:
Re: background music behind today's TV shows. I'm not a fan of rock, and it's very irritating. I've only recently found out from a story on Public Radio that rock groups are selling their music that way. I think the music detracts from the story.
.....................................
Porter and Berlin didn't do their own orchestrations, but they were the only 2 of the great American composers who did their own lyrics. And yes, Porter did read music. But they didn't have to do their own orchestrations. The jobs were more specialized in the '30's through '50's.
Bernstein wasn't just a Broadway composer, but also composed many classical pieces.
.................................

You must include "My Fair Lady" and "Gigi"
Lerner & Loewe wrote literate, sophisticated songs with clever lyrics for complex, fully realized characters. The producers of the films kept the original intent. Even at 12, I understood what Gigi was being trained for.

OT--A little known fact: The stage version of "Gigi" which is not very well-known, starred Audrey Hepburn.

The problem with "Carousel," "Oklahoma" and "Show Boat" is that they were filmed when it was fashionable to make musicals cloyingly sweet. "Showboat" deals with several issues which were taboo--miscegenation, black-white friendship, the Jim Crow laws. Carousel is a far darker story than portrayed in the film, a story of a poor factory worker and a thief. The Broadway revival of about 10 years ago steered closer to the original material. If THAT version were to be filmed, it would be another film altogether.

Oh, yes, add the 1936 version of "Showboat"
as one of the best adaptations.
__________________________________________________________



I'm glad you mentioned Lerner-Loewe, I was forgetting them. Of course they had the advantage Lerner being a lyricist who was an excellent screenwriter as well! I had not heard about a stage version of Gigi, I thought it was written for the screen. When was Audrey Hepburn in it on stage? I wasn't aware of her stage career.

besides being oversweet, Oklahoma & South Pacific onscreen have the disadvantage of being overlong and klunky. sorry for getting technical! I haven't seen them in a long time. The King & I is much better, as I recall, but I've never seen it onstage, and I haven't seen teh movie in about 25 years. I'll have to see the first movie of Showboat. I've only seen a little of the Howard Keel version on TV. We got to see the Keel version of Kiss Me kate and were pleasantly surprised! It's lot of fun. Just wish I could see it with 3D glasses.

I'm not sure if there is less specialization these days, with regards to orchestration and such. I think usually songwriters are not expected to be good orchestrators. Bernstein, is a marvellous exception, of course he's more the other way -- an excellent composer who also was a good songwriter. Milton "Who Cares if you listen?" Babbit also aspired to the Broadway marquee, but seemingly his songs were not as contagious. or maybe he could just never get a good book!


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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film & Broadway

[ Edited ]
mcgrath wrote

I had not heard about a stage version of Gigi, I thought it was written for the screen. When was Audrey Hepburn in it on stage? I wasn't aware of her stage career.


Watch out!! :smileyvery-happy::smileyvery-happy::smileyvery-happy: You're dealing with a self-made student of the Great American Songbook!! Anita Loos' non-musical flop stage adaption opened on Broadway in 1951, with an unknown Audrey Hepburn in an aborted stage career. It ran 60 performances, and Hepburn moved on to films in 1953. If it weren't for her, one of my favorite people ever, I wouldn't know about it either.

"Kiss Me, Kate" was excellent, because of Porter's lyrics and a script that never was sweet. Porter was ahead of his time (read: Sondheim) in pairing with a cynical, sarcastic script. It still holds up, and only the secondary plot with the crooks is dated. All musicals had a comic secondary plot in the '30's-'50's.

RE: 1936 "Showboat." Alan Jones and Irene Dunne starred, with Paul Robeson as Joe. Not overly sweet, and a few songs later left out of the 1954 version. Yes, Dunne really could sing, in spite of being mostly a dramatic and comic actress. In addition, there's sweet domestic scene between Joe and his wife,the wonderful Ethel Waters, giving them rounded personalities.

Regarding music, there is no definitive "Showboat." Songs have been removed and added ever since the play was first conceived. I believe a recording has just been made including every musical number ever written for it.

....................

Oh the question of really bad adaptations, several Andrew Lloyd Webber shows, which contain unsingable, unlyrical, unmemorable music, paired with awful books, have been made into several equally bad movies. Not because they were unfaithful to the show, but the opposite. I can only think of "Cats" and "Phantom" at the moment. I didn't waste my $10 on them.

Many of the current musicals on Broadway have rock music, which means I'm not going to see the plays or the films. Taking the plot from "La Boheme" or "Aida" and setting it to rock music does not a masterpiece make. The important part of opera is the music, not the story. Ditto with Shakespeare. Using a Shakespearean plot does not make "The Boys from Syracuse" a great play.

...............
WOW!! I've put so many opinionated ideas out there. Let's hear from everyone else.

Message Edited by foxycat on 07-01-2007 03:57 PM
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. --Oscar Wilde

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edwardean
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film & Broadway

Anything that did(does) originate on the stage is behind the 8-ball. Thus, my movie musical amours are almost all confined to things written expressly for the screen and that can only live as movies: Umbrellas of Cherbourg, All That Jazz, Love Me Tonight, Top Hat, Singin' in the Rain, The Red Shoes...with the exception of the aforementioned (by macgraith, I think) West Side Story/Sound ofMusic miracles, Broadway adaptations are top-heavy affairs and often collapse under the weight of having to be a masterpiece in a different medium.

The musical is the most self-conscious of movie genres. The pressure of all that pageantry and all those stage dollars having to be transubstantiated into movie gold adds one more, often fatal level of self-consciousness that can curdles a musicals (especially a cynical one like Chicago).
"I was knee-high to a chicken. And that love bug bit me."
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stevef
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Re: Discussion Topic: Music and Film & Broadway

A fantasy question: What books --classic or contemporary,legendary or practically unknown -- could you imagine being made into a musical?

Are some narrative strategies "musical" in form?
Believe those who search for the truth,
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But why must you bore me to tears?

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