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 Posted:   Sep 19, 2023 - 3:05 PM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

I remember I was really put off by the music score in the context of the film. So much, it took decades for me to be ready to give it another shot. This time, it's just the music.

 
 Posted:   Sep 19, 2023 - 3:55 PM   
 By:   John Schuermann   (Member)

I remember I was really put off by the music score in the context of the film. So much, it took decades for me to be ready to give it another shot. This time, it's just the music.

It's just the music putting you off?

All I can say is that I use a scene from Ladyhawke during my History of Film Music presentations, I always get a big audience laugh as soon as the pop elements kick in.

So I'd argue that a score that can reliably pull people out of the movie and actually get a laugh is working to the detriment of the film.

Now it could be fairly argued that the audience that would show up at a History of Film Music presentation listens differently than a general audience, but it's also true that they're not laughing at any of the other clips I play.

 
 Posted:   Sep 19, 2023 - 3:59 PM   
 By:   EdG   (Member)

Now it could be fairly argued that the audience that would show up at a History of Film Music presentation listens differently than a general audience, but it's also true that they're not laughing at any of the other clips I play.

It's not just that it's pop music but a particular brand of 80's pop that is considered kitsch today. That said, I have the CD and enjoy it but if I had been the producer I would have gone another route.

 
 Posted:   Sep 19, 2023 - 4:00 PM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

I have no good reason for horning in here, because I don't have anything much to add. I saw the movie ages ago and didn't much like it, and I bought the LLL album and listened through and enjoyed it ok, but don't know if I've listened again. So no dog in this hunt.

But John S, I have to ask - are you setting up the scene differently than others that you show? In other words, are you (maybe even not concsiously) setting up the cue to get the viewers to laugh?

And it also makes me wonder what other clips you are using, what other scores before it's possible to judge whether it's just the datedness and juxtaposition with pop music that causes a laugh.

But, um, that's quite beyond the scope of this thread and not material. Carry on.

 
 Posted:   Sep 19, 2023 - 6:47 PM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

I remember I was really put off by the music score in the context of the film. So much, it took decades for me to be ready to give it another shot. This time, it's just the music.

It's just the music putting you off?

All I can say is that I use a scene from Ladyhawke during my History of Film Music presentations, I always get a big audience laugh as soon as the pop elements kick in.

So I'd argue that a score that can reliably pull people out of the movie and actually get a laugh is working to the detriment of the film.

Now it could be fairly argued that the audience that would show up at a History of Film Music presentation listens differently than a general audience, but it's also true that they're not laughing at any of the other clips I play.


I can tell you when I saw the film in the theater with a "general" audience they started to laugh uncomfortably when the pop music kicked in.

 
 Posted:   Sep 19, 2023 - 7:06 PM   
 By:   ibelin   (Member)

Having people laugh during the showing of a film that takes itself seriously is bad, but my understanding of 'Ladyhawke' is that while it's not an outright comedy, it is lighthearted for the most part. What I think troubles many people who watch the film, and what troubled many reviewers when it came out, is that it's hard to know what to make of it. It's definitely no 'Dragonslayer' or 'Excalibur', to take two fantasy films from around the same time. It's more like 'The Princess Bride', except that 'The Princess Bride' is an infinitely more enjoyable film that embraces its comedic elements well. Going into 'Ladyhawke', the only hint that it has comedic elements is that MB is in it. But even then, MB was still relatively unknown when it came out. He became well known only after his success with 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off', which came out a year after 'Ladyhawke'.

If people are uproariously laughing during just a lighthearted film, then yeah, that's a bad sign.

Also, I think it's possible for a lighthearted medieval fantasy film to have a traditional orchestral score: The composer just needs to make the music whimsical when needed. Harkening back to an earlier thread, I think that, upon thinking about 'Ladyhawke' a bit more, the music of Miklós Rózsa, who was a master at whimsicality (listen to the score to 'The Thief of Bagdad' and parts of the score to 'The Knights of the Round Table'), would've been a much better fit than what we got. I think the ultimate problem lies in the film itself (from what I remember of it, of course), but things could've been so much better with a traditional orchestral score. The synth-pop we got can be chalked up to eighties cultural rot. (I'm not against synth music in all instances; I think it works well in, e.g., 'Blade Runner'.)

 
 Posted:   Sep 19, 2023 - 7:35 PM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Actually Matthew Broderick became a huge star a few years earlier. Wargames was a massive hit and put him in the limelight.

If I remember correctly the director wanted to make an "old fashion" fantasy film. Thus why it pushed romanticism and lacked the graphic violence and sexual content of similar films of its time.

 
 Posted:   Sep 19, 2023 - 8:20 PM   
 By:   ibelin   (Member)

Actually Matthew Broderick became a huge star a few years earlier. Wargames was a massive hit and put him in the limelight.

Ah, yeah. That's true. I forgot about 'WarGames'. I guess I meant he wasn't known as a comedic actor until starring as Ferris Bueller. After that he had roles mostly in comedy films.

 
 Posted:   Sep 19, 2023 - 11:33 PM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

I remember I was really put off by the music score in the context of the film. So much, it took decades for me to be ready to give it another shot. This time, it's just the music.

It's just the music putting you off?



It's been decades since I've seen LADYHAWKE, and I don't remember it well (which is usually a sign that I didn't care all that much about it). I do remember finding the music grating in some scenes. But it's been a long time.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2023 - 12:36 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I think the ultimate problem lies in the film itself (from what I remember of it, of course), but things could've been so much better with a traditional orchestral score.

80% of it IS a traditional orchestral score. Reread first post.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2023 - 1:44 AM   
 By:   Hurdy Gurdy   (Member)

The ONLY time I can recall members of the audience unintentionally laughing at music in a film was, of all things, the opening scenes of SHUTTER ISLAND, with the classical fog horns.
No one laughed when I watched LADYHAWKE and the music has a crossover appeal with people I know who aren't even aware, generally, of film music.
This debate will roll on forever.
Its defenders will say it 'uniques' the film with its 'alternative' take on this type of score (and it's only in about 20% of it anyway) and its detractors will say it ruined/took them out of the film and hanker for something more traditional by the likes of James Horner or Basil Poledouris.
I've always enjoyed it and never had a problem with it, in or outside of the film.

 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2023 - 4:32 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Ive witnessed audiences laugh quite a few times inappropriately while watching a movie in the theater. Ladyhawke as I just mention and when the bagpipes chimed in during Spocks funeral in WOK. I'm sure I could think of other examples.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2023 - 8:49 AM   
 By:   John McMasters   (Member)

Matthew Broderick was definitely known as an actor who brought a deft comedic touch to his roles -- he started his career on NYC theatrical stages and solidified his persona early on -- first with his role in "Torch Song Trilogy" which wasn't entirely a comedy, God knows, but he was quirky and had a comic edge in it. As Mel Gussow wrote in THE NEW YORK TIMES, "Matthew Broderick brings a naturalness and a spontaneity to the role of the teen-ager." And yes, I saw that production.

His next role was in Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" where he got many many laughs while charming audiences with his dramatic chops when needed. And, yes, I saw that, too.

His first film role was another Neil Simon script, "Max Dugan Returns." Alas, I've never seen the film.

So he was known mainly for a unique, quirky, “spontaneous” charm with a decidedly comedic touch in dramedies.

I saw "Ladyhawke" on opening day in NYC with a sold out audience. Broderick's presence, and his comedic asides in many scenes from the get go gave the film a more modern resonance. When pop music was used, as Thor notes, it was for "action" scenes -- and the music matched perfectly with the oddly modern presence of Broderick. The music fit him like a glove, and the orchestral score matched the glowing and absolutely beautiful production values of the film. The photography, as Thor notes, was just stunning. I never felt the film was a hodgepodge, rather it solidified into a unique and also unified entity.

No one laughed at the score the multiple times that I saw the film. If they did laugh it was in delight that the film was offering up something a bit offbeat and different than the other costume dramas they'd seen.

So IMHO the music and Broderick are paired in my mind as elevating the film and heightening its unique charms.

 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2023 - 10:27 AM   
 By:   Sean Nethery   (Member)

BTW I'm not surprised at laughter in a case like this, because the essence of laughter is surprise, and for people in the 80's, I suspect hearing pop music in a film like Ladyhawke would be a surprise.

Given things like Conan the B, Excalibur, Krull, Dragonslayer et al in the culture around that time, the contemporary sound in a period piece like this was defo anachronistic, though certainly not for movies generally.

 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2023 - 12:44 PM   
 By:   ibelin   (Member)

I think the ultimate problem lies in the film itself (from what I remember of it, of course), but things could've been so much better with a traditional orchestral score.

80% of it IS a traditional orchestral score. Reread first post.


Okay. I should've worded my post better. The ENTIRE music should've been traditional orchestral music. You said that eighty percent is traditional orchestral music? The percentage of traditional orchestral music could be as high as eighty, but it's really hard to tell because the synth parts are spread throughout the album. Besides, I'm not really here to debate numbers. It's just really annoying to have all these different styles thrown at the listener. Traditional orchestral music, Gregorian chants, synthpop. Stick with just one!!! I'm saying that they should've stuck with just traditional orchestral music.

Because you redirected me to your seventeen-year-old post, I shall respond to it:

All the crucial and "serious" scenes related to love and suspense are scored in a traditional symphonic manner. In other words, the scenes that really MATTERED were NOT tongue-in-cheek, and Powell rightfully respected them as such.

Don't all scenes matter in a film? Lol. That's what art is. Sure, some scenes (e.g., set pieces) matter more than others, but if some scenes and their accompanying music take you out of the experience, then it detracts from the entire film. It's like people who say that sex scenes aren't necessary in ANY film. That may be technically true, but the sex scenes are still part of the creators' artistic expression. I have no doubt that many degenerates (e.g., Lars von Trier) put sex scenes in their films to gratify their sexual passions, so I tend to avoid those films entirely. I'm not generally against nudity or sex in films.

The tracks with a pop beat that people react to are relegated to transportation scenes or tongue-in-cheek action scenes like swordfights and duels. I certainly agree that this is very unusual and some of the 80's production values shine through. But is it really that out-of-place? We only find it unusual because it breaks so radically with convention. We're not used to a pop beat in this genre. But Powell's music always fits the visuals in these scenes. The galloping horses, for example, are accompanied by a "galloping" beat. It's certainly far less of a convention-breaker than A KNIGHT'S TALE was. Additionally, you have to remember that a traditional Korngoldian score would also have been radically out-of-place if you're judging the music purely by its "fidelity" to the period. It's just that it has become convention. I think one gains a lot in film appreciation by having an open mind and allowing filmmakers to push the boundaries of what any given genre should include - also musically.

I'm not buying your argument. The 'traditional Korngoldian score' has remained conventional because it's superior. That eighties synth fad came and went for a very good reason. Also, 'A Knight's Tale' is far from being my favorite film, but at least there are two albums for it: one for the original score and one for the classical rock songs. Some filmmakers are very good at making pop music work in their films. Quentin Tarantino is such a filmmaker. 'A Knight's Tale' used pop music effectively, but, again, it's far from being my favorite film.

It seems that we have a fundamental disagreement, Thor. That's okay; I respect your opinion. smile I just think that 'Ladyhawke', reeks of, in your words, eighties production values.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2023 - 2:22 PM   
 By:   riotengine   (Member)

Matthew Broderick was definitely known as an actor who brought a deft comedic touch to his roles -- he started his career on NYC theatrical stages and solidified his persona early on -- first with his role in "Torch Song Trilogy" which wasn't entirely a comedy, God knows, but he was quirky and had a comic edge in it. As Mel Gussow wrote in THE NEW YORK TIMES, "Matthew Broderick brings a naturalness and a spontaneity to the role of the teen-ager." And yes, I saw that production.

His next role was in Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" where he got many many laughs while charming audiences with his dramatic chops when needed. And, yes, I saw that, too.

His first film role was another Neil Simon script, "Max Dugan Returns." Alas, I've never seen the film.

So he was known mainly for a unique, quirky, “spontaneous” charm with a decidedly comedic touch in dramedies.

I saw "Ladyhawke" on opening day in NYC with a sold out audience. Broderick's presence, and his comedic asides in many scenes from the get go gave the film a more modern resonance. When pop music was used, as Thor notes, it was for "action" scenes -- and the music matched perfectly with the oddly modern presence of Broderick. The music fit him like a glove, and the orchestral score matched the glowing and absolutely beautiful production values of the film. The photography, as Thor notes, was just stunning. I never felt the film was a hodgepodge, rather it solidified into a unique and also unified entity.

No one laughed at the score the multiple times that I saw the film. If they did laugh it was in delight that the film was offering up something a bit offbeat and different than the other costume dramas they'd seen.

So IMHO the music and Broderick are paired in my mind as elevating the film and heightening its unique charms.


Your observation is quite astute, sir. smile

Greg Espinoza

 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2023 - 7:13 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

I just think that 'Ladyhawke', reeks of, in your words, eighties production values.


Wot?
A 1985 movie doing that?
That's just mental.

 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2023 - 7:28 PM   
 By:   ibelin   (Member)

Wot?
A 1985 movie doing that?
That's just mental.


There are many timeless films that were released in the eighties, just so you know. wink

 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2023 - 8:59 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

There are many timeless films that were released in the eighties, just so you know. wink


Well, that's just crazy talk, now.

 
 Posted:   Sep 21, 2023 - 5:06 AM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Putting electronic pop music in Ladyhawke is like putting hillbilly music in Star Wars. Some things don’t mesh and the audience knows it.

I don’t think this was MB best outing. People found his half @ss attempt at a British accent annoying.

 
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