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Thread: Film Score of the Day

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    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    Default Film Score of the Day

    Max Steiner
    The Lost Patrol

    1934


    71zPoiSP2YL._AC_SY741_.jpg

    Film scores weren't even a category at the Oscars until 1934, and Steiner's score was one of only three that were nominated that first year (the others were the two musicals The Gay Divorcee, and the winner, One Night of Love).

    That Steiner was nominated was a coincidence, as composers weren't nominated for scores until 1938. The nomination (and award) would go to whomever the studio's music department head was at the time. Steiner, in this instance, was both composer and head of the RKO Radio Studio Music Department. Also coincidentally, Steiner was nominated for The Gay Divorcee, although that score was composed by Kenneth Webb & Sam Hoffenstein.

    Back in 1934, films were still thought of as disposable product, to be released once, then likely melted down to be recycled for next year's films. So finding scores for films this old is sometimes a scavenger hunt.

    The Lost Patrol is a hybrid WWI/suspense film. Here's the plot:

    During World War I, the young lieutenant in charge of a small British mounted patrol in the empty Mesopotamian desert is shot and killed by an unseen sniper. This leaves the sergeant at a loss, since he had not been told what their mission is and has no idea where they are. Riding north in the hope of rejoining their brigade, the eleven remaining men reach a deserted oasis where they find water, edible dates, and shelter.

    During the night, one of the sentries is killed, the other seriously wounded, and all their horses are stolen, leaving them stranded. They bury the dead man and put his sword at the head of his grave. One by one, the remaining men are picked off by the unseen assailants. During the course of the film, the men talk and reminisce and fight—and deal with their situation. In desperation, the sergeant sends two men chosen by lot on foot for help, but they are caught and their mutilated bodies returned. One man, Abelson, suffering from heat exhaustion, sees a mirage and wanders into deadly rifle fire. The pilot of a British biplane spots the survivors, but nonchalantly lands nearby and despite frantic warnings is killed. After dark, the sergeant takes the machine gun from the aircraft and then sets the plane on fire as a signal to any British troops. Sanders, a religious fanatic, goes mad and walks into deadly fire.

    In the end only the sergeant is left and, thinking he too is dead, the six Arabs who have been besieging the oasis advance on foot. Using the machine gun from the aircraft, the sergeant kills them all. A British patrol which had seen the smoke from the burning plane rides up and the officer in charge asks the sergeant roughly where his men are. In silence, the sergeant looks toward their graves, six swords gleaming in the sun.


    Here's the score, in 11 parts, as recorded by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra led by William Stromberg (1964-....), an American film composer and conductor. Stromberg has been active in the Marco Polo Film Series, compact discs which feature world premiere digital stereo performances of classic movie scores of the 1930s and 1940s. Among them are "Beau Geste", "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (the 1939 version), and many others. This collection also includes music from Steiner's scores for Virginia City and The Beast With Five Fingers.

    Here's a link to the Main Title music, which I assume will link to the rest of the score titles.



    The Lost Patrol was a remake of the silent film "Lost Patrol", released in 1929.

    Prior to 1938 it's a bit tricky to track down film score credits, as credit was often simply not given. Steiner's work prior to this include Cimarron (1931) and King Kong (1933), Little Women (1933), and Of Human Bondage (1934), the film that made Bette Davis a star.

    Of course, Steiner would go on to be nominated for 24 Academy Awards, winning three: The Informer (1935); Now, Voyager (1942); and Since You Went Away (1944).

    There's also the top rated scores for Gone With the Wind, Jezebel, Dark Victory, Casablanca, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, A Summer Place, The Big Sleep, The Fountainhead, Life With Father, and The Glass Menagerie.

    Naturally, Steiner, along with contemporaries Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Alfred Newman, set the style and forms of film music of the time period and for film scores to come.

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    Senior Member Jacck's Avatar
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    good idea with this thread, after we already have all those "song of the day" and "electronic track of the day" etc threads. I will start with Jerry, since he is my most favorite film composer

    Jerry Goldsmith - The Wind And The Lion

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    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    The Informer
    Max Steiner
    1935

    Steiner won an Oscar for this score for the film The Informer directed by John Ford. Again, as with his nominations the previous year, he won as the head of RKO's music department, and not for actually composing the score. In effect, he was his own boss! In fact, he probably did more "arranging" and liberal re-working of traditional tunes and other music than actual composing for the film, although he did write music for a new version of Ave Maria.

    Still, there is some real pathos you can feel in his arrangements. I think it's his voicings of the strings, but, hey!, I could be mistaken.

    91IlyTRz1QL._SY445_.jpg



    The film also won Oscars for Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay.

    The plot revolves around a drinking weak-willed easily manipulated Irishman named Gypo that had been kicked out of the IRA.

    Here's a re-recorded version (1990, I think) of the Main Title music, with Charles Gerhardt conducting the "National Philharmonic Orchestra" and The Ambrosian Singers. I'm including this short clip as the sound quality is quite good.





    Here's the "The Informer Soundtrack Suite" composed and conducted by Max Steiner



    Playlist:
    00:00 = "Main Title"
    01:47 ="Kate Of The Streets"
    03:03 = "Gypo's Decision / The Blind Man / Gypo In The Tavern"
    03:29 = "The Wake"
    04:03 = "Mary And Gallagher"
    04:52 = "Money For Katie / Before The Trial"
    06:14 = "Gypo Escapes / Katie's Flat"
    07:13 = "The Plea To Gallagher / Messengers Of Death"
    08:36 = "Gypo Shot / Forgiveness"
    Last edited by pianozach; Jan-09-2021 at 21:39.

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    Senior Member Jacck's Avatar
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    James Newton Howard - Atlantis the Lost Empire

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    Senior Member Jacck's Avatar
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    Joe Hisaishi - Howl's Moving Castle

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    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacck View Post
    James Newton Howard - Atlantis the Lost Empire
    I've been actively attempting to expand my knowledge of the soundtrack genre, and I've reached a point where I can have some favorites, and tell many of the major composers apart.

    I like Howard's orchestrations, but am not as impressed with the actual composing. I find Goldsmith impressive, and Williams.

    Steiner, too, was a master orchestrator, and his composing skills developed quickly after only a few years in the film industry. Then again, he was on the bottom floor of cinema, and it seems to me that his approach was to have the music SUPPORT and be subservient to everything else in the film at first.

    Shore's great. He's scored over 6 dozen films. People keep asking him to score films, so he's doing something right. I do find that it's funny that it only took him 20 years to become an overnight success (the LOTR films).

    But as for Howard's Atlantis, again, some very impressive orchestrations, but some very derivative composing. I like it.

    But it's film music, and sometimes film music HAS to be derivative.

    At the moment I'm sort of letting the consensus of experts guide me through some scores. And the Top 100 Scores lists I've found vary greatly (and there is no shortage of lists). The AFI list tries mightily to spread out the scores over time. Classic FM has a 25 Best scores from the last 25 Years list, which is nifty.

    But most of the "of all time" lists seem oddly reflective of each other . . . yeah, great scores: Star Wars, Gone With the Wind, Psycho, high Noon, Chinatown, and King Kong.

    And speaking of King Kong, here's Max Steiner. Again.

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    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    King Kong
    Max Steiner

    1933


    Wikipedia: "King Kong's score was the first feature-length musical score written for an American "talkie" film, the first major Hollywood film to have a thematic score rather than background music, the first to mark the use of a 46-piece orchestra, and the first to be recorded on three separate tracks."

    "For budgetary reasons, RKO decided not to have an original film score composed, instead instructing composer Max Steiner to simply reuse music from other films. [Producer Merian] Cooper thought the film deserved an original score and paid Steiner $50,000 to compose it. Steiner completed the score in six weeks and recorded it with a 46-piece orchestra. The studio later reimbursed Cooper. The score was unlike any that came before and marked a significant change in the history of film music."
    (Fun Fact: $50,000 in 1933 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1,000,880.77 today.)

    Steiner used the concepts of leitmotifs from opera, musical theatre, silent film scoring, and the blurring of digetic and non-digetic scoring.

    First the 'Opening Overture, Music & Credits''





    And the Full Official Soundtrack:




    0:00 - 3:43 Main Title (A Boat In the Fog)
    3:43 - 8:41 Forgotten Island (Jungle Dance)
    8:41 - 11:12 Sea At Night
    11:12 - 15:14 Aboriginal Sacrifice Dance
    15:14 - 19:35 Entrance of Kong
    19:35 - 24:08 The Bronte (Log Sequence)
    24:08 - 26:00 Cryptic Shadows
    26:00 - 35:36 Kong (The Cave)
    35:36 - 37:12 Sailors Waiting
    37:12 - 41:22 Return of Kong
    41:22 - 42:56 King Kong Theatre March
    42:56 - 47:35 Finale (Kong Escapes / Aeroplanes)



    And a related video of note: Percussionist Dave Roth wears a GoPro during a LIVE performance of King Kong on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre in New York City so you can get the feel of what it is like to sit in the chair of a musical theater percussionist. I find it captivating that Dave is watching the conductor on a CCTV feed, as they've kept him isolated so the percussion doesn't bleed all over the sound of the other live instruments.

    This is the percussion part for Skull Island

    Last edited by pianozach; Jan-12-2021 at 04:10.

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    Senior Member Jacck's Avatar
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    Basil Poledouris - The Hunt for Red October

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    Senior Member Jacck's Avatar
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    Russell Garcia - The Time Machine

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    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacck View Post
    Russell Garcia - The Time Machine
    Not familiar with the score, although I'm sure I watched the film several times as a youth.

    I'll cue it up for listening later. Russell Garcia: That name doesn't ring any bells . . . lets see . . . Google says . . .

    Russell Garcia, QSM (12 April 1916 – 19 November 2011)[1] was a composer and arranger who wrote a wide variety of music for screen, stage and broadcast.

    Garcia was born in Oakland, California, but was a longtime resident of New Zealand. Self-taught . . .

    . . . television shows as Rawhide 1962 and Laredo, 1965–67 . . . original scores for such films as George Pal's The Time Machine (1960) and Atlantis, the Lost Continent (1961).

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    Senior Member Jacck's Avatar
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    it (the Time Machine) is a decent old school soundtrack. I have never heard Atlantis, the Lost Continent (neither have I seen the movie), so I am going to listen now, because the Time Machine score is impressive

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    Senior Member Jacck's Avatar
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    Ernest Gold - Exodus


    a fairly well-known soundtrack

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    Bill Conti - The Karate Kid

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    Senior Member Jacck's Avatar
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    Dimitri Tiomkin - The Alamo

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    Elmer Bernstein - The Ten Commandments

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