That was the comment of Ned Tanen, production head at Universal, when we showed him the first cut of Somewhere in Time. A few weeks later, we showed him the film again, this time shortened but also including John Barry’s brilliant score. Ned’s new (and very positive) response to the film reminded me of Mark Twain’s quote about his father: “When I was 16, I thought my father was a complete idiot. By the time I turned 21, I was amazed at how much the old man had learned in those 5 years.”
When you take a look at the Academy Award nominations for film scores over the years, it’s amazing how many films you can identify that would have been completely different if not for their scores. To cite just a few examples:
The scores for both Dr. Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia thrilled us and then Raiders of The Lost Ark and Star Wars redefined film score adventures forever.
With all due respect for the fabulous score for Chariots of Fire, the score of the original Rocky may still be the most stirring sports movie score ever written. Would that statue of Rocky Balboa on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum even be there today without the music that we still remember as Rocky triumphantly ascended those steps?
Can anyone imagine The Godfather, great as the film itself most assuredly was, without its signature score?
In comedy, the score of The Pink Panther immediately comes to mind as perfectly reflecting the ultra cool, animated Pink Panther of the opening and closing credits.
On the other side of the coin, what do you do when a score just doesn’t work? I had that experience as well with Ennio Morricone’s score for What Dreams May Come. As brilliant a composer as Mr. Morricone was, his music for What Dreams May Come just didn’t work for any of us so, at almost the last possible moment, we asked Michael Kamen to write a completely new score for us. Which he did. And brilliantly.
What are your favorite movie scores?