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La-La Land was scheduled to announce their latest set of Black Friday releases today, which are probably being discussed right now on the Message Board.

I am currently on vacation, so if any other new developments have occurred in film music this week, you will have to learn them elsewhere on the Internet, or perhaps even in the so-called "real" world that people keep insisting exists somewhere, but what if we're all just living in some sort of telepathic holodeck in a cage on Talos IV, man?. 


Airport '77/The Concorde: Airport '79
 - John Cacavas, Lalo Schifrin - La-La Land
Creed II - Ludwig Goransson - Sony [CD-R]
Die Hard (3-disc anniversary edition)
 - Michael Kamen - La-La Land
The Haunting of Hill House 
- The Newton Brothers - La-La Land

Becoming Astrid - Nicklas Schmidt
Creed II - Ludwig Goransson - Score CD-R on Sony
8 Remains - Ilia Eshkenazy Jossifov
The Favourite - Music Supervisor: Sarah Giles
The Long Shadow - Jake Bloomfield-Misrach
Of Fathers and Sons - Karim Sebastian Elias
Postcards from London - Julian Bayliss
Ralph Breaks the Internet - Henry Jackman - Score CD due Nov. 30 on Disney
Robin Hood - Joseph Trapanese - Score CD-R on Sony
Roma - no original score
Shoplifters - Haruomi Hosono
The World Before Your Feet - Carly Comando, Tom Rosenthal, Max Avery Lichtenstein
Write When You Get Work - Music Supervisors: Jackie Mulhearn, Susan Jacobs


November 30
Bad Times at the El Royale
 - Michael Giacchino - Milan  
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs - Carter Burwell - Milan
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
 - James Newton Howard - WaterTower
The Last Kingdom - John Lunn, Eivor - Sony (import)
Mirai - Masakatsu Takagi - Milan
Ralph Breaks the Internet
 - Henry Jackman - Disney
December 7 
Goon: Last of the Enforcers - Trevor Morris - Notefornote
Inferno - Bill Conti - Dragon's Domain
Mary Queen of Scots - Max Richter - Deutsche Grammophon
The Protector - Ken Thorne - Dragon's Domain
December 14
The Cry - Lorne Balfe - Lakeshore
Widows - Hans Zimmer - Milan
Date Unknown
The Basil Poledouris Collection vol. 4: The Blue Lagoon Piano Sketches
 - Basil Poledouris - Dragon's Domain
 - Blair Mowat - Silva
Dead Men
 - Gerrit Wunder - Kronos
Dynasties: The Greatest of Their Kind
 - Benji Morrison, Will Slater - Silva
Every Day a Good Day
 - Hiroku Sebu - Pony Canyon (import)
 - Morton Gould - Notefornote
Polynesian Odyssey/Alamo: The Price of Freedom
 - Merrill Jenson - Dragon's Domain
The Wicker Man
 - Paul Giovanni - Silva


November 23 - Jack Marshall born (1921)
November 23 - Johnny Mandel born (1925)
November 23 - David Spear born (1953)
November 23 - Bruce Hornsby born (1954)
November 23 - Ludovico Einaudi born (1955)
November 23 - The Magnificent Seven opens in New York and Los Angeles (1960)
November 23 - Jean-Michel Bernard born (1961)
November 23 - Ennio Morricone begins recording his score for White Dog (1981)
November 23 - John Scott begins recording his score for Shoot to Kill (1987)
November 23 - Clifford Vaughan died (1987)
November 23 - Irwin Kostal died (1994)
November 23 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Kir’Shara” (2004)
November 23 - Nicholas Carras died (2006)
November 24 - Alfred Schnittke born (1934)
November 24 - Pino Donaggio born (1941)
November 24 - Manuel De Sica born (1949)
November 24 - Michael Small died (2003)
November 24 - Kan Ishii died (2009)
November 25 - Virgil Thomson born (1896)
November 25 - Stanley Wilson born (1915)
November 25 - Michel Portal born (1935)
November 25 - Eleni Karaindrou born (1939)
November 25 - Daniele Amfitheatrof begins recording his score for The Last Hunt (1956)
November 25 - Maurice Jarre begins recording his score for Grand Prix (1966)
November 25 - Michael Small begins recording his score for The Postman Always Rings Twice (1980)
November 25 - Craig Safan records his scores for the Twilight Zone episodes “The Uncle Devil Show” and “Opening Day” (1985)
November 25 - Nicholas Pike begins recording his score for Stephen King’s The Shining (1996)
November 25 - Chico Hamilton died (2013)
November 26 - Scott Bradley born (1891)
November 26 - Jerry Fielding begins recording his score for The Killer Elite (1975)
November 26 - Bernardo Segall died (1993)
November 27 - Alberto Colombo born (1888)
November 27 - Richard Stone born (1953)
November 27 - Lyle Mays born (1953)
November 27 - Arthur Honegger died (1955)
November 27 - Bernard Herrmann marries Norma Shepherd, his third and final wife (1967)
November 27 - Lalo Schifrin begins recording his score for Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You (1969)
November 27 - Stanley Black died (2002)
November 27 - Kunio Miyauchi died (2006)
November 28 - Mario Nascimbene born (1913)
November 28 - Gato Barbieri born (1934)
November 28 - Randy Newman born (1943)
November 28 - Bernard Herrmann records his score for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode “Where the Woodbine Twineth” (1964)
November 28 - Laurence Rosenthal begins recording his score to Clash of the Titans (1980)
November 28 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Elementary, Dear Data” (1988)
November 28 - Jerry Goldsmith records his music for the Judge Dredd trailer (1994)
November 29 - Chuck Mangione born (1940)
November 29 - Recording sessions begin on Herbert Stothart’s score for Hills of Home (1947)
November 29 - Miklos Rozsa begins recording his score to Moonfleet (1954)
November 29 - Erich Wolfgang Korngold died (1957)
November 29 - Russell Garcia begins recording his score for Atlantis the Lost Continent (1960)
November 29 - Alexander Courage's score to the second Star Trek pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before," is recorded (1965)
November 29 - Carl Stalling died (1972)
November 29 - George Harrison died (2001)
November 29 - Shirley Walker died (2006)


"A few scenes of African spirituality are never meaningfully integrated into the movie’s Christian themes. The score, by Henry Jackman, is at times overwrought. And the film’s distinct resemblances to 'Braveheart' -- which Parker has praised as an inspiration and cites in the credits -- become tiresome, particularly in the final acts. Like Mel Gibson before him, Parker presents his protagonist as a man of nearly bottomless virtue. And though his screen presence in the role is highly compelling, one can’t help but wish for a more nuanced rendering of this deeply conflicted man, a clearer yet more fraught evolution from his counsel of holy submission to his counsel of holy war."
Christopher Orr, The Atlantic
"Parker makes his feature directing debut with 'The Birth of a Nation' and also stars in the film as Nat Turner, in addition to writing the screenplay (based on a story he developed with his college roommate and co-defendant Jean McGianni Celestin). A longtime labor of love, Parker’s film is one of the most impressive directing debuts seen of late, although that does not mean it is without flaws. Parker’s research and sense of historical detail comes through magnificently, and in this he is immensely aided by Geoffrey Kirkland’s production design and Elliot Davis’ widescreen cinematography. Yet from the opening moments, in which young Nat (Espinosa, playing Nat as a child) is declared to be a future prophet, it’s clear that very little nuance or subtlety will be found in the screenplay. And, should you miss a dramatic cue, you can count on prompts from Henry Jackman’s grandly swelling and ever-present music score to fill in any blanks. The film’s pacing can also be awkward: It takes a long time for the preacher/slave Nat Turner’s mild ire to turn to anger and then full-on insurrection. The build-up to the climax is dramatically uneven. Turner’s rebellion lasted only 48 hours, and occupies only the climactic last quarter of the two-hour movie, at which point it adopts the tone of a war film. The denouement leaves no time for Parker’s incarceration or the aftermath caused by his actions, although the film includes his death scene and a written postscript before the closing credits. And while 'Birth' leaves no question about the horrors of slavery, Parker indicates that Turner’s uprising stems more from his discovery of the Bible’s duplicity and that conflicting passages can be used to justify virtually anything. More on the role of religion in Turner’s reasoning would have been welcome."
Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle

"Structurally and stylistically, 'The Birth Of A Nation' doesn’t deviate much from the template set by countless Hollywood epics: Parker isn’t immune to the sentimental appeal of swelling music, slow-motion, or scores settled on the battlefield, and his finale -- powerful though it is -- bears an unmistakable resemblance to the ending of 'Braveheart.' (Mel Gibson, of course, would never set one of his own grueling depictions of bodily harm to a soundtrack selection as affecting as 'Strange Fruit.') In a way, though, the film’s mainstream squareness feels significant. Parker is addressing a long-standing oversight in representation, applying a common cinematic language to a crucial history lesson that Hollywood has never touched. He’s giving a different audience, an underrepresented one, the conventionally stirring prestige drama white audiences take completely for granted, the same way that black filmmakers in the ’70s put their own spin on the boilerplate genre flicks of that era. Maybe all great American icons, especially the ones that still make America nervous, deserve their own middlebrow biopics. Nate Parker’s film on Nat Turner, imperfect though it is, deserves to be seen."
A.A. Dowd, The Onion AV Club
"From the low angles symbolizing heroism to the angel choirs on the soundtrack to the shots of actual angel figures (complete with Halloween costume wings), it’s a kitschy compendium of macho straight male actor-director signifiers: the kinds of touches that would be (and in some cases, have been) laughed off the screen if trotted out by an established star taking his turn behind the camera. (A whipping scene is staged like the one in 'Glory' that won an Oscar for the director's 'Great Debaters' co-star, Denzel Washington -- an actor whose gestures and vocal tics Parker too-knowingly evokes.) The real Turner was mysterious and terrifying even to those who knew and loved him. Parker's version is a messianic cousin of The Nice Guy Pushed Too Far."
Matt Zoller Seitz,
"The climactic violence of Turner’s rebellion, with its reprisals and ambushes and maudlin strings, thus strips its animating force of his penetrating insight into the system’s central contradiction, its Achilles’ heel, which was the fact that its moral justification, Christianity, also contained the seeds of its demise. In the end, 'The Birth of a Nation' sands down Turner’s understanding of justice until it fits into our own, modern hermeneutic, and so neglects the lasting consequence of the change he wrought. Even the film’s most awful, forthright act of invention, a montage of the uprising’s aftermath that culminates in black bodies hanging from weeping willows, appears to admit the difficulty, the impossibility, of capturing the country’s original sin. The song that sets the sequence in motion is Nina Simone’s 'Strange Fruit,' with its mournful mention of 'blood on the leaves, blood at the root,' but 'The Birth of a Nation' is closer kin to Eve’s apple, a story we already know."
Matt Brennan, Slant Magazine
"Apparently made in tribute to bad 1990s epics, 'The Birth of a Nation' boasts 'Braveheart' battles and a 'Legends of the Fall' score and doesn’t offer a single original visual idea. Filled with gruesome violence and gorgeous men sporting bad teeth (Parker and Armie Hammer, cast as his white childhood friend turned initially-sympathetic-but-ultimately-sadistic owner), this stylized veneration constantly equates Turner (and thus, Parker -- gasp) with Christ, which proves to not lift him to deity-level as much as weigh the character down with a burdensome cross to bear (he even gets touched by an actual angel in the film’s climactic martyrdom sequence)."
Michael Koresky, Film Coment
"What he does feel is pain and humiliation, which Parker brings to the audience as forcefully and bluntly as possible. A punishingly pushy score brings every emotion crashing home. Close-ups of Parker's face emphasize Turner's suffering, and the symbolism of his endurance. The film's reliance on exasperatingly literal dialogue and images repeatedly gets in the way of honest emotion, or even just honest action. And in place of a subtle or nuanced exploration of Turner's character, Parker builds an opaque mythology around him, giving him mysterious visions (taken from Turner's own life, but not meaningfully illuminated) and an epic destiny promised by a mysterious shaman. Parker builds Turner's story into a passion play that's more about his Christ-like suffering and martyring than about his identity. 'Birth Of A Nation' is powerful and effective, but it's spectacle that can't humanize or define its subject."
Tasha Robinson, The Verge
"So how is the movie? It’s scrupulous and honorable, with moments of scalding power. But it’s also just good enough to make me wish it had been better. No one can accuse Parker of lacking ambition. It took seven years to bring 'The Birth of a Nation' to the screen, and its very title tells you that he’s out to create a counter-mythology: a film that might theoretically displace DW Griffith’s sweeping and scandalous 1915 silent epic that’s one of the foundation stones of Hollywood history. What’s more, to present a drama of slavery not so long after '12 Years a Slave,' the most searing and artful movie ever made on the subject, is to scale a very high bar. Parker proves a competent filmmaker, but in a slightly flat, middle-of-the-road way that’s halfway between Edward Zwick and Ron Howard. If the film were as good as Zwick’s 1989 'Glory,' I’d have no complaints, but it isn’t. It features a musical score that’s atrocious in its bland sentimentality, and there’s something a little too cautiously retrograde about the whole thing. It’s like a rerun of 'Roots' with more blood."
Owen Gleiberman,
"Parker demonstrates a fine touch with actors (Dwight Henry, Esther Scott, Roger Guenveur Smith and Gabrielle Union round out the excellent cast), and his command of mise-en-scene would be impressive even coming from a more seasoned filmmaker. While the movie was shot entirely on location in Savannah, Ga., the visual reconstruction of antebellum Virginia is outstanding: From the drooping willows and white plantation houses of Geoffrey Kirkland’s production design to the muted, bluish cast of Elliot Davis’ widescreen compositions, the movie offers a vision at once nightmarish and painterly. As edited with measured intelligence by Steven Rosenblum (with the exception of one too-slick montage) and set to the stirring if sometimes overly vigorous accompaniment of Henry Jackman’s score, these images conspire to lure us into a world even when the barbarism pushes us away."
Justin Chang, Variety
"Cinematographer Elliot Davis’ shooting on Georgia locations is astutely judged and particularly notable in the night shooting. Henry Jackman’s score is unusually varied and draws upon multiple musical traditions and references to fine effect."
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

BRIMSTONE & GLORY - Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin

"Though the documentary casts a watchful eye on plastic jugs of volatile liquids, it also hurtles into acts of daredevilry. In a few insanely vertiginous shots, men equipped with GoPro cameras scrabble unharnessed up flimsy, stories-high wooden structures wrapped in explosives; one of these castillos (or little castles) is hit by lightning, and the workers mostly groan about the night’s light show being compromised. A percussive soundtrack performed by Dan Romer and 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' director Benh Zeitlin (who is also one of the film’s producers) adds an overeager gloss to the preparations, which are full of propulsive motorcycle drive-by footage."
Christopher Gray, Slant Magazine

"There’s a suitably dreamy amorphousness to Affonso Goncalves’s editorial rhythms. They create a useful tension in contrast with a percussive score of sometimes taiko-like intensity by Dan Romer and producer Benh Zeitlin (whose own directorial exercise 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' also made indelible atmospheric use of fireworks). While the original music heightens the documentary’s slightly, accessibly avant-garde air, Jakovleski wisely ends the film with a splendid vintage 1961 choral track, 'Reyando el Sol' by La Rondalla de Tijuana."

Dennis Harvey, Variety

"Throughout the film, Alpert helps keep subtitling to a minimum by providing instant, rapid-fire translations of his interlocutors' Spanish-language responses. A warm and engaging primer on a complex and controversial subject, Cuba and the Cameraman is itself very far from 'revolutionary' either in content or style: Soundtrack music seldom lets up, with sad strings and/or piano deployed in the more downbeat interludes, such as the one dealing with Castro's demise.
Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter
"Berg delivers on that promise as the film barrels through a series of set pieces that seem to destroy the oil rig one piece at a time. When the movie takes moments to pull back from the chaos, the visuals are harrowing: a fire-strewn hellscape of burning metal slowly closing in on the 115 survivors as they desperately try to find a way to get off the rig. But just as often Berg shoots his action in a combination of close-ups and insert shots, the camera bouncing from moment to moment. It lends a chaotic and claustrophobic feel to many sequences -- particularly as Wahlberg looks for survivors inside the rig after the massive explosion -- but other times it’s incomprehensible, obscuring what character the audience is even looking at, and forcing them to rely on the pounding score to understand whether something good or bad is about to happen on-screen."
Bryan Bishop, The Verge
THE DIVINE ORDER - Annette Focks
"Nonetheless, Volpe and editor Hansjoerg Weissbrich string together scene after scene in such a way that the film remains engaging and even quite light, despite the seriousness of its subject. Like many of the men (and a few women) in the story, the camerawork of Judith Kaufmann hovers somewhere between old-fashioned and modern, toggling between classical pans and more immediate, handheld shots. Production designer Timm Brueckner and costume designer Linda Harper evoke the period in a lightly stylized way that occasionally reeks of nostalgia, but thankfully the film's final look remains recognizably realistic. The only real hiccup is the music, with Annette Focks' score mostly musty and period song choices that are very on the nose, including Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' and Lesley Gore's 'You Don't Own Me.'
Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter
FRANK SERPICO - Brendan Canty
"D’Ambrosio has an ingenious approach to re-enactments, an often cringe-inducing documentary tactic. (In the most wrenching scene, Serpico restages his own takedown, at the exact scene of the crime.) There are missteps -- Brendan Canty’s slick, grungy score keeps taking us out of the gritty 1970s time period, and D’Ambrosio resorts too often to bombastic slo-mo. But these are leavened by D’Ambrosio’s comical reminders that even Serpico’s admirers considered him a bit of a pain. Lumet kicked 'Serpico' off set for yelling 'Cut!' at a sequence he didn’t approve of. And Serpico’s old partner scolds him -- in the midst of an otherwise teary-eyed reunion -- for his sometimes reckless piety."
Sam Weisberg, The Village Voice
"Keeping things on the right side of watchable are the performances, none of which are particularly revelatory, but all of them serving the territory their role in the story requires. Blunt and Bennett both rise above the pack, but even so, the screenplay doesn’t give them dimension until almost too late. And Danny Elfman’s score is also a pleasant surprise, showing hints of Cliff Martinez style iciness that serves the mostly po-faced proceedings well."
Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

"Distinguished only by a quite extraordinary musical score by Danny Elfman, working in an entirely uncharacteristic mode, and some adventurous camerawork from DP Charlotte Bruus Christensen, the film is very faithful to the book both structurally and in dramatic incident. The changes lie elsewhere: The setting has been shifted from greater London to the New York City suburbs, the milieu is much more upscale than in the book and the title character in the film is both more physically attractive and less ironic than on the page. The lone creative element to command coercive interest here is Elfman's score, which employs sonic currents of tonal irregularities, pulsations and mood instigators rather than melodies, typical tension tropes or any of his trademark gambits from the Tim Burton collaborations. He almost makes the film seem good from time to time."
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

"The hypnotic opening sequence of 'Most Beautiful Island' -- shot with a penetrating eye by Noah Greenberg in handheld Super 16mm and effectively interweaving the thrumming soundscape of New York City with the quiet strains of Jeffery Alan Jones' unsettling score -- subtly identifies seven different women among the Manhattan crowds in various locations. All of them are young and attractive, though seemingly unrelated. How much you buy into the dehumanizing spider web that later draws these women together will depend on your willingness to go with writer-director Ana Asensio's lurch from lucid naturalism into queasy quasi-horror."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
SWEET VIRGINIA - Brooke Blair, Will Blair
"True to genre, 'Sweet Virginia' slyly undermines the mythology of small-town folksiness and warmth that American pop culture has long sold itself. That's not especially new, but at a minimum the movie offers the pleasures of a leisurely paced, if far from slack, noir directed with elegant assurance by Jamie M. Dagg. A suitably monosyllabic script by the China Brothers never falls into the arch belittling of its characters that maroons so much of today's neo-noir in clever cynicism. If anything, the filmmakers show a rare, unsentimental tenderness toward the inhabitants of this ground-down Nowheresville, beautifully photographed by Jessica Lee Gagne against the bucolic majesty of mountainous Alaska and accented with a haunting minimalist score by Brooke and Will Blair."
Ella Taylor, NPR

"Fortunately, those pleasures come in spades. From Brooke and Will Blair’s mournful string score, to the screenplay’s clever use of callbacks and its mordant sense of humor, to the film’s nebulous sense of time (it’s suspended between between the analog and digital eras), 'Sweet Virginia' is riveting even when it feels insubstantial. Dagg’s steady hand creates a narrow but cohesive world in which the bad guys are capable of love, and the good guys are capable of savagery."
David Ehrlich, IndieWire


Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPASAmerican Cinematheque: AeroAmerican Cinematheque: EgyptianArclightArena CineloungeLACMALaemmleNew Beverly [reopening in December!], Nuart and UCLA.

November 23
DAWN OF THE DEAD (Goblin) [Cinematheque: Aero]
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (Maurice Jarre) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
PERFECT BLUE (Masahiro Ikumi) [Nuart]

November 24
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (Maurice Jarre) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (Lennie Hayton) [Cinematheque: Aero]

November 25
MY FAIR LADY (Frederick Loewe, Andre Previn) [Cinematheque: Aero]

November 26
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (Bruce Broughton) [Arclight Culver City]

November 27
LOVE ACTUALLY (Craig Armstrong) [Arclight Hollywood]
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (Bruce Broughton) [Arclight Santa Monica]
SUPERMAN (John Williams) [Laemmle Playhouse]

November 28
THE LAST OF SHEILA (Billy Goldenberg) [Laemmle Royal - screened from DVD]

November 29
CAUGHT (Frederick Hollander) [LACMA]

November 30

December 1
THE GENERAL [Cinematheque: Aero]
LITTLE WOMEN (Thomas Newman) [UCLA]
WONDER (Marcelo Zarvos) [AMPAS]

December 2
SEVEN CHANCES [Cinematheque: Aero]


I happened to catch an advance screening of the Icelandic film WOMAN AT WAR, that country's submission for this year's Foreign Language Oscar, and it has one of the most unusual uses of film music I've ever seen. The score was composed by David Thor Jonsson and performed by him and two other musicians (with specific cues also incorporating a trio of Ukranian female singers). The music is effective and unusual, but what is really unusual is that in virtually every scored scene (though not every scored shot), the musicians are actually on screen with the actors, whether in exterior or interior scenes. When this first occurred I thought it was just a visual joke for the film's opening, but it persisted even to the end. For me, it didn't really work, adding an extra layer of cuteness to an already fairly cutesy film (it's a light-hearted thriller about a female choirmaster who performs eco-terrorism in her spare time), but I certainly respect its attempts to push the envelope of film scoring.

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Comments (2):Log in or register to post your own comments
Hi, Scott. FYI, the New Beverly is open again with schedule posted on their site for your future posts.

Hi, Scott. FYI, the New Beverly is open again with schedule posted on their site for your future posts.

Thanks. While I was out of town, two friends separately let me know, so I should have the new listings starting in this Friday's column.

There are already four-five random films I plan to see there next month, the kind of films of which one can only say "When are you ever going to get a chance to see this in a theater again?"

I mean, The Last Safari? That's a movie I'm only aware of because I found the sheet music for it at Carl Fischer in NY back in the 90s.

Lots of stuff I've actually already seen there in the last few years (Butch & Sundance The Early Days, for example), so I won't be there every night like it's seemed some months. So glad they've returned. I hope they haven't changed their hot dog brand (for some reason the hot dogs at the Laemmles have gone way downhill in the last year or so).

I saw five movies while I was away, an unusually artsy bunch -- three documentaries and one Foreign Language entry (and Instant Family -- not artsy at all, but actually pretty good).

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