Lawrence Of Arabia: Maurice Jarre’s theme is instantly recognisable and indeed set up several musical clichés which still exist today- it’s difficult to watch any desert scene in a movie without that oriental swirling string style used in the 1962 hit. The soundtrack is filled with these foreign moments whilst also sounding distinctly French, but most importantly it immediately evokes images of endless sand landscapes, mirages, and wanderers in white with their faces covered before impending dust hurricanes. It is a deserving winner and gets my official vote.
Freud: Jerry Goldsmith got his first Oscar nomination for this Biopic of Freud, a film which was not a success and has been long since forgotten. The soundtrack however has managed to stand he test of time and is full of plinky plonky plucked strings and dissonant sounds- it almost sounds like the archetypal mystery movie soundtrack. There aren’t a lot of obvious melodic moments but rather many merged smaller pieces which create a great amount of tension and inertia. It was also famously re-used for Alien in 1979.
Mutiny On The Bounty: Bronislau Kaper’s theme is an old school epic theme, typical for Milestone’s movies and one which is full of stirring strings and choirs and definitely creates thoughts of high sea adventure in one’s head.
Taras Bulba: Franz Waxman’s score for Taras Bulba is an unusual one- it has all the cheesy hallmarks of pre-1960 Hollywood with dreary, lost vocals and gentle melodies but it is punctuated by bizarre harpsichord sounds and Eastern scales.
To Kill A Mockingbird:Bernstein is a God amongst composers, but I have to say the theme for the 1962 flick didn’t leave an impression on me. On re-visiting it reminds me of Edward Scissorhands and although it lacks a standout moment, the overall feel of soft playing and melodies gives a sense of innocence and eventually tragedy and justice when you are familiar with the plot. It is a strong score which stands well on its own and may have been down played during the movie.
The Music Man: This was the winner for this year’s awards and it’s an obvious one- the film is packed full of jolly hits which appeal to musical fan’s taste, and naturally there are a few of the songs which are so damn catchy that even the most hardened anti-musical man would struggle not to smile at a few of them. However, as a whole it is simply too cheesy and happy for my tastes and will not be getting my pick as winner.
Billy Rose’s Jumbo: George Stoll’s adaptation of the Rodgers and Hart score is equally old school Hollywood and although there are a few decent songs and though it does adequately evoke images of Circuses and clowns, it is so generic and unimaginative that it goes in one ear and out the other for me.
Gigot: Again we are in ye olde territory here, not surprising with Gene Kelly at the helm, although thankfully it doesn’t go overboard with the wailing choral voices or soundless strings. There is nothing outstanding here but it suits the tear-jerking, soppy nature of the film.
Gypsy: And once again it’s another horrific old style score to fit another horrific film admirably. Even for musical fans I don’t think there is anything outstanding here.
The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm: This movie was all about the visuals and the stories and the adventure and it is unfortunate that the film got a fairly generic, unimpressive score- weird fairy tale ditties aside.
My Winner: Freud
My Nominations: Lawrence Of Arabia. Freud. Mutiny On The Bounty. To Kill A Mockingbird. Dr. No. The Phantom Of The Opera.
Only Dr No and The Phantom OfThe Opera are newly added to my choices. Monty Norman and John Barry’s famous James Bond Theme is one of the most recognisable pieces of music ever written and stands the test of time – the rest of the score is punctuated by Calypso sounds and Caribbean styles. Edwin Astley’s score for The Phantom Of The Opera features strong original and burrowed music, but has since been overshadowed by later versions.
My Winner: Freud