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March 30, 2009


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Peter Nellhaus

I wasn't sure if you saw Hollywood Knights. The character played by Robert Wuhl not only insisted that there were lyrics but also sang the purported Lawrence of Arabia theme.

My favorite Jarre score is for Judex, by the way.

Glenn Kenny

Oh yes indeed, Peter. Doesn't the second "line" go "He was an English guy..."?

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We've been lucky enough to live through a golden age of movie scoring, but all the greats are going. None of today's composers seem to have the talent that Jerry Goldsmith, Basil Poledouris or Maurice Jarre had in abundance. And 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' is the only feature John Williams has scored since 2005. Sad days.

Tom Carson

I know I'm probably alone in my affection for Is Paris Burning?, but Jarre's score -- the "Paris Waltz," especially, which is about as spirited as schmaltz gets -- could melt even Rommel's heart. I once shelled out something like $70 for a Japanese CD of the soundtrack, and have never regretted it just for those two and a half minutes of hummable heaven.


And the third line is: "He came to fight the Turkish." In my defense, it was my father who loved that horrible movie. Thanks for confirming that Hollywood Knights really exists and isn't some childhood trauma that I dreamed up in therapy.


@TC - you are not alone, I read the book and loved the movie in high school. And I remember the score as indeed being awesome though I would have to hear it again.

I am glad there was some love for Ryan's Daughter, a gorgeous score. The movie is gravely flawed as drama but I completely agree with Joe that as a pure sensory experience it's the business.

And in the usual confessional tradition of my posts at Glenn's place (why is that? why do I come over here and find myself spilling secrets like my love for Murder She Wrote?) I will admit that I freaking love Lara's Theme, I don't care how bad Kael dissed it or how many times it pops up in the movie. Now that one really did have lyrics, I think my mother used to have Jerry Vale singing it. "Somewhere my love, there will be songs to sing, although the snow, covers the signs of spring..."

May M. Jarre rest in peace. We shall not hear his like again.



There's SOME hope. James Newton Howard shows occasional flashes of brilliance. "The Dark Knight" features two themes that are a grand total of, what, three notes? Batman is denoted with just two notes of brass, while the Joker has just one note drawn out to an atonal keening. Ballsy, especially for the film it was attached to.

Michael Giacchino does great work, although some of his best is to some degree mimicry (Barry on "The Incredibles", Ikufube on "Cloverfield").

Also, Clint Mansell, who doesn't work nearly often enough, does some great work, even if he's just a music supervisor. Check out what he did with "Sahara", which is a passable adventure movie but features Mansell mixing Dixie rock and world music quite skillfully.

The composer I miss the most, for the record, is John Barry. Even when his scores didn't fit ("Howard the Duck", "The Black Hole", come to think of it, why was the man ever allowed near a science fiction film?), they were great. And, yes, I know he's not dead. I just miss his scoring, especially when I see a Bond film (and have to wince through the opening song).


I agree with T.C. about Jarre's score for "Is Paris Burning?" (a film in desperate need of reevaluation, btw). The use of "The Paris Waltz" during the color finale is the stuff of goosebumps. Nevertheless, my all-time favorite Jarre score (not mentioned here, surprisingly) is the one he wrote for William Wyler's "The Collector." Hands-down.

J. Porath

John Williams, John Barry and Lalo Schifrin are basically alone now from that grand silver age of film music...Goldsmith, Bernstein, Raskin, Kamen, Walker, Poledouris- it's been a tough decade for lovers of film music.

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I agree, I was being overly morose in my original post. James Newton Howard is a good choice, I love his scores for Wyatt Earp and Waterworld, and, as you pointed out, his score for The Dark Knight was interesting and brave. The Village was a nice little score too.

And, like you, I miss John Barry. His scores for The Lion in Winter, Dances With Wolves and Barry's final Bond score The Living Daylights are on constant rotation on my CD player. The Living Daylights is a tremendous score, and probably the reason that no Bond film since has actually felt like a Bond film. Barry was the heart and soul of Bond.


I'm not sure why I even remember this, but I believe the character who sang "Lawrence of Arabia" in The Hollywood Knights was actually one of the cops (Gailard Sartain, I think), not Wuhl's Newbomb Turk.

Wuhl did, however, fart the melody of "Volare." So there's that.

More importantly, RIP Maurice Jarre.

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