___________________________________ The background music on a film can make or break the audience experience. Imagine the shower scene in Psycho without the shrieking violins or Jaws without the ominous notes thatportend the shark’s attack! Musical accompaniment helps create atmosphere for the viewer, from subtle undertones to compositions that heighten the drama.
In 100 Greatest Film Scores, authors Matt Lawson and Laurence E. MacDonald consider the finest music produced for cinema since the development of motion picture sound. Each entry includes background details about the film, biographical information about the composer, a concise analysis of the score, and a summary of the score’s impact both within the film and on cinematic history. Among the many films cited here are iconic scores for The Adventures of Robin Hood, A Beautiful Mind,The Big Country, Chariots of Fire, Citizen Kane, Edward Scissorhands, Fargo, Gonewith the Wind, The Great Escape, Jurassic Park, King Kong, Lawrence of Arabia, The Lion in Winter, North by Northwest, On the Waterfront, Out of Africa, The Pink Panther, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Vertigo, and Up.
Arranged alphabetically and featuring a photo of each movies, the entries in this volume give the reader insight into how music functions across a wide spectrum of film genres. Representing some of the greatest composers in the history of cinema including Elmer Bernstein, Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman, John Williams, and Hans Zimmer, 100 Greatest Film Scores will be of interest to fans of movie music everywhere.
The writing is authoritative and shows extensive knowledge of each film score. Lists of “top” anything—whether films, albums, or restaurants—are subjective, so personal satisfaction may vary, but the authors present an admirable mix of styles and film eras that should please most readers.
This new volume recognizes 100 important film scores based on musical quality, impact on the moviegoing experience, and importance to the history of film. Diverse eras are nicely covered with such classics as Casablanca and Psycho, as well as more contemporary films like Interstellar and Gladiator. Each entry features the film’s release year, historical details, listing of cast members, and a brief plot summary. From there, the authors go into great detail about the score’s themes, moods, and how the music enhances the film, offering musical descriptions from specific scenes to illustrate their points. Also included is information about award nominations or wins, a listing of notable recordings, and a short bibliography for more information. The writing is authoritative and shows extensive knowledge of each film score. Lists of “top” anything—whether films, albums, or restaurants—are subjective, so personal satisfaction may vary, but the authors present an admirable mix of styles and film eras that should please most readers. For good measure, they include a glossary, brief composer biographies, and a list of the “next” 100 for readers to explore on their own.
“100 Greatest Film Scores” is a great starting point for those interested in film music. . . Whether you’re a film score connoisseur or simply have a casual interest in film music, “100 Greatest Film Scores” is the book for you. Highly recommended. (DVD Corner)
Determining the top 100 film scores from 1931 to 2014 is not an easy task, and yet Lawson and MacDonald undertook just that, using as their chief criterion scores that were “especially significant.” The task was so daunting that the authors included an appendix containing an additional 100 scores for consideration. Films included in both the main list and the appendix must be narrative rather than non-narrative; they could not be documentaries or musicals. They should be, as the authors write in the introduction, “films in which music is generally unseen, but still an integral part of each film.” The authors arranged the book in alphabetical order but did not assign a ranking to any of the films listed, either in the main list or the appendix. Entries include a short synopsis, details about the music, analysis and discussion of the use of thematic material, any public recognition received, recommended recordings, and any bibliographic sources consulted. A glossary of film and music terms is also included as an appendix. (CHOICE)