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Quartet has announced a handful of new score CDs -- Lalo Schifrin's score for the 1978 urban drama NUNZIO, featuring the same cues as the original MCA LP; Bruno Coulais' score for BLANCHE COMME NEIGE (White as Snow), the new film from director Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel, Adore, Gemma Bovery), starring Isabelle Huppert; Giorgio Gaslini's score for the 1965 Italian romantic drama UN AMORE; and James Griffiths' score for the WWII drama LANCASTER SKIES.


Laurette/Rashomon/Death of a Salesman - Elmer Bernstein, Laurence Rosenthal, Alex North - Kritzerland 
Pokemon Detective Pikachu - Henry Jackman - Sony
 - Thomas Newman - Sony 


Ask Dr. Ruth - Blake Neely
At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal - Drum & Lace, Ian Hultquist
Bolden - Mark Isham, Scott Steiner - Soundtrack CD on Blue Engine
Clara - Jonathan Kawchuk
Dead Trigger - Stephen Edwards
El Chicano - Mitch Lee
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile - Marco Beltrami, Dennis Smith
Foster - Gary Lionelli
Hesburgh - Alex Mansour
If the Dancer Dances - Paul Brill
I'll Take Your Dead - Steph Copeland
The Intruder - Geoff Zanelli
Knock Down the House - Ryan Blotnick
Long Shot - Marco Beltrami, Miles Hankins
Meeting Gorbachev - Nicholas Singer
The River and the Wall - Noah Sorota
Room for Rent - Joseph Bishara
The Russian Five - Wayne Kramer
Shadow - Zai Lou
Tell It to the Bees - Claire M. Singer
Ugly Dolls - Christopher Lennertz - Song CD on Atlantic


May 10
 - Guido & Maurizio DeAngelis - Beat
 - Marcello Giombini - Digitmovies
Ruba Al Prossimo Turo
 - Ennio Morricone - Digitmovies
Shazam! - Benjamin Wallfisch - WaterTower 
May 17
Black Mirror: Hang the DJ
 - Alex Somers, Sigur Ros - Invada 
Bumblebee - Dario Marianelli - La-La Land
The Sentinel - Gil Melle - La-La Land 
The Son
 - Nathan Barr - Varese Sarabande
May 24
Avengers: Endgame
- Alan Silvestri - Hollywood
 - Yasushi Akutagawa - Cinema-Kan (import)
May 31
Fletch Lives - Harold Faltermeyer - La-La Land
Outlander: Season 4 
- Bear McCreary - Madison Gate
June 7
Being Rose - Brian Ralson - Notefornote 
First to the Moon: The Journey of Apollo 8 - Alexander Bornstein - Notefornote 
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
 - Tyler Bates, Joel J. Richard - Varese Sarabande 
June 14
Dragged Across Concrete - Jeff Herriott, S. Craig Zahler - Lakeshore
Missing Link - Carter Burwell - Lakeshore
Date Unknown
Blanche Comme Neige
- Bruno Coulais - Quartet
The Dennis McCarthy Collection vol. 1: The Television Movies
 - Dennis McCarthy - Dragon's Domain
The History of Eternity
 - Zbigniew Preisner - Caldera
Jaguar Lives!
 - Robert O. Ragland - Dragon's Domain
Lancaster Skies
- James Griffiths - Quartet
Malevolence 3: Killer
 - Stevan Mena - Howlin' Wolf
- Lalo Schifrin - Quartet
Un Amore
- Giorgio Gaslini - Quartet


May 3 - Hugo Friedhofer born (1901)
May 3 - James Brown born (1933)
May 3 - Stephen Warbeck born (1953)
May 3 - Les Baxter records his score for House of Usher (1960)
May 3 - David Raksin begins recording his score for Two Weeks in Another Town (1962)
May 3 - Elmer Bernstein begins recording his score for Cahill United States Marshal (1973)
May 3 - Bruce Broughton begins recording his score for Baby’s Day Out (1994)
May 3 - Alden Shuman died (2002)
May 3 - Recording sessions begin for David Arnold’s score for The Stepford Wives (2004)
May 3 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Countdown” (2004)
May 3 - Recording sessions begin for Michael Giacchino’s score for Sky High (2005)
May 4 - Beatrice Thiriet born (1960)
May 4 - John Barry begins recording his score for Body Heat (1981)
May 4 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for The Secret of NIMH (1982)
May 4 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Sarek” (1990)
May 4 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “I, Borg.” (1992)
May 4 - Dennis McCarthy records his score for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Crossover” (1994)
May 4 - Albert Glasser died (1998)
May 5 - Patrick Gowers born (1936)
May 5 - Delia Derbyshire born (1937)
May 5 - Andre Previn begins recording his score for House of Numbers (1957)
May 5 - Jerome Moross begins recording his score for The Jayhawkers (1959)
May 5 - David Shire begins recording his score for The Big Bus (1976)
May 5 - Recording sessions begin for Pino Donaggio’s score for Dressed to Kill (1980)
May 5 - Jerry Goldsmith begins recording his score for Congo (1995)
May 5 - Recording sessions begin for Christopher Young's score for Species (1995)
May 5 - Isao Tomita died (2016)
May 6 - Recording sessions begin for Bronislau Kaper's score to The Glass Slipper (1954)
May 6 - Recording begins on Alfred Newman and Hugo Friedhofer's score to The Bravados in Munich, Germany (1958)
May 6 - Tom Chase born (1965) 
May 6 - Elmer Bernstein begins recording his score for The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)
May 6 - Michel Legrand begins recording his score to Ice Station Zebra (1968)
May 6 - Morton Stevens begins recording his score for Parts 3 & 4 of Masada (1980)
May 6 - Ron Jones records his score for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Neutral Zone" (1988)
May 6 - Leonard Salzedo died (2000)
May 6 - Jay Chattaway records his score for the Star Trek: Voyager episode “The Haunting of Deck Twelve” (2000)
May 6 - William Olvis died (2014)
May 6 - Antony Hopkins died (2014)
May 7 - George Stoll born (1902)
May 7 - Anne Dudley born (1956)
May 7 - Elliot Kaplan died (1992) 
May 7 - Soren Hyldgaard died (2018)
May 8 - Nathan Van Cleave born (1910)
May 8 - Larry Morey died (1971)
May 8 - Jerry Fielding begins recording his score for Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
May 8  - Basil Poledouris begins recording his score for Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)
May 9 - Richard Shores born (1917)
May 9 - The Informer opens in New York (1935)
May 9 - Bruce Rowland born (1942)
May 9 - David Rose wins an Emmy for his Bonanza score “The Love Child,” and Walter Scharf wins for the Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau episode “The Tragedy of the Red Salmon” (1971)
May 9 - Michael Kamen records his score for the Amazing Stories episode "Mirror, Mirror" (1985)
May 9 - Recording sessions begin for David Arnold’s score for Independence Day (1996)


BRAMPTON'S OWN - Mitchell Owens
"Playing that dentist, 'Friday Night Lights'' Scott Porter is one of a couple of indications (Mitchell Owens' Americana-tinted score is another) that Doneger hopes to follow in that show's footsteps, marrying relationship and family drama with lump-in-throat feelings about sports. But while the film effectively captures Dustin's ambivalence and melancholy about giving up on baseball, the love story isn't nearly persuasive, and Dustin's core failure as a person -- that he ignored all those he should have loved while pursuing a career -- just feels like a device lifted from bigger sports dramas.
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter 
A DOG'S PURPOSE - Rachel Portman
"These questions are not addressed by the film itself, which has much more mundane concerns (playing fetch to sappy music, mostly) on its mind. Dramatic conflicts -- of which there must be some, or else you might as well stay home and watch Animal Planet -- are sketched in the broadest strokes, and expressed through the medium of the dog smelling alcohol on Dad’s breath or knocking down a photo of his owner’s estranged ex-wife with his tail. The scariest sequence in the film -- coincidentally, also the one whose filming caused the uproar over animal abuse -- comes in Bailey’s life as a female police dog in ’70s Chicago, where she sacrifices herself by jumping into a river to save a kidnapped girl. The funniest is probably Bailey’s life in ’80s suburbia as a lazy Corgi living with a family whose kids like to dress him up in cute costumes, though rest assured that the jokes are as broad as the drama. (Think not one, but two sequences of the dog ruining an important dinner by knocking over the table.) The dialogue in all of them is comically devoid of subtext."
Katie Rife, The Onion AV Club

"'A Dog’s Purpose' offers many of the highlights of human-canine relations at their warmest and most affectionate, but the film chooses to skim on sun-dappled surfaces (Terry Stacey of 'Elvis and Nixon' was the cinematographer) and sentimentality (Rachel Portman’s score bombards the heartstrings) when it might have gone deeper. Not that every animal movie has to go as dark as 'Wiener-Dog' or as existential as 'Au Hasard Balthazar,' but this much saccharine isn’t healthy for animals or humans."
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

"Except for one violent incident, the recurring depictions of doggy death are heavier on tear-duct-tugging than on upsetting details, although the film’s squishy theology could very well trigger some unintended consequences with its smallest viewers. (It’s hard enough to convince a traumatized child to choose another animal from the shelter – imagine if they insisted on finding the reincarnation of their former pet?) But viewed in a vacuum, it’s hard to fault the movie’s earnestness; Hallström’s canine cinema pedigree (which includes the superior 'Hachi: A Dog’s Tale') shows through; and Rachel Portman’s score is understandably sentimental without going completely saccharine.
Andrew Barker, Variety
"Director Hallstrom succeeds in providing a diversified visual style to the proceedings, from the Andrew Wyeth-inspired look of the first segment to the grittier, handheld photography of the police dog episode. The soundtrack’s period-appropriate pop songs effectively convey the various time frames, while Rachel Portman’s score hammers home the emotional high points."
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

THE GREAT BUSTER: A CELEBRATION - The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
"Clips used from the prints Cohen owns look fantastic, though too often sequences aren’t allowed to run through and we get too many choppy gags; for films that Cohen does not own the rights to, visual quality varies. Original music by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra is comfortably in keeping with traditional silent film accompaniment, but using snippets from the 'William Tell Overture' or the 'Ride of the Valkyries' is just plain wrong."
Jay Weissberg, Variety 
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 - Tyler Bates, Joel J. Richard
"That all of this was accomplished on what I can only guess is a slightly bigger budget than the first film’s $20 million cost, is even more remarkable, but is also part of the charm. The score by Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard is earnestly loud and trashy in a way that Junkie XL’s similarly clanging, ear scorching work never manages to achieve. The cinematography by Dan Laustsen never operates beyond functional, and Montreal glaringly doubles for New York in many scenes, with only the barest of window dressing hung up to try and hide it. This all plays into keeping ‘Chapter 2’ a step away from anything resembling realism, which allows you to indulge in some truly violent mayhem, spliced with a tasteful ridiculousness, that maintains the franchise as a guilty pleasure."
Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist 
"Colangelo seems to take her cues from the lead performance, never allowing the movie's tone to become panicky. The piano-based score becomes only slightly more agitated as the story unfolds, and Lisa and Jimmy's final lines -- a minute or so apart -- are delivered quietly and to the smallest possible audiences."
Mark Jenkins, NPR
"Looked at from one angle, in fact, most of the movie could be considered entirely sympathetic to Lisa’s perspective. But then the camera lingers just a little too long on her inscrutable expression. Occasionally, the plaintive piano-and-strings score (by Asher Goldschmidt, 'White God') feels just a bit too ominous. And is her habit of touching everyone an expression of her compassion? Or her needs?"
Elizabeth Weitzman, The Wrap

"Supporting performances are strong within their limits, with Bernal bringing lots of layers to his few scenes, while pint-sized Sevak is a naturalistic blank just enigmatic enough to pull off the notion of a child who just might spout adult-sounding, melancholic verbiage. The presentation is thoughtfully low-key, with no showy effects in Pepe Avila Del Pino’s widescreen cinematography or Asher Goldschmidt’s piano-based score."
Dennis Harvey, Variety

"Colangelo sketches this situation with swift, economical strokes, complemented by composer Asher Goldschmidt's fretful score for strings and piano. The film almost imperceptibly builds evidence of Lisa's encroaching emptiness, the full extent of which only gradually becomes clear."
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

"There are countless stories about Batman coming to terms with his need for a family, including 'Batman & Robin,' evoked by this movie’s core of Batman, Alfred, and early versions of Robin and Batgirl forming a surrogate family. In some ways, 'The Lego Batman Movie' is that Joel Schumacher nightmare gone right: It’s a goofier Batman, depicted through a variety of merchandise-friendly toys and a barrage of brightly colored visuals, but with jokes that are often sly or proudly silly, not lazy attempts at camp. Director Chris McKay and his six-man writing team also throw in a lot of references to Batman lore. During their first skirmish, Batman refers to past Joker exploits such as 'the two boats' and the time he danced to Prince music. Another brief sequence cycles through Lego recreations of a dozen-plus famous Batman images, while the score lifts elements of various Bat-themes."
Jesse Hassenger, The Onion AV Club

"They immediately get down to the business of nailing the requisite tone, with Batman’s gravelly growl first manifesting itself over the opening production logos, offering amusing takes on the importance of starting with a black screen and dramatic musical cues. But the self-satisfied Dark Knight is starting to see that constantly dealing with The Joker (voiced by Zack Galifianakis) and his fellow fiendish rogues offers diminishing compensation for the fact that his solitary life on Wayne Island is getting pretty lonely."
Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter 
"A third-party filmmaker, even one with the most fiery interest in Cindy's plight, couldn't get this story in this way, nor probably could an outside cinematographer. Whether he's shooting in well-composed video or filming with an iPhone, it's just Valdez behind the camera. Valdez's closest collaborator who doesn't share his DNA is probably producer Sam Bisbee, who also wrote the tear-abetting score and original songs -- an unusual combination of filmmaking hats -- and editor and co-writer Viridiana Lieberman."
Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter

THE SPACE BETWEEN US - Andrew Lockington
"The script is credited to Allan Loeb, whose name also cropped up on last December's sappy/nutty 'Collateral Beauty,' which was apparently is the work of many hands. Whoever's responsible, the present result is more sappy than nutty. The corn is fertilized by a ponderous score and a handful of bland folkie-rock tunes."
Mark Jenkins, NPR 

"We’ve been on this road trip before; cinematographer Barry Peterson ('Central Intelligence') frames their trek like a series of car commercials in which fruited plains and purple mountains’ majesty are always in the background. Meanwhile, the soundtrack vacillates between sappy pop songs (of the 'whoa-oh-whoa' school) and a cloying, strings-heavy score by Andrew Lockington ('San Andreas') that’s always operating at maximum poignancy."
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

"Butterfield and Robertson (who’s about 10 years too old to be playing a high-school student at this point) don’t exactly get sparkling dialogue with which to convince us of their burgeoning love. Neither does the score, which works overtime to make us feel all the feels."
Christy Lemire, 
"'His heart can’t handle our gravity,' Oldman at one point bellows with almost touching conviction -- a line that rivals the emotion-machine climax of director Peter Chelsom’s last movie, 'Hector And The Search For Happiness,' on the cornball camp index. Chelsom applies the middle-school-dance sentimentality with a ladle, leaning heavily on the tinkle of an overbearing score and a soundtrack of generic, cost-efficient pop cues. (You want to praise it for avoiding the most obvious needle drops, like the Smashing Pumpkins’ tender 'Space Boy,' until you realize that they probably just couldn’t afford them.) For all its 'The Martian Jr.' trappings, this is really just another story of a teenage soul too pure for this world; when the phony artifice of Las Vegas nearly kills Gardner, you half expect a floating plastic bag to rejuvenate him. Mars is apparently just the burbs with better scenery."
A.A. Dowd, The Onion AV Club 

"Elsewhere, though, the filmmakers aren’t so artfully fixated on conveying Gardner’s encounters with Earth’s unfamiliar environs. But then, they seem to care less about the story’s sci-fi dimensions than they do about triple-underlining its romantic and inspirational clichés. It’s not enough for Gardner to display an appealing big-hearted innocence that gradually warms the emotionally guarded Tulsa; Loeb also has to give him a life-threatening condition via an enlarged heart and have characters literally tell him, 'You know why you’re sick? Your heart’s too big.' And when Chelsom isn’t leaning on Andrew Lockington’s wall-to-wall score to emphasize the story’s emotional beats, he resorts to using upbeat teenybopper pop songs to remind his audience that this is a romance first and a sci-fi film second."
Kenji Fujishima, Slant Magazine 

"In a typical, by-the-numbers story, the repressed young couple would break away from their parents to take a spin across the scenic United States. But here, conveniently, Tulsa is an orphan and so has no parents. Perhaps the most heartening thing about this journey is how well preserved the countryside is -- with its spacious skies, amber waves of grain, and all that -- so gorgeously rendered by DP Barry Peterson. Where most movies about colonizing Mars double as an indictment of the damage humans have already done to Earth, this one feels like a series of scenic car commercials, smothered in obnoxious emo ballads by the likes of Ingrid Michaelson and James Bay, or else the screensaver stylings of composer Andrew Lockington."
Peter Debruge, Variety
"I’ve been a fan of the Wolff brothers since the days of the Naked Brothers Band, the endearing 'Hard Day’s Night'-style movie their mother, actress/director Polly Draper, made in 2005 with her then six and nine-year old sons. They played fictional versions of themselves as members of a children’s rock group, and the movie, shot in their home and with their friends, had a natural, freewheeling charm and became a television series. Since then, Nat and Alex Wolff have become fine actors, Nat in films like 'The Fault in Our Stars,' 'Grandma,' and the underrated 'Paper Towns,' and Alex in 'Hereditary,' 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,' and 'Patriot’s Day.' It is very good to see them playing brothers in 'Stella’s Last Weekend,' a true family affair. Draper wrote, directed, and co-stars as their mother and the lovely score was composed by their musician father, Michael Wolff."
Neil Minow,

306 HOLLYWOOD - Troy Herion
"In a way, the Bogaríns’ use of their copious interview footage can be considered cheating, as they’re mostly interested in exploring the ways that a person lives on in the objects they leave behind. Early in the film, they note in voice-over (which alternates between the two of them) that they saw Ontell almost exclusively in her home, to the point where imagining her in other locations is difficult for them. The film illustrates that sense of cognitive dissonance via a quick montage in which they place a dollhouse-sized replica of the house at 306 Hollywood Ave. in various locations that their grandmother would surely have frequented: a diner counter, a parking space, a supermarket aisle. Much of what follows is similarly expressionistic, accompanied by Troy Herion’s infectiously urgent score. Possessions -- like multiple Band-Aid tins filled with spare change -- get catalogued on screen with Wes Anderson-style symmetrical rigor. When the Bogaríns speak with a 'clothing and textile conservator,' who examines the dresses Ontell made to determine their condition and value, the sequence soon gives way to a musical number in which half a dozen young women dressed in identical granny girdles swan their way through the house’s front yard. It’s an extended postmortem fantasia."
Mike D'Angelo, The Onion AV Club 

"The ornate opening font and decorative fairy-tale music announce that we’re entering a world where more is more. The Bogari´ns discover that there are dozens of ways to catalogue a life. In one scene, they fill the backyard with several rows of mismatched chairs -- the sign of someone who embraced color and chaos? Later, they paper the roof and shingles with their family’s old clothing, plaid jackets and brocade dresses lying lifeless as if to emphasize their owners are absent."
Amy Nicholson, Variety 


Screenings of older films, at the following L.A. movie theaters: AMPASAmerican Cinematheque: AeroAmerican Cinematheque: EgyptianArclightArena CineloungeLACMALaemmleNew Beverly, Nuart and UCLA

May 3
COWBOY BEBOP: THE MOVIE (Yoko Kanno) [Nuart]
THE KING OF COMEDY, OPENING NIGHT [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
NEAR DARK (Tangerine Dream), JENNIFER'S BODY (Theodore Shapiro, Stephen Barton) [New Beverly]

May 4
AMELIE (Yann Tiersen) [Cinematheque: Egyptian]
GLORY (James Horner) [Cinematheque: Aero]
LITTLE WOMEN (Thomas Newman) [New Beverly]
THE LOVE WITCH (Anna Biller) [New Beverly]
NEAR DARK (Tangerine Dream), JENNIFER'S BODY (Theodore Shapiro, Stephen Barton) [New Beverly] 

May 5
THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN (Angelo Badalamenti), DELICATESSEN (Carlos D'Alessio) [Cinematheque: Aero]
LITTLE WOMEN (Thomas Newman) [New Beverly] 
MEREDITH WILLSON'S THE MUSIC MAN (Meredith Willson, Ray Heindorf) [UCLA]
TRUE GRIT (Elmer Bernstein) [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]
THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET (Denis Sanacore) [Cinematheque: Aero] 

May 6
MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (DeWolfe) [Arclight Sherman Oaks]
REAL GENIUS (Thomas Newman) [New Beverly]
SPACEBALLS (John Morris) [Arclight Culver City]

May 7
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (John Carpenter, Alan Howarth) [Arclight Hollywood]
BLUE STEEL (Brad Fiedel), SURVEILLANCE (Todd Bryanton), HOLLYWOOD VICE SQUAD (Michael Convertino, Keith Levene) [New Beverly]
OFFICE SPACE (John Frizzell) [Arclight Santa Monica]
TRUE GRIT (Elmer Bernstein) [LACMA]

May 8
GIRLFRIENDS (Michael Small), IT'S MY TURN (Patrick Williams) [New Beverly]
A STAR IS BORN (Harold Arlen, Ray Heindorf) [New Beverly]

May 9
ANNIE HALL [Laemmle NoHo]
GIRLFRIENDS (Michael Small), IT'S MY TURN (Patrick Williams) [New Beverly] 

May 10
FOUR ROOMS (Combustible Edison) [New Beverly]
SHOCKER (William Goldstein) [Nuart]
STRANGE DAYS (Graeme Revell), BORN IN FLAMES [New Beverly]

May 11
THE CHIPMUNK ADVENTURE (Randy Edelman) [New Beverly]
CITY OF GOLD (Bobby Johnston) [Arena Cinelounge]
THE LOVE WITCH (Anna Biller) [New Beverly]
STRANGE DAYS (Graeme Revell), BORN IN FLAMES [New Beverly] 
THE TERMINATOR (Brad Fiedel) [Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts]
THE TRIP (Michael Nyman) [Arena Cinelounge]

May 12
THE CHIPMUNK ADVENTURE (Randy Edelman) [New Beverly]
CITY OF GOLD (Bobby Johnston) [Arena Cinelounge]
LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE (Leo Brouwer) [Arena Cinelounge]


Heard: The Tall Man (Bryanton, Douek, Young), Lion (O'Halloran, Hauschka), Tre Donne/Correva L'Annno Di Grazia 1870 (Morricone), The Highwaymen (Newman), Humans (Tapia De Veer)

Read: partway through Ask the Parrot by Richard Stark, and Foundation and Earth by Isaac Asimov

Seen: The Curse of La Llorona, The White Crow, Avengers: Endgame, Under the Silver Lake, Her Smell, JT LeRoy, Stockholm, After the Fox, The Heartbreak Kid [1972]

Watched: Mystery Science Theater 3000: Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II

There was a recent comment thread on the Message Board, which I never actually clicked on [I only just now clicked on it and discovered it's an old thread which was recently revived], discussing people's choices for the most overrated score of all time. The one that immediately came to mind for me was Maurice Jarre's Lawrence of Arabia, which I'm almost reluctant to bring up, since it's such a beloved score both among film music fans and regular filmgoers (it even ranked #3 on AFI's list of greatest film scores). 

Don't get me wrong -- Lawrence is a fine score, certainly one of Jarre's best with a genuinely memorable main theme. I just feel like while in a lot of cases great film music elevates the overall quality of a film, in Lawrence's case it's the film that elevates people's view of the music. Whether Lean's film is a truly insightful portrait of T.E. Lawrence or not, the witty script, Lean's impeccable direction, and O'Toole's breakthough performance give one the impression that the film is able to dig deep under Lawrence's surface to a degree unusual for a blockbuster historical epic, while Jarre's dramatically effective score for me just stays on that surface. At one point Bernard Herrmann was actually considered for the assignment, and the mind boggles at what he might have brought to the project -- there are few film composers who had his knack for expressing psychology in musical terms.

I was reminded of this while seeing The Bridge on the River Kwai (which I'd only seen on video before) at the New Beverly a few weeks ago. Not surprisingly, it's a film that's even better when seen in a theater, and I didn't mind the weird tonal disparity between the Alec Guinness and William Holden storylines this time, but I am still unimpressed by Malcolm Arnold's Oscar-winning score. I got a lot of flack from readers years ago when I described it as "typical Malcolm Arnold bombast" but that's how his main theme still sounds to me, nearly indistinguishable from some of his themes for other films of the era. Alec Guinness is spectacular in the film and deserved his Best Actor Oscar, but every time his character starts to show signs of mental illness, Arnold is there with music that needlessly underlines what Guinness is showing us so subtly and expertly.

Anyone who is a fan of Lean and his films should pick up Kevin Brownlow's definitive biography of the filmmaker, which looks at his art and his life in staggering and revealing detail. One of my favorite stories is about how when filming Ryan's Daughter (a film which for all its visual grandeur has some really bad Jarre scoring and a rather terrible John Mills performance that inexplicably won an Oscar) it became clear that a second-unit director would be needed to film most of the scene where the villagers unload weapons from boats among the crashing waves.

One thing that made it difficult to find a second-unit director for the sequence was that, to put it bluntly, either way they were screwed. If they didn't do a good job, they would have ruined Lean's latest masterpiece. And if they did do a good job, Lean would resent that another director was able to pull off what he couldn't. The sequence turned out to be the highlight of the film, and if I remember the story correctly, Lean never forgave his second-unit man for doing such a great job.

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Also available today on iTunes:

John Williams' symphonic suite for Disney's "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge."

The perfect appetizer in advance of "The Rise of Skywalker"

(I know, I know. There's already a thread on it. Don't get up, I'll ban myself.)


No banning -- it's just my fear that downloading will kill soundtracks-on-physical-media is why I never announce such releases in the Friday columns.

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