Friday Night Music, February 4, 2011: Movie Music I Have Loved
This week, John Barry died at the age of 77. John Barry composed eleven film soundtracks for Agent 007, James Bond, especially the by-now iconic theme music that always introduces the secret agent to the audience. He was also noted for composing the soundtracks to Born Free, The Lion in Winter, Midnight Cowboy, and for Dances with Wolves. The above, from The Lion in Winter, is not so well known, but I’ve loved it. Two gargantuan egos belonging to a king and a queen who were fighting each other and their grown children over half of France and all of England, inheritance, and even over relationships. And then you find out at the end that it may have all been for their own amusement or to sharpen their claws.
To me, some movie (and some television) scores, soundtracks and themes have become as esteemed as classical music. And why not? They evoke nearly the same feelings when we saw the movies for which they were made. Some, like this one above, make me think about how I was and where I was when I saw this film. I was a little black girl, like Mary Badham. And I had never played with a white girl until I came to California.
The first film soundtrack that I ever purchased was Friends, an early effort by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. You can only get it on vinyl these days, and I never saw the movie, which was one of those early Seventies films put out for the counterculture. But I liked it anyway, especially “The Honey Roll.”
And I have never yet seen the film, That’s The Way of the World, which was the title of a great Earth, Wind & Fire album, and featured songs from that film. This was a film that teamed the young group with a then little known actor, Harvey Keitel, but it never had wide release at the time. But I liked the themes from Romeo and Juliet, The Pink Panther, Walk on the Wild Side, Never on Sunday, The Third Man, way before I started to purchase them myself. Note, there was a Walk on the Wild Side way before Lou Reed used the term.
Well, here are some compositions that I have liked for some time. And here’s to other composers who have gone to greatness, like John Barry: Henry Mancini. Nino Rota. Isaac Hayes. Charlie Chaplin. Anthony Newley. Bernard Herrmann. Elmer Bernstein. André Previn. Dudley Moore.
So what are your favorites? Let me know.