Category — soundtracks

SCORE! The 150 greatest OST’s – pt. 10 (of 15)

60.) Mishima (1985) Philip Glass

Paul Schrader, the writer of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and countless other classics directs this biographical film about Japanese author and mega-personality Yukio Mishima. The Philip Glass score is hypnotic and ethereal, as is his score for Errol Morris’ The Thin Blue Line, which might have gotten the nod were it not packed with dialogue. Also recommended by Glass is Music from Candyman, as well as the KoyaanisqatsiPowaqqatsiNaqoyqatsi scores. Check out track 12, “The Last Day”:

and track 14, “Mishima: Closing”:

59.) The ‘Burbs (1989) – Jerry Goldsmith

Joe Dante directs this underrated black comedy starring Tom Hanks, which takes place in a prototypical American suburb, where strange new neighbors, the Klopeks, stir up suspicion among the residents. Jerry Goldsmith is one of the most pedigreed of composers, responsible for the score of Papillon, Planet of the Apes, Chinatown, Gremlins, Rambo and Poltergeist. His score for The ‘Burbs is inventive, dark, and full of bells, violins, gunfire and quacking ducks- and seems to have been a profound influence on Danny Elfman. Here’s the main title, “Night Work”:

and track 6, the gunfire-filled “Let’s Go”:

and track 15, “The Note”:

58.) An Elephant Called Slowly (1969) – Howard Blake

James Hill directs this film about a 5 year old elephant called Poly-Poly (or Slowly-Slowly) who lives out in the African wilderness, and the foreign couple he adopts – in this sequel to Born Free. Howard Blake, who also composed the orchestral score for Flash Gordon, supplies the funky music filled with bass clarinets. Here’s track 1, “An Elephant Called Slowly”:

and track 3, “Mr. Mopoji – Wild Dogs”:

57.) After the Fox (1966) – Burt Bacharach

This Vittorio De Sica directed film scripted by Neil Simon stars the amazing Peter Sellers as The Fox, top criminal mind and master of disguise, who escapes from prison and immediately plans his next job, pretending to be a famous director on the set of his new movie in order to smuggle gold into the country. This score comes courtesy of the great Burt Bacharach, composer of the songs “Close to You” and “What the World Needs Now,” who also composed the scores of What’s New Pussycat?, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and the original Casino Royale. Check out the always entertaining Peter Sellers collaborating with The Hollies on the title song, “After the Fox”:

and track 6, the swanky “Italian Fuzz”:

and track 15, “The Via Veneto”:

56.) Yojimbo (1961) – Masaru Satô

Akira Kurosawa borrowed the themes and plots of Dashiell Hammet’s Red Harvest and created the masterpiece that is Yojimbo, the tale of a wandering samurai who arrives in a town ravaged by two competing gangsters and plays one side against the other, a narrative later re-recycled to become Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars. And where Leone had Morricone, Kurosawa had Satô, who also scored The Hidden Fortress, Throne of Blood, as well as Hideo Gosha‘s The Wolves, Kihachi Okamoto‘s Sword of Doom, and several Godzilla films. His work on Yojimbo‘s score features rhythmically intriguing melodies like the following main title:

and track 3, “White Horse Lodge”:

as well as track 23. “Women”:

and track 45, “Strange Basket Dealer”:

55.) Q the Winged Serpent (1982) – Robert O. Ragland

Larry Cohen is king of the B’s, the man responsible for The Stuff, God Told Me To, and Hell Up in Harlem. In this well crafted low budget monster movie, a giant flying lizard – the mythical Quetzalcoatl terrorizes New York, and only an out-of-work, ex-con piano player (played by Michael Moriarty) knows the location of the monster’s nest- and he ain’t telling. Ragland’s score is full of theremins, bass clarinets, and all the other goodies you’d expect from a good ol’ fashioned monster movie. Check out the main title:

and track 16, “Ritual In The Warehouse”:

54.) Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders (1970) Luboš Fišer

Jaromil Jires directs this surreal Czech coming of age film which feels like an elaborate dream filled with vampires, priests, underage girls in silk pajamas, magic earrings and burnings at the stake and has something to do with menstruation. Whatever it’s about, it’s highly recommended, in large part because of the music, which is enchanting, ethereal, and full of angelic voices and eerie melodies. Here’s track 5, “Losing the Way”:

and track 9, “Dense Smoke”:

and track 12, “Disquiet”:

53.) Il Postino (1994) – Luis Enríquez Bacalov

Michael Radford‘s commercial and critical hit tells the tale of an uneducated postman hired to hand-deliver the mail of exiled poet Pablo Neruda, the famous Chilean poet, who learns something about love and the power of poetry along the way. The soundtrack by Luis Bacalov will teach you something about love and poetry as well, filled with warm strings, a forlorn accordion, and a chorus of clarinets. Here’s track 2, “In Bicicletta”:

and track 11, “Milogna Del Poeta”:

52.) Evil Dead (1981) – Joseph LoDuca

The movie that launched Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell’s careers tells the tale of 5 friends, a cabin in the woods, a book of the dead known as the Necronomicon, and an unspeakable evil determined to claim the souls of all. It also features a memorable score by LoDuca, who would go on to score Raimi’s proto-remake/quasi-sequel, Evil Dead 2, as well as TV syndicated powerhouses Xena and Hercules. In Evil Dead he employs staccato plucking of strings, electronic swells, and weeping violins to create a palpable sense of dread. Here’s track 1, “Introduction”:

and track 4, the pluck-heavy “Rape of the Vines”:

and track 6, “Automatic Writing”:

51.) Mirrormask (2005) – Iain Ballamy

Writer Neil Gaiman and Graphic Artist-turned-Director Dave McKean – frequent collaborators on the Sandman comic book series – collaborate on this fantasy about a girl named Helena with a bed-ridden mother who falls through the looking glass into a strange world filled with bizarre creatures and masked inhabitants, where the white queen has fallen ill and can only be saved by the MirrorMask. The music is fractured, haunting, and yet beautiful, mirroring (sorry) the imagery. Here’s track 3, “Spanish Web”:

and track 24, an eerie rendition of Burt Bacharach’s “Close to You”:

and track 25, “A New Life”:

and track 27, “Butterfingers”:

Click to see part 1 (OST’s #141-150) , part 2 (131-140),  part 3 (121-130), part 4 (111-120), part 5 (101-110), part 6 (91-100), part 7 (81-90), part 8 (71-80), part 9 (61-70), part 11 (41-50), part 12 (31-40), part 13 (21-30), part 14 (11-20) and part 15 (1-10)

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October 25, 2010   No Comments

SCORE! The 150 greatest OST’s – pt. 9 (of 15)

70.) Vortex (1982) Beth B & Scott B

Composers Beth B & Scott B also direct this 16-mm film-noir starring subculture mainstay Lydia Lunch as a detective investigating the murder of a corrupt politician. Like the films of George and Mike Kuchar from the early and mid-70′s, it’s probably more ambitious than its budget, and filled with eccentric characters – like a midget bartender who doubles as a hit man. The soundtrack is typical for a movie camped in the independent, anti-commercial New York No Wave scene, which like the film revels in its punk DIY sensibilities. Here’s track 2, “Tony and Powers”:

and track 3, “Once in a Lifetime”:

and track 9, “Black Box Disco”:

69.) Mitte Ende August (2009) – Vic Chesnutt

Sebastian Schipper loosely based this film on Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s novel, Elective Affinities, published in 1809. The tale of two men and two women who form a love quadrangle in an isolated house in the countryside is a meditation on love, life, trust and depression. Atmospheric by the sound of it, with the soundtrack emotionally resonant by itself. Here’s track 1, the amazing “Come into my World”:

and track 3, “Working on House”:

68.) Kill! [Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!] (1971) – Berto Pisano & Jacques Chaumont

Writer-Director Romain Gary shot himself exactly one year after the suicide of his wife, Breathless star Jean Seberg. But a decade earlier they made this movie together, which stars James Mason as an ex-Interpol agent turned assassin who tries to wipe out porn merchants and drug dealers in Pakistan. The soundtrack by Berto Pisano is excellent. Here’s track 1, “Kill Them All”:

and track 5, “Inchiesta”:

and track 6, “Khanpur”:

67.) Holy Lola (2004)Henri Texier

Bertrand Tavernier directs this emotionally wrenching hand-held-heavy feature about a French couple trying to adopt an orphaned Cambodian baby who find themselves having to bribe officials, fill out endless paperwork, and deal with unimaginable corruption in their quest to provide love to a needy child. Henri Texier is an incredible bassist (check out his album, Varech) and he fills this film’s soundtrack with poignant and soulful music. Here’s track 7, “Voyage a Kep”:

and track 16, “Pagode”:

and track 19, “Clinique Sim Duong”:

66.) Stone Killer (1973) – Roy Budd

Superstar Charles Bronson and Director Michael Winner also collaborated on The Mechanic and Death Wish, so you know what to expect from this tale of a detective who uncovers a plot by a Sicilian mafioso to use Vietnam veterans to murder his enemies. What’s unexpected is the soundtrack, by the man who gave us the incredible Get Carter score, which is full of funky hip-hop DJ samples. Here’s the main title:

and track 9, “Black is Beautiful”:

65.) Oscar and Lucinda (1997) – Thomas Newman

Gillian Armstrong directs this adaptation of Australian author Peter Carey’s novel about two 1800-era misfits: Oscar, a young Anglican priest and Lucinda, a teenage Australian heiress. Both are avid gamblers, and when Lucinda bets Oscar her entire inheritance that he cannot transport a glass church to the Australian Outback, we have ourselves a story that is part Fitzcarraldo and part Don Quixote, and set to the dreamlike music of Thomas Newman, who also composed the American Beauty soundtrack, and is brother of Heathers composer David Newman, son of The Robe composer Alfred Newman, and cousin of James and the Giant Peach composer Randy Newman. Here is track 14, “Cards and Dogs”:

and track 28, the end title:

64.) A Walk with Love and Death (1969) Georges Delerue

John Huston directs his 18 yr. old daughter Anjelica opposite Assaf Dyan in this fable set in France of the middle-ages, where Religion rules, the Hundred Years’ War rages, and a walk to Paris is an almost Sisyphean journey. Georges Delerue’s baroque soundtrack, filled with harpsichords, provides the beautiful backdrop. Here’s track 3, “Heron’s Journey – Theme And Variations 3″:

and track 10, “Asleep under the Stars”:

63.) Hero (2002) – Tan Dun

Zhang Yimou directs this glossy wire-fu martial arts epic starring superstars Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi and Donnie Yen in a tale of assassination attempts and swordsmen which borrows the trope at the heart of Rashomon in this wuxia that attempts to cash in on the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon formula concocted by Ang Lee. The good news is that this means the return of composer Tan Dun, who outdoes himself, providing a beautiful score full of the wonderful sounds of Pipa. Here is track 1, “The Hero Overture”:

and track 2, “For the World”:

62.) The Ninth Gate (1999) – Wojciech Kilar

You thought Archaeologists were the nerdiest heroes to get involved in derring-do? Well Roman Polanski takes it one step nerdier, directing Johnny Depp as a rare book dealer appointed to investigate the authenticity of a book which may have been penned by Satan himself! Emmanuelle Seigner, Lena Olin, and Frank Langella co-star in this film based upon the novel The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, with the man who gave us the score to Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula providing the quirky, creepy music. Here’s track 3, “Corso”:

and track 9, “Blood on his Face”:

61.) O Lucky Man! (1973) – Alan Price

Lindsay Anderson directs Malcolm McDowell in this sprawling surrealist masterpiece which skewers capitalism as it recounts the adventures of a naive and good-natured coffee salesman in 1970′s Britain, who comes across scoundrels, con-artists, crooked authority figures, victims and sages, all products of the corrupt times. This pitch-black, must-see cult classic is set to Alan Price’s must-hear soundtrack. Here’s the title song:

and track 2, “Poor People”:

and track 3, “Sell Sell”:

Click to see part 1 (OST’s #141-150) , part 2 (131-140),  part 3 (121-130), part 4 (111-120), part 5 (101-110), part 6 (91-100), part 7 (81-90), part 8 (71-80), part 10 (51-60), part 11 (41-50), part 12 (31-40), part 13 (21-30), part 14 (11-20) and part 15 (1-10)

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October 18, 2010   No Comments

SCORE! The 150 greatest OST’s – pt. 8 (of 15)

80.) Gothic (1986) – Thomas Dolby

Ken Russell directs the fictionalized account of the much-ballyhooed night that Mary Shelley gave birth to the horror classic Frankenstein at Lord Byron’s manor. Ghost stories, personal horrors, fantasies and drug-induced nightmares come to life as sweet Mary is tempted by the sexual appetites of her lover Shelley and cousin Claire, while holding sway over all the evil Lord Byron toys with his guest’s souls. Starring Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands, and Natasha Richardson in her feature film debut as Mary Shelley, with a soundtrack by 80′s electronics whiz Thomas Dolby. Here’s track 5, “Party Games”:

and track 6, “Gypsy Girl”:

79.) Sin Nombre (2009) – Marcelo Zarvos

Written and directed by Cary Fukunaga, this film tells the stories of those seeking a better life for themselves on the trains bound for the US, as their hopes and dreams clash with the realities involved in smuggling them in. The soundtrack is somber and beautiful, full of pulsing accordion, probing guitar, and mournful strings. Here’s track 1, “The Journey”:

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