Best Score – 1970

Official Nominations: Love Story. Airport. Cromwell. Patton. I Girasoli. Let It Be. The Baby Maker. A Boy Named Charlie Brown. Darling Lili. Scrooge.

This year the category was again split in two – with Love Story winning in the ‘Not A Musical’ category, and Let It Be winning the Best Score or Adaptation category. It’s not surprising that Love Story won here – the main piano theme by is synonymous with tragedy and has been used in other media, usually for comedy purposes. It’s a great piece, it feels a little Western, tragic in nature, haunting, sweet, but also quite weird or alien. While none of the other pieces reach these heights of being recognizable many of them are nice and simple and memorable for anyone who has seen the film, running the gamut from pastoral love themes to barren sadness. Alfred Newman’s soundtrack is tense and pulsating – a lot of bass and a high tempo, interrupted by stabbing high strings, while also giving a sense of the rushing, bustle, and escapism suggested by airports. The soundtrack does have other notable moments – a lazy love theme staving off the tension of the flight and landing. Frank Cordell’s theme for Cromwell is surprisingly operatic and reminds me of the later The Omen and even the even later Conan The Barbarian while Jerry Goldmsith works his magic once again on Patton. His knack for brief cues and refrains is superb, and everyone will recognise those fading, recurring triple notes which open the movie while the stirring strings and flutes lurk in. The whole soundtrack is rousing, passionate, patriotic, but doesn’t celebrate in war – remembering the tragedy and sacrifice. Our last nomination in this side of the category comes from Italy – I Girasoli or The Sunflower sees Henry Mancini lending some heartfelt sadness to the tragic drama – the main theme shares a lot with that of Love Story. 

Let It Be speaks for itself, a collection of songs which appear on the album of the same name, albeit in different forms, along with covers and songs from other albums. A Boy Named Charlie Brown shouldn’t really be here given that it came out in 1969 while The Baby Maker is a bizarre choice on the surface – Fred Karlin’s soundtrack peppered with hippy folk sensibility, rock freakouts, and light flute notes. The final nominations are less surprising – with both Darling Lili and Scrooge being musicals. Musicals being what they are, I tend to think of the actual songs before the soundtrack so neither stand out for me from an incidental point of view. Let It Be easily wins in the second category for me, but the first is much more difficult as each is a worthy choice.

My Winner(s): Patton and Let It Be

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My Nominations: Patton. Let It Be. Love Story. Cromwell. The Aristocats. The Bird With The Crystal Plummage. Gimme Shelter. Woodstock. Kelly’s Heroes. MASH. Zabriskie Point.

I bring only three over to the dark side – if Let It Be gets nominated, then so surely must Gimme Shelter and Woodstock – both featuring great music and performances from some of the most important bands of all time. I have to throw The Aristocats in there because, even though I’m not a huge fan of the film or of Jazz, it is a film about music and has a certain vibe and energy to it. A much easier nomination would be MASH – aside from the obvious Suicide Is Painless theme, there are other mini compositions which bring humour to the military standards. Another obvious one for me is Zabriskie Point – another soundtrack featuring popular artists of the time, but one which blends songs with instrumental pieces. Lalo Schifrin brings the funk to Kelly’s Heros – a carefree swagger characterized by Eastwood and Co in the movie while Ennio Morricone got it together with Dario Argento long before Goblin did, and in doing so created something creepy and beautiful (if a little similar to Rosemary’s Baby in places).

My Winner: Patton.

Let us know in the comments which Score of 1970 you would pick as winner!

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2 thoughts on “Best Score – 1970

  1. John Charet June 1, 2017 / 3:07 am

    Great post 🙂 I would probably either pick Patton though for me, Jerry Goldsmith’s best score of that year was The Ballad of Cable Hogue (at least in my opinion). I do love Zabriskie Point and I would have added Ryan’s Daughter, but I am aware of your feelings on that latter film. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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