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Aisle Seat 7-25: Summer Sizzler Edition
Posted By Andy Dursin 7/24/2017 - 9:00 PM
Christopher Nolan’s new film DUNKIRK (**½, 107 mins., PG-13) is likely to divide viewers into two camps: those who feel the picture is a brilliant piece of cinema, and everybody else. Despite the mostly positive reviews, I regrettably found myself in the latter camp as this clinical “immersive viewing experience” played itself out.
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Film Score Friday 7/21/17
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 7/20/2017 - 9:00 PM
Varese Sarabande plans to release three new CDs in their limited edition series of contemporary film music next week.

Choreographer Matthew Bourne has created dance pieces inspired by the films The Servant (Play without Words) and Edward Scissorhands, so it should be no surprise that his latest piece, THE RED SHOES (opening at L.A.'s Ahmanson Theater on September 15th, closing October 1st), is adapted from the classic Powell-Pressberger film.

But what is surprising is that the show's musical accompaniment, arranged by Bourne's regular collaborator Terry Davies, is not based on Brian Easdale's Oscar-winning score for the film but on the music of Bernard Herrmann. This article features Bourne discussing scores that inspired the ballet -- Citizen Kane, Fahrenheit 451, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Hangover Square, Mysterious Island, North by Northwest, Obsession, Taxi Driver and Vertigo -- though it's not entirely clear from the piece if music from all of these films is featured in the score. (The Bourne ballet was discussed in a comment thread in April of last year).

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Aisle Seat 7-18: 4K Summer Rundown
Posted By Andy Dursin 7/17/2017 - 9:00 PM
When you get right down it, for a pop-culture icon like King Kong, it’s surprising that the Big Ape hasn’t had a whole lot of cinematic success. Sure, the 1933 RKO original is an all-time masterwork, but you can’t say the same about its hastily produced sequel “Son of Kong,” its decent – if not somewhat overlooked – 1976 Dino DeLaurentiis remake, or that version’s own, terrible follow-up “King Kong Lives.” A pair of ‘60s Toho productions brought Kong to Japan – including a silly skirmish with Godzilla – and the best you can say about them is that they’re at least more fun than Peter Jackson’s self-indulgent 2005 remake of the original, which was both miscast and painfully overlong.
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Film Score Friday 7/14/17
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 7/13/2017 - 9:00 PM
The latest release from Intrada pairs two scores from films produced by the Disney studios that can be described by the oxymoron "light-hearted films about the Vietnam War" -- the hit GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM, which earned Robin Williams his first Oscar nomination, and featured one of the final scores by the incomparable Alex North; and an expanded version of David Newman's stirring music for 1995's OPERATION DUMBO DROP.

La-La Land has announced a new slate of soundtrack CD releases, including two multi-disc sets which may be Holy Grails for many film music fans.

In the mid-1960s, when widescreen epics included slapstick spectacles like It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, Blake Edwards directed the period action farce THE GREAT RACE, starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Peter Falk and Jack Lemmon (that is not a typo). Since it was a Blake Edwards film not made between 1971 and 1974, the score was composed by the incomparable Henry Mancini. As was common at the time, the original soundtrack LP was a re-recording with the selections (including the film's Oscar-nominated song "The Sweetheart Tree") chosen more for commercial reasons than to highlight the film's score cues, so collectors have begged for the original Great Race score tracks for decades. La-La Land's Great Race features 114 minutes of original score tracks on two discs with the 27 minute LP re-recording cues on Disc Three, and is expected to begin shipping next week.

The turn of the 21st century was a dispiriting time in which some of the coolest and most cinematic TV series of the 1960s -- The Avengers, I Spy, The Wild Wild West -- were turned into really lousy movies. Fortunately, one can still watch the original shows on home video in all their small-screen glory, and the great musical legacy of '60s television finds new life with La-La Land's four-disc boxed set of episode scores from THE WILD WILD WEST.  This series starring Robert Conrad and Ross Martin as Secret Service agents in post-Civil War America was an imaginative combination of Western, James Bond and Jules Verne, and featured one of the greatest of all TV main title themes, courtesy of Richard Markowitz. The La-La Land set features episodes scores by Markowitz as well as by Robert Drasnin, Harry Geller, Dave Grusin, Jack Pleis, Walter Scharf, Richard Shores and Fred Steiner, along with the show's unused orignial theme by Golden Age maestro Dimitri Tiomkin. The set is expected to begin shipping next week.

The commercial and critical success of Fatal Attraction in 1987 led to a subgenre of thrillers about ordinary folk menaced by mentally ill people in all walks of life, and 1992's UNLAWFUL ENTRY, directed by Jonathan Kaplan (Heart Like a Wheel, The Accused), pitted obsessed cop Ray Liotta against happily married couple Kurt Russell and Madeleine Stowe. For the music, Kaplan reunited with his Project X composer, James Horner, who provided an electronics-dominated score. Intrada released a 35-minute score CD at the time, while LLL's remastered and expanded version features 49 minutes of Horner music, shipping this week.

The latest episodic collaboration between composer Blake Neely and TV writer-producer Greg Berlanti is a revisionist version of the beloved Archie comics titled RIVERDALE, which places the popular teen characters in a mystery-soap narrative. La-La Land's CD of music from the show's first season is expected to begin shipping next week.

Composer Steve Jablonsky reteamed with director Michael Bay for their mutual fifth entry in the Transformers franchise, the recently released TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT, and La-La Land's Last Knight is a limited edition (3000 units) two-disc set featuring more than two hours of Jablonsky score, and is expected to begin shipping the week after next.

In the least surprising film music news of the last year or two, it was confirmed that John Williams will write the score for Steven Spielberg's upcoming journalism docudrama THE PAPERS (formerly titled The Post), with Meryl Streep as Washington Post owner Katherine Graham and Tom Hanks as editor Ben Bradlee (the role that won Jason Robards his All the President's Men Oscar).

However, in the most surprising film news of the last year or two, it was announced that since Spielberg's other upcoming film, the Willy-Wonka-meets-virtual-reality sci-fi adventure READY PLAYER ONE, would need to be scored at roughly the same time as The Papers, the film would be scored by Alan Silvestri, who has scored other Spielberg productions such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the Back to the Future trilogy, this will be the first time he has worked with Spielberg as a director.

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has announced this year's Primetime Emmy nominations, including the following music-related cateogories (below the fold):

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Aisle Seat 7-11: Species, Warner Archive Wrap
Posted By Andy Dursin 7/10/2017 - 9:00 PM
Like a lot of successful screenwriters who get their first crack at directing their own Hollywood movie, Oscar-winner John Patrick Shanley’s romantic-comedy JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO (***, 102 mins., 1990, PG; Warner Archive) turned out to be overly self-indulgent and too “out there” for many viewers. However, those who were able to buy into the film’s light, fairy tale atmosphere were rewarded with a unique and engaging comic fantasy that has attracted a cult following since its original release.
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Film Score Friday 7/7/17
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 7/6/2017 - 9:00 PM
The latest release from Quartet is a two-disc set presenting for the first time the score for the 1986 historical romance LADY JANE, which gave Helena Bonham Carter and Cary Elwes early starring roles and featured the kind of top-notch supporting cast you expect from British period dramas, including John Wood, Michael Hordern, Jill Bennett, Joss Ackland, Richard Johnson and Patrick Stewart as Henry Gray (sadly, for Next Generation fans, not Earl Grey). The film was one of the few directed by legendary theater director Trevor Nunn (his other two were Hedda and Twelfth Night), and the score was composed by Stephen Oliver, who also scored Nunn's acclaimed epic stage production of Nicholas Nickleby. Lady Jane was the only feature scored by Oliver, who died in 1992 at the age of 42. Quartet's Lady Jane features both the complete score as well as the sequencing planned for the never-released soundtrack LP.

Intrada plans to release one new CD next week.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has just invited 774 actors, filmmakers and publicists to join their ranks, including the following Music Branch members: composers Mark Adler, Edesio Alejandro, David Amram, Craig Armstrong, Angelo Badalamenti, Nicholas Britell, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Lisa Gerrard, Justin Hurwitz, Abel Korzeniowski, Mica Levi, Atli Orvarsson, Laurent Perez Del Mar, Jocelyn Pook, Laura Rossi, Philip Sheppard, Stephen James Taylor, Benjamin Wallfisch and Debbie Wiseman; songwriters Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Justin Timberlake; and music editors Nancy Allen, Jordan Corngold, and Todd Kasow.  

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Aisle Seat 7-4: A Fourth of July Special
Posted By Andy Dursin 7/3/2017 - 9:00 PM
When it premiered as a one-shot NBC special on September 9th, 1967, ROWAN & MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN broke new ground on television. Viewers had scarcely seen such a rapid-fire comic anthology on TV before, and the hour-long program was the right show at the right time in the turbulent late ‘60s. “Laugh-In” was timely, motivated by generation-gap/culture-clash jokes, the hippie movement, and provided the right tonic for audiences looking to laugh while the country was embroiled in numerous struggles socially, politically and militarily. Ratings for the initial special were strong, leading to a weekly series that aired on Mondays at 8pm starting in January of ‘68 – a time slot the series would occupy until it signed off, finally, in May of 1973.
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Film Score Friday 6/30/17
Posted By Scott Bettencourt 6/29/2017 - 9:00 PM
 The latest release from Intrada is a 2-disc set featuring music from four episodes from the long-running STARGATE SG1, composed by genre movie veteran Richard Band.

I uploaded this column a few days ago before leaving on vacation, so if anything important happened since then... (picture me shrugging).

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Aisle Seat 6-27: A Pink Panther Celebration
Posted By Andy Dursin 6/26/2017 - 9:00 PM
Despite being one of its more lucrative commercial properties, MGM seemingly held on to the Blu-Ray rights of “The Pink Panther” series for many years, resulting in everything except the original “Panther” bypassing the high-definition format. After years of speculation and rumored releases, the series – all of it – is finally out on Blu-Ray for the first time this week, via separate efforts from Shout! Factory and Kino Lorber.
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June Issue of FSM ONLINE Is Live!
Posted By Tim Curran 6/23/2017 - 2:00 AM
The June edition of FSM ONLINE is now live. In this month's cover story, RUPERT GREGSON-WILLIAMS discusses his score to the Patty Jenkins blockbuster WONDER WOMAN. Also this month, we take a look behind the scenes at La-La Land Records’ WONDER WOMAN (TV) 3-CD set; an interview with BRIAN TYLER about Tom Cruise's THE MUMMY; RAEL JONES scores the gothic romance MY COUSIN RACHEL and the anachronistic HARLOTS; an inspection of CONCERT MUSIC’s influence on film composition, including analyses of Bartok's CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA, Goldsmith's THE WIND AND THE LION, Ravel's DAPHNIS ET CHLOE, Williams' RETURN OF THE JEDI and much more; the second part of our extensive coverage of the TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL, including chats with JEFF RUSSO and DANNY BENSI AND SAUNDER JURRIAANS, and attending the GODFATHER grand finale event; WONG'S TURN looks at the art of the needle-drop in movie soundtracks; going “behind bars” with SCOTT DOHERTY and ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK; a FRANZ WAXMAN Gold Rush; a JOHN BARRY Score Restore of YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE; the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra’s ELMER BERNSTEIN concert gets reviewed; more embedded audio clips, and more.

Subscribers, you’ll get notification by email shortly. Or, just go here to log in. For those who want to join FSM ONLINE, go here, click on the “Subscribe” link and follow the instructions. And email us if you have any questions.


Your Friends at FSM ONLINE

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Film Score Monthly Online
In the Deep End With Desplat
The Patrick Doyle Express
Alias Bread
A Tale of Wonder
The Magnificent Seven: Directors Who Yield Great Scores, Part 2
Just Breathe
Wong's Turn: 2017 Holiday Gift Guide
Ear of the Month Contest: John Carpenter
The Post-Rozsa Memoirs: A Changed State of Affairs
ARK: A Sound of Thunder
Concert Review: Fantastic Music and Where to Find It
Today in Film Score History:
December 16
Adam Gorgoni born (1963)
Camille Saint-Saens died (1921)
Freddie Perren died (2004)
Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for In Harm's Way (1964)
Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his unused Timeline score (2002)
Lud Gluskin born (1898)
Marco Frisina born (1954)
Noel Coward born (1889)
Recording sessions begin for Cyril Mockdridge’s score for Donovan’s Reef (1963)
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