Thursday, January 23, 2020
Thursday Movie Picks: Unforgettable Film Scores
In the fourth week of 2020 for Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. We delve into the subject of unforgettable film scores suggested by Brittani of Rambling Films. Anyone who watches films can remember music moments that stick out from a film score as they all play an important part in film. My three picks are based on three groundbreaking electronic-based scores that stood out to me as they’re all three films from the 1970s:
1. Walter (Wendy) Carlos-A Clockwork Orange
While the soundtrack largely features classical music pieces by Beethoven, Gioachino Rossini, and Edward Elgar, it is Wendy Carlos’ score that added a sci-fi tone to the music. Its early usage of synthesizers including in some of the music including into some of the classical pieces as there is something offbeat into what Carlos does. Yet, it fits with what Stanley Kubrick wanted for the film as it played into this study of human nature as a young man whose love of sex, violence, and Beethoven suddenly turns against him through an experiment that eventually went bad. The score is quite ahead of its time as it showcases what can be done with electronic music.
2. Eduard Artemyev-Solaris
Another composer that put a unique spin on classical pieces, Eduard Artemyev’s score for Andrei Tarkovsky’s sci-fi feature not just some original pieces but also some eerie takes on some of the classical pieces that Artemyev has interpreted. Most notably Johann Sebastian Bach’s Ich ruf zu Dir, Herr Jesus Christ (BWV 639) as the film’s theme with its usage of organs and swooning synthesizers as it plays into the film’s sense of loss and uncertainty that its protagonist Kris Kelvin embarks on. Artmeyev’s score adds a mood to the film in terms of its intrigue that is this nearby planet that Kelvin, other cosmonauts, and the ghostly figure of his late wife Hari encounter. It’s not an easy film to watch due to its slow pacing and lack of plot but it is truly one of the finest films ever made as Artmeyev’s score definitely adds to its legend.
3. John Carpenter-Assault on Precinct 13
Before he ventured into the world of horror and become one of the genre’s masters, John Carpenter’s second film is this eerie crime thriller about a gang wreaking havoc outside a police station with people trapped as they’re trying to survive the standoff. What makes the film such a joy is Carpenter’s own score which sounds so ahead of its time in its tone and presentation. Its usage of bass and drum machines as well as the layers of synthesizers just give the film that menacing tone as it is proof of what kind of master Carpenter is as well as the groundwork he would lay for other composers in the years to come.
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