help, please: movies with no music

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Richard--W, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Lately I've been thinking there's too much wall-to-wall music in films. And too much overwrought music. I can think of at least three films that gain more impact by having no music score at all:

    1. The Tall Target (1951) directed by Anthony Mann.

    2. The Narrow Margin (1962) directed Richard Fleischer.

    3. The Birds (1961) directed by Mr. Hitchcock.

    Although there is some practical music within the scenes, such as the marching band on the station platform in The Tall Target and the nursey rhyme sung by school children in The Byrds, these are brief moments. There is no soundtrack music to underscore the films, nor do we, as audiences, miss it. In fact most people watch The Birds repeatedly without realizing there's no music.

    Who can name other films to add to the above list?

    I know there's more, but I can't think of them at the moment.

    Movies with no soundtrack music.
     
  2. Abe D

    Abe D Agent

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  3. DavidPla

    DavidPla Cinematographer

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    This might be cheating but "Cast Away" has no score UNTIL the end when Tom Hanks leaves the island.

    I like it when it works (ie. The Birds) but to me, a good score can make 50% of the film and even save it sometimes.
     
  4. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Can you give an example of a film that's saved by its score?

    Movies are a visual medium, and should tell stories visually. I'm sure we agree on that. But any film that needs to be saved by a score can't be a good film to start with. I find that mediocre talents rely on scores to telegraph a story that isn't being told visually, whereas a Hitchcock film is so acutely visual it doesn't need a score to tell a story; the score is just punctuation.

    On the other hand, The Birds uses some cooing and a lot of flapping wings as if it were music. The Tall Target (a vastly under-rated noir masterpiece) and The Narrow Margin use the natural sound of trains as if it were music. The realism and urgency of these stories would be dulled by artificial music.

    I know there are other significant films that have no score, but I can't think of them off-hand.
     
  5. DavidPla

    DavidPla Cinematographer

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    I agree that the film should be good without the score to begin with and the score should be the icing on the cake. But I think that if that icing is good it can make the cake taste 10 times better than without it. Which is why a good score can make an already good film... an amazing film. Make it that 50% better. It becomes a character on its own when done right.

    Hitchcock used the great Bernard Herrmann for many of his films who's scores are as famous as the movies themselves. Imagine the shower scene WITHOUT the Herrmann music. A fine scene on its own but I doubt it would have the same impact it had without it. I think Goerge Lucas mentioned that he was disappointed with everything on "Star Wars" when he was done with it yet when it was finally scored, everything worked. The music in a way brought everything together.
     
  6. MikeEn

    MikeEn Stunt Coordinator

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    Fail-Safe
     
  7. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    With the exception of the opening credits which has a classical piece playing, the original Dracula (1931) has no soundtrack. To see how it CAN hurt a film, check out the "new" soundtrack on the Legacy Series version (IIRC it's by the Kronos Quartet).
     
  8. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Gladiator (2000).

    --
    H
     
  9. DavidPla

    DavidPla Cinematographer

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    Booooooo!

    On that note, "The Village" on a film saved by its score.
     
  10. Lee Smith

    Lee Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    Except for music during the opening credits, "The China Syndrome" has no music.
     
  11. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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    Hitchcock was actually planning to have the shower scene without sound, but Herrmann was convinced he was wrong. Once Hitchcock saw the scored scene, he agreed with Herrmann that the impact of the scene was significantly heightened by the music.
     
  12. John Doran

    John Doran Screenwriter

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    if i remember correctly, Jerry (matt damon and casey affleck), had no music.
     
  13. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Dog Day Afternoon has no score; the opening song turns out to be diegetic when we're introduced to the main character.
     
  14. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Exorcist? I can't remember from watching the movie itself (it was a while ago), but recall reading a review or commentary that part of its effectiveness was its true-to-life portrayal, including no soundtrack since there's none in real life (unless you've been smoking, drinking or shooting something...)
     
  15. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    No, The Exorcist most definitely had a score, even if it is a very simple one. It is one of the most memorable in cinema and creeps me out to this day.
     
  16. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Exorcist certainly had a theme, a.k.a. Tubular Bells, which I agree worked very well oddly enough in generating a feeling of dread, but did it actually ever play during the movie itself, i.e. not over opening or closing credits?

    Perhaps the commentary I read was about the final exorcism scene being without background music. I don't have a copy of Exorcist so I can't check myself -- any fans of the movie out there?
     
  17. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    The same is true for a lot of movies back in that period...
     
  18. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Google search for "define: diegetic"

    sound - sound that other characters would be able to hear. A song on a radio, for instance, as a character drives down the highway, would be a diegetic sound, as would someone coughing audibly during a scene. It is important to note that diegetic sound is a sound that characters could hear, even if they are not present when that sound occurs. The sound of a radio playing in an apartment, for instance, is a diegetic sound, even if no character is present in the apartment during the scene.

    I first learned the term in a music in film class.
     
  19. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    I can't remember the term now -- might be "source music" -- which is applied to music that characters in the movie would also hear; I came across the concept when they described the Cantina band's music in the Star Wars soundtrack -- the band's music would've been 'heard by', for instance, Han Solo and Chewie sitting in the cantina, whilst at the same time serving as the movie soundtrack that we the audience heard in that scene. Similar to music apparently playing on a stereo/radio in a scene in the movie.
     
  20. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Never mind. [​IMG]
     

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