Best Music (Scoring) – 1969

Official Nominations: Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. Anne of The Thousand Days. The Reivers. The Secret of Santa Vittoria. The Wild Bunch. Hello Dolly. Goodbye Mr Chips. Paint Your Wagon. They Shoot Horses Don’t They. Sweet Charity.

More craziness this year as the Scoring category was divided into – Best Original Score (Not A Musical) and Best Original Or Adaptation Score (Including Musical). I’ve bunched them all together though, both in the Official List and in my own. Lets get the two Official Winners out of the way first. BCATSK by one Burt Bacharach is of course most famous for it’s central song, but the rest of the soundtrack has a fun and light folk and jazz vibe, unusual for what would be classed as a Western – it is in stark contrast to Morricone’s stuff for example. There’s a winsome, nostalgic, bittersweet, and playful tone throughout. I’m not convinced Hello Dolly should be on here given that the soundtrack is simply a list of songs from the movie – it’s whether you consider a movie soundtrack to be purely or mostly instrumental, or whether is matters or not. Regardless, the music and songs don’t do anything for me, aside from some amusing lyrics and the vocal and comic talent involved it’s just not very good.

Georges Delarue presents a regal soundtrack for Anne Of The Thousand Days, crafting a very good period sound with subtle contemporary flavour – moving and grand. John Williams was already an established Conductor by the time of The Reivers, but not yet considered in the same league as his contemporaries – this nomination and score went a long way to changing that – a rich and epic score peppered with the lighter melodic moments which would be one of his most enduring trademarks. Ernest Gold’s score for The Secret Of Santa Vittoria is another strong one, with authentic European charm, but it maybe gets lost in the mix with all of the other big hitters this year.

The Wild Bunch I’ve always found to have a strange soundtrack for a Western. Jerry Fielding’s score shares more with a drama or 80s adventure movie than with what you would expect from a Western – perhaps it is this which again adds to the feeling that the movie was closing the book on the genre. Speaking of unusual ideas for a Western, Paint Your Wagon sees Clint, Marvin, and co singing unnecessarily. The music by Lernre, Loewe, and Previn is okay, at least one of the songs is good, but it’s all terribly old fashioned and far too happy and cheesy for its own good.

Goodbye, Mr Chips has a score by John Williams again, and songs by Leslie Bricusse – not my thing as the songs are so plain, while Sweet Charity has work from Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields – better songs then, but the score is still nothing out of the ordinary – massive jazz thumps and sways, but again not my thing. Finally, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They has strange incidental music punctuated by show tunes or earlier times – the nice score coming from Johnny Green.

My Winner: The Reivers

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My Nominations: The Reivers. The Secret Of Santa Vittoria. Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. Easy Rider

If those other soundtracks are getting official nominations, then there’s no way Easy Rider is missing out. The same goes for The Italian Job. Quincy Jones somehow steps in to a uniquely English film to give some Motown class to the camp proceedings, while Easy Rider speaks for itself. As that soundtrack is entirely songs though, I can’t in good conscience give it the win in this category.

My Winner: The Italian Job

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Let us know in the comments who your pick for the Best Score of 1969 is – and stay tuned throughout February as I unleash a tonne of music posts that have been sitting in my drafts for months!

Best Music (Scoring) – 1968

Official Nominations: The Lion In Winter. Planet Of The Apes. The Thomas Crown Affair. The Shoes Of The Fisherman. The Fox. Oliver! Star! Finian’s Rainbow. The Young Girls Of Rochefort. Funny Girl.

The Scoring award was split this year between original and adaptation scores, but I’ll bundle them into one. John Barry picked up an official win for The Lion In Winter, a score with many heavy and mysterious tones thanks to dramatic horns and ominous low blasts, made all the more eerie thanks to the choir. Goldsmith’s soundtrack to The Planet Of The Apes is a fitting mixture of the experimental and strange with creeping piano and woodwind instruments. The main theme lacks a true hook, giving that air of mystery, threat, and confusion that the film relies on. Legrand’s work for The Thomas Crown Affair is filled with jazz and cool, but as such lacks the melodies which tend to grab me and mostly reminds me of musical wafted through shopping malls. Alex North does find some useful melodies in the stirring score for The Shoes Of The Fisherman but nothing outstanding while Schifrin’s work for The Fox has some truly beautiful moments throughout the main arrangements. Johnny Green picked up another win for Oscar – you already know how it sounds, while you can imagine exactly how Lennie Hayton’s Star! sounds. Similarly, Heindorf and Burton’s Finian’s Rainbow is mostly fluff while Legrand does the French equivalent with The Young Girls Of Rochefort. Oh look! Funny Girl is your standard musical fare.

My Winner: The Lion In Winter.

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My Nominations: The Lion In Winter. The Planet Of The Apes. The Fox. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Barbarella. Bullitt. Hang Em High. The Odd Couple. Once Upon A Time In The West. Rosemary’s Baby. Where Eagles Dare.

I add a number of obvious choices in this category – films either with classic themes, haunting scores, or a combination of both. Ennio Morricone does it again, and maybe pulls off his finest score for Once Upon A Time In The West while Stanley Kubrick (yes yes I’m cheating) borrows a number of famous classical works and applies them to the vastness of space and time meaning no viewer of 2001 can watch a clip of the movie without thinking of the music and no listener can hear the music without thinking of the movie. Maurice Jarre gets yet another nomination merging sexy cool with mystery while Lalo Schifrin continues his trend for yearly nominations with an equally cool, mysterious, and jazzy score for Bullitt. Neal Hefti earns a nomination for crafting an ever popular theme in The Odd Couple while Krysztof Komeda makes a generation creeped out by lullabies forever thanks to his work on Rosemary’s Baby. Ron Goodwin gets a nomination for his suitably militaristic and heroic music on Where Eagles Dare, rousing and ominous at once and lastly, Dominic Frontiere gets a vote for his great pieces in Hang Em High – they may borrow heavily from Morricone, but in the best possible way.

My Winner: Once Upon A Time In The West.

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Which movie of 1968 do you think has the Best Scoring? Let us know in the comments!

Best Music (Scoring): 1967

The category this year was again divided into two – Best Original Score, and Best Original Song or Adaptation Score which makes less than zero sense. I’ll pick my winner from each of the Official categories, but for My Nominations I’ll be merging them.

Official Nominations (Original): Thoroughly Modern Millie. Cool Hand Luke. Doctor Dolittle. Far From The Madding Crowd. In Cold Blood. (Adapted): Camelot. Doctor Dolittle. Thoroughly Modern Millie. Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. Valley of The Dolls.

Bernstein won for Thoroughly Modern Millie, an suitably light and jaunty soundtrack which is reminiscent of the theme for TV series Bewitched and immediately evokes light and fluffy ideas of single women shopping and giggling. It’s not terrible, it’s just not great. Ironically, this was to be his only Oscar win. Schifrin’s soundtrack for Cool Hand Luke is clearly stronger, being poignant and sad, perfectly suited to the actions on screen. Merging lonely guitars with traditional big string surges, harmonica, and speedy news report-esque fills, it’s an oft forgotten work which transcends the time in which it was written. Bricusse’s soundtrack for Doctor Dolittle sounds like a cross between a cartoon from the 30s-50s and an old weepy romance. There are beautiful moments which float along, but the whole package lacks than big hook or two to tie it all. Similarly, Bennett’s work on Far From The Madding Crowd is quite lovely, acting as a strong emotional piece to the film itself, but again (narrowly) loses out when searching for the ever elusive killer theme. Jones’s soundtrack for In Cold Blood instantly grabs you and drags you along on a heart-pumping ride. Merging light Jazz moments with rushing, galloping drums, it is an archetypal theme for a thriller.

My Winner: Cool Hand Luke

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My Nominations: Cool Hand Luke. Far From The Madding Crowd. In Cold Blood. You Only Live Twice. The Graduate. The Jungle Book.

I add three films which really should have received official nominations.George Bruns’s score for The Jungle Book may be overshadowed by the songs written for the movie, but there is still enough in the incidental pieces to warrant a nomination. The same can be said for Dave Grusin’s score for The Graduate. Finally, John Barry’s score for You Only Live Twice is likely his finest work in the Bond Universe, merging oriental flavours with the more familiar Bond tones and themes to create something striking and memorable.

My Winner: You Only Live Twice

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Let us know i n the comments what film of 1967 you feel has the best soundtrack!

Best Music (Scoring): 1966

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Official Nominations: Original: Born Free. The Bible. Hawaii. The Sand Pebbles. Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf. Treatment: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. The Gospel According To St. Matthew. Return Of The Seven. The Singing Nun. Stop The World I Want To Get Off.

Two obvious winners for me this year with both my picks having memorable lead themes and plenty of finely tuned incidental pieces. Return Of The Seven does of course borrow heavily from The Magnificent Seven, but it’s still so much stronger than anything else on the list that it gets the win.

My Winner: Born Free. Return Of The Seven.

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My Nominations: Born Free. Return Of The Seven. The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. Blow-Up. The Sand Pebbles. Dracula: Prince Of Darkness.  Fahrenheit 451.

I borrow three from the official nominations, and add the steamy and restrained soundtrack by James Bernard which gives a gravitas and emotional content to your typical Hammer fare. Also added is Herbie Hancock’s immortal soundtrack to Blow-Up with an infusion of guitar psychedelia and jazz freak outs, and Bernard Hermann’s mysterious and ominous ode to the future for Farenheit 451. My win of course has to be The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. It’s unfortunately rare that movie soundtracks enter the public consciousness and have a lasting cultural significance, but that is exactly what Ennio Morricone gives us (and not for the first or last time). The soundtrack is easily one of the finest ever written, with the title track, with The Ecstasy Of Gold, The Story Of A Soldier, all being classic themes.

My Winner: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

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What is your choice for the Best Score of 1966? Let us know in the comments (of course it’s going to be Morricone though…)

Best Music (Scoring): 1965

Official Nominations: Original: Dr Zhivago. A Patch Of Blue. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg. The Agony And Ecstasy. The Greatest Story Ever Told. Treatment: The Sound Of Music. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg. Cat Ballou. A Thousand Clowns. The Pleasure Seekers.

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The official nominations this year were split into original score and treatment score to deal with the amount of stage adaptations. I’ll bunch them together for my own nominations. Maurice Jarre’s oriental, string fuelled, emotive score for Dr Zhivago has at least one famous theme which you’ll recognise even if you haven’t seen the film and was unsurprisingly this year’s winner. Jerry Goldsmith’s wistful, tragic score for A Patch Of Blue has tinkly piano parts and just enough string backing to sway between loneliness and happiness, whilst the same can almost be said for Michel Legrand’s Umbrellas Of Cherbourg. Even though the film came out the year before, and was nominated the year before, it is oddly nominated in both categories here. Alex North’s score for The Agony and The Ecstasy has plenty of solo instrumental moments, strange for an epic, and countered by typical organ and brass elements – it’s in these larger moments that the emotional weight is carried though the score lacks a memorable tune. Alfred Newman’s The Greatest Story Ever Told is a similarly epic film merging typical Christian standards with choir backing and a collection of more tender moments, but again for me none of the themes stand out.

The Sound Of Music is filled with musical moments still wildly popular today, so it is difficult to argue against its choice as winner.  Cat Ballou’s score by Frank De Vol is mostly upbeat, exciting, and jig-worthy while Don Walker’s  A Thousand Clowns relies too much on the same motifs. Newman and Courage’s The Pleasure Seekers rounds up the nominees, the only anomaly here, memorable only for its Spanish tinged moments.

My Winner: Original: Dr Zhivago. Treatment: The Sound Of Music.

My Nominations: Help! Dr Zhivago. A Patch Of Blue. The Sound Of Music. Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill. Thunderball. For A Few Dollars More

I’ve added a few more films to my list, namely Ken Thorne’s treatment and original work for Help! and Morricone’s expansion to A Fistful Of Dollars for A Few Dollars More. John Barry’s soundtrack for Thunderball is one of the better scores, while Paul Sawtell’s zippy score for Faster Pussycat opened the doors for a million grindhouse imitators.

My Winner: Help!

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Which film do you feel has the best soundtrack of 1965? Let us know in the comments below!

Best Music (Scoring): 1964

Actual Nominations: Mary Poppins, Beckett, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, The Fall Of The Roman Empire, The Pink Panther, My Fair Lady, A Hard Day’s Night, Robin And The 7 Hoods, The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

I’ve merged the Best Original and Best Adapted scores into a single category with a single winner. The actual winners (Original) this year, unsurprisingly were The Shermans for Mary Poppins, whose soundtrack has that eternal Disney quality- most of the tracks are ageless, but many of them, like the songs from the film, are too twee and grating for my venomous ears. Picking up the win for Adapted Score was Andre Previn for My Fair Lady, again an expected victory. The same opinion above can be used here, although I find Poppins the more fun soundtrack, while Lady has more intelligence. Laurence Rosenthal’s score for Becket is powerful, dramatic, and clearly raises the film’s potency while Frank De Vol arguably does the same job for Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte with music that teeters between tender and terrifying. Dimitri Tiomkin’s score for The Fall Of The Roman Empire has some fantastic moments, particularly the main theme which sounds an awful lot between a forgotten cross between The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, and The Godfather while Henry Mancini finally strikes gold with the eternally wonderful theme to The Pink Panther. It’s stealthy jazz conjures up images of cool criminals, cool cops, comedy capers, and would have made a more deserving winner than either of the two actual winners. Nelson Riddle’s Robin And The 7 Hoods on the other hand is uninspired pap, featuring voices from the Twat Pack. The Unsinkable Molly Brown is more renowned for it’s songs than the score, while my winner A Hard Day’s Night could fall under the same conclusion. However, George Martin’s production of The Beatles tracks merged to create one of the best albums/soundtracks ever and they accompany the antics of the films perfectly.

My Winner: A Hard Day’s Night

My Nominations: A Hard Day’s Night, The Pink Panther. The Fall Of The Roman Empire. A Fistful Of Dollars. Goldfinger. Viva Las Vegas. Mary Poppins. My Fair Lady. 633 Squadron

Four newcomers for my list- a musical, a Western, a WWII flick, and a spy thriller. John Barry’s soundtrack for Goldfinger may be the most famous of all the Bond scores, and certainly ranks among the most iconic. This is the first point in the series where the music really grew a life of its own, featuring several motifs which continue throughout the series. The heavy focus on brass counters the more metallic sounds, sending the seductive clashing against the threat. The soundtrack was also a huge commercial success. The soundtrack for Via Las Vegas was not the success it was expected to be, it’s style going against the rise of The Beatles. However, it is one of the best in Elvis’ career and is particularly frantic and fun. Finally, Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack for A Fistful Of Dollars is one of the most evocative in history. Taking his cue largely from Tiomkin, Morricone twists the usual music of Westerns by adding all manner of whistles, chants, percussion, and sudden strings. The main theme has a memorable melody and is equally sombre and jubilant, moving between contemplative moments to galloping rhythms. Ron Goodwin’s stirring soundtrack for 633 Squadron is arguably what most people remember about the film- a rousing British battle cry. It’s difficult to choose a winner year, in a very strong year for movie soundtracks.

My Winner: A Hard Day’s Night.

Let us know in the comments which of the nominations above you feel is the deserving winner, and feel free to share any soundtracks I’ve missed!

Best Music (Scoring): 1963

This year the category was split into Best Original And Best Adaptation Scores, but I’ve bunched them together:

Official Nominations: Tom Jones. Cleopatra. 55 Days At Peking. How The West Was Won. It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. Irma La Douce. A New Kind Of Love. Bye Bye Birdie. The Sword In The Stone. Sundays And Cybele.

 

Tom Jones: A light and suitably fluffy suite of music which mimics the lighthearted antics on screen. The slower, more poignant pieces are the most enjoyable, but there isn’t any memorable theme which you’ll recall after the film is over, surprising then that this picked up the official win.

Cleopatra: Alex North gets another nomination (he totalled 15 without a win) for the epic, his soundtrack features, as you would expect, a lot of Eastern instrumentation, sweeping string sections, all giving an evocative whole. Again, the main theme isn’t overly memorable, but a variety of the single pieces are emotive without managing to stay in the memory.

55 Days At Peking: Similarly epic to Cleopatra, Dimitri Tiomkin’s score for 55 Days At Peking is more immediate and punchy, less lavish, more energetic. An odd mixture of Eastern sounds, Old Western themes, and military marches, it’s a difficult score to swallow in one piece, but rewarding nevertheless. It is again let down though by lacking a memorable theme, though ‘Moon Fire’ comes close.

How The West Was Won: Tiomkin passed duties on this one to Alfred Newman, and it is regarded as one of Newman’s best. A rousing score, another epic, this one is more grounded in classic, robust American sounds – it’s a Western soundtrack at heart – big and bold. Finally we get a memorable main theme!

It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World: Ernst Gold creates a madcap score, a main theme which has a few memorable moments. if anything it’s evocative of a massive circus, with clowns and trapeze artists flying and falling. Some of the individual character themes are strong too, with Captain Culpeper’s being particularly memorable.

Irma La Douce: Andre Previn picked up a win for his adapted score of the French musical. The central piano theme is quite nice, but the rest of the soundtrack is forgettable.

A New Kind Of Love: Erroll Garner and Leith Stevens create a jazzy, snoozy score for the romance, but it’s nothing you haven’t heard before – typical smokey bar mellow, smooth jazz.

Bye Bye Birdie: Johnny Green and Charles Strousse adapt Strousse’s stage music to the screen, giving a lighter, less raunchy tone. Notable for a number of songs, the incidental music simply mimics these and not a lot more. 

The Sword In The Stone: Hardly the most fondly remembered Disney animation from a musical perspective, The Sword In The Stone nevertheless carries some weight. Sherman’s fun songs merged with the music of Bruns make an oft-forgotten, yet still enchanting score.

Sundays And Cybele: Maurice Jarre’s score is a mostly soft one, again there isn’t anything too powerful, but it’s a subtle approach to the slightly uneasy, and hurting tragic events on screen.

My Winner: How The West Was Won. The Sword In The Stone.

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My Nominations: The Pink Panther. The Great Escape.

For my list of nominations I’ve cut way back on the chaff and only selected the two best examples of soundtrack for the year, two entries which coincidentally were shockingly omitted (or in the case of The Pink Panther held back until the next year’s Awards). Henry Mancini’s theme for The Pink Panther is one of the most iconic pieces of movie music – simply by hearing the first 2 (or 4) notes you know what it is, and where it is from. The rest of the soundtrack is equally strong, giving a cosmopolitan air of crime capers, jazzy notes, and sultry tones. Equally, Elmer Bernstein’s theme for The Great Escape is just as iconic, acting as both a rallying cry, and a two finger salute. The theme appears frequently in other movies and shows, and sports events, taking on a life of its own. The rest of the soundtrack too features stellar work, with bombastic pieces of hope, and a selection more poignant, slower pieces.

My Winner: The Great Escape.

 Disagree with my choices? Let me know in the comments and poll below!