CINEMA SOUNDS, Cinema Salem
"If I weren't a director, I would want to be a film composer."
Most films have music. Some films could not be what they are without their music. Film music can be great music. What’s more, it can elevate a potentially ordinary film to greatness. But audiences often don't really notice it.
Cinema Sounds presents a series of films that succeed in large part through their music. Richard Guérin, who has produced many recordings of great film music, will join us for prescreening examinations of the art and craft of film scoring, as we feature some of the greatest musical scores in the history of cinema. Richard has worked for many years with award-winning composers of film music such as Philip Glass (Candyman, The Truman Show, The Hours) and Elliot Goldenthal (Batman Forever, Interview with a Vampire, Alien 3).
Join us for these cinematic and musical adventures.
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Previous Cinema Sounds Programs
MEN IN BLACK
THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 2022
Music by Danny Elfman
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Danny Elfman has been one of the most prolific and acclaimed film composers in the business for several decades. He broke through as a big-time Hollywood composer through a longtime collaboration with director Tim Burton on films such as BATMAN, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and MARS ATTACKS. And he's done plenty of good work with other directors as well. MEN IN BLACK (1998) is just one example. It was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Original Musical or Comedy Score category. The same year his score for GOOD WILL HUNTING was nominated for Best Original Dramatic Score. However, Elfman believes he'll be best remembered for writing the theme for the TV series The Simpsons, which he composed in a day.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
THURSDAY, JANUARY 13, 2022
Music by Alan Silvestri
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
When Robert Zemeckis asked Alan Silvestri to start working on a score for BACK TO THE FUTURE, producer Steven Spielberg wasn't keen on hiring him. The composer hadn't established much of a track record, and it was mostly in TV. Not until Zemeckis surreptitiously slipped some of Silvestri's score into the temp track (temporary music used in editing the film) did Spielberg agree. The rest is history. This score is universally admired and cited by many as one of the greatest ever.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2021
Music by Don Davis
Directed by The Wachowskis
Don Davis has been writing music for television and film since the late 1970s, amassing a long list of credits. But it was THE MATRIX really put him on the map. The score is monumental, widely regarded as one of the greatest in recent memory. Combining orchestral, choral and synthesizer elements, it features a compendium of 20th century compositional techniques corralled into a distinctive individual compositional voice. The result is a seminal score that goes deeper than The Matrix itself.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2021
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Directed by Robert Mulligan
During his 54-year career, Elmer Bernstein (no relation to Leonard) wrote some of the best known and wide-ranging music in film history. His 150-plus scores include everything from THE TEN COMMANDMENTS to THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (immortalized by the Marlboro man) to ANIMAL HOUSE and GHOSTBUSTERS.
In TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962), one of his most highly acclaimed scores and a personal favorite, he wanted the music to carry the emotions of the child narrating the story. Music, Bernstein said "can express what [the story’s characters] are not willing to express, or are unable to express."
Film composer James Newton Howard said, "Somehow, he has always been able to achieve gigantic effect with the most gentle and graceful gestures. Never has that been put to better use than in his incomparable score to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.'”
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2021
Music by Bernard Herrmann
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
October demands horror. Fortunately, this quintessential thriller, arguably the first slasher movie ever made, has one of the great film scores by another surefire GOAT contender. It is generally acknowledged that PSYCHO owes much of its greatness to Herrmann's score.
A 2010 Wall Street Journal article stated that “Bernard Herrmann did more than just enhance 'Psycho' with his music; he probably saved it.”
Hitchcock himself said, "Thirty-three percent of the effect of 'Psycho' was due to the music.”
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2021
Music by John Williams
Directed by Steven Spielberg
If there were a GOAT (greatest of all time) award for film composers, Williams would surely be on everyone's contender list. Williams has named this score as one of his own favorites. As seems fitting. Among other feats of cinema scoring, this film's music represents an intergalactic conversation between the human race and alien visitors. It rises to the occasion.
The film itself is great and deserves its score. Had CLOSE ENCOUNTERS not been released the same year as STAR WARS, it probably would have been the sci-fi movie of the year. Williams famously composed scores for both films, and Spielberg engaged him for CLOSE ENCOUNTERS while he was still working with George Lucas on STAR WARS. (And he lived to tell the tale.)