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Film composer Elmer Bernstein passes away


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#1 of 22 Kristian

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Posted August 18 2004 - 03:52 PM

The Hollywood Reporter:

Quote:
Elmer Bernstein, whose eclectic film music ranged from the rousing theme of "The Magnificent Seven" to the lighthearted score for "Thoroughly Modern Millie," for which he won an Oscar, died Wednesday afternoon at his home in Ojai, Calif. He was 82.

The composer died after a lengthy illness -- the exact cause of death has not been determined -- with his wife, Eve, and his two daughters, Elizabeth and Emilie, by his side, a spokesperson said.

Another sad loss to the world of film scores, so soon after Jerry Goldsmith's passing. His final film score was the lovely Far From Heaven, a great homage to the drama scores of the 1950s. May he rest in peace. Posted Image

For those unfamiliar with his work, here is a detailed filmography:

http://www.soundtrac...database/?id=15
Film Lists: 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | Pre-2006 | 2009
CollectionsMusic

#2 of 22 Dick

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Posted August 18 2004 - 04:13 PM

I was about to start a thread about this until I found yours, Kristian. I am saddened by this - seems like the whole second generation of great film composers is dying off... Who's next? John Barry? Ennio Morricone? Still, we can thank these gentleman (albeit posthumously) for the countless hours of pleasure they have given us with their work. Goldsmith and Bernstein are two of my heros.

#3 of 22 Kevin M

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Posted August 18 2004 - 04:20 PM

Damn...I remember reading an interview with him years ago in Starlog where, while talking about his score for I believe The Black Caldron, he mentioned James Horner as the next wave of composers he liked and how important it was to give young composers a chance as "old farts like Me & Jerry Goldsmith won't be around forever".....rest in peace gentlemen.
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#4 of 22 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted August 18 2004 - 04:44 PM

Posted Image

I posted this in the After Hours thread:
"Fuck. One of the last of the really greats is gone. He was still so active, too; he did Far From Heaven just two years ago.

I don't share the general enthusiasm for To Kill A Mockingbird (the book's much better), but I'll be the first to admit that is one of the most fantastic film scores in history. And ask someone about musical themes for Westerns, I can almost garantee that it'll be the Magnificent Seven theme that'll be zipping through their head. The Ten Commandments, Hud, The Great Escape, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Animal House, Airplane!, American Werewolf in London, Ghostbusters, The Black Cauldron, The Color of Money, My Left Foot, The Age of Innocence, Canadian Bacon, The Deep End of the Ocean, and Rat Race; more than perhaps any other composer, Bernstein crossed all eras and genres with his work. From the epic to the initimate, from the intelligent to the low-brow, he tackled everything.

Truly a great that won't possibly receive the coverage he deserves.

Too many of the greats are passing; where is the new generation to take up their mantle?"

#5 of 22 Ernest Rister

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Posted August 18 2004 - 05:50 PM

The score for The Black Cauldron was probably the best thing about it. It was the first Bernstein score I ever bought...when I was 15 years old, on LP. Later owned the Varese Sarabande Cauldron CD score. I loved his work, and heaven is going to be thrilling to some great music tonight.

where is the new generation to take up their mantle?

We've lost Michael Kamen, Jerry Goldsmith and Elmer Bernstein in, what? Less than 12 months?

John Williams is 72 years old, by the by. Imagine what a blow that will be when he finally leaves us.

#6 of 22 GeorgePaul

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Posted August 18 2004 - 06:06 PM

Especially if it happens in the next eight months, Ernest.

Dammit all...Bernstein was the true gentleman of great film score composers. His Trading Places score always stood out the most to me as a wonderful classical pastiche that still allowed the original music to keep its dignity. Small wonder, since he was a student of that great weaver of Americana, Aaron Copland.

Forget Marlon Brando--two of the real giants of Hollywood film have left us this month. Rest in peace, gentlemen: you have more than earned it.

I'm going to go cry now.Posted Image

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#7 of 22 Peter Apruzzese

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Posted August 18 2004 - 06:16 PM

RIP, Maestro Bernstein.

Goldsmith gone, Bernstein gone, Raksin gone - somebody, somewhere, suddenly decided that they needed three greats to create new music for them. And with Herrmann, Rozsa, Newman, Korngold, Steiner, Waxman - among other golden-age composers - already there, it has got to be a glorious sound.
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#8 of 22 John Kilduff

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Posted August 18 2004 - 08:03 PM

I love the score to "Trading Places". The classical music Bernstein adapted for the movie fit so well.

While we're on the topic of composers who are getting on up there, Giorgio Moroder is 64 years old this year. I hope he doesn't die...He's one of my favorite film composers.

Sincerely,

John Kilduff...

Well, Moroder has outlived Michael Kamen.
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#9 of 22 Lynda-Marie

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Posted August 18 2004 - 08:23 PM

Forget Marlon Brando--two of the real giants of Hollywood film have left us this month. Rest in peace, gentlemen: you have more than earned it.


Boy, you said it, George Paul!

When I was very small, I would watch lots of WWII movies, thanks to my dad's interest in the era. The first real piece of music that ever stuck in my head was the opening theme from The Great Escape. It remains a firm favorite, along with the movie, to this day.

Like Jerry Goldsmith, a true musician has left us, and there will never be anyone who can ever match his like.

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#10 of 22 Steve Christou

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Posted August 18 2004 - 09:50 PM

One of the greats. The Magnificent Seven & The Great Escape, two of the most famous and instantly recognisable scores of all time, amongst many other fantastic scores he composed.

RIP Elmer. Posted Image

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#11 of 22 Keith Paynter

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Posted August 18 2004 - 10:32 PM

I believe the documentary of the first special Edition of 'Animal House' had a great line from John Landis (who used Bernstein on several films - Ghostbusters/Blues Brothers/Animal House/Stripes/Trading Places - that were the peak of Landis' comedic career) about the music being played 'straight', not for laughs.

It was written very regal and straight (the infamous Faber College theme comes to mind), and the comedy actually comes out better against the almost pretentious seriousness of the Bernstein score. 'Animal House' gave Elmer Bernstein a career in comedic films, while never tainting his classic work on more dramatic efforts like 'The Magnificent Seven', 'The Great Escape' and 'The Ten Commandments'.

So long, Mr. Bernstein, and thank you.
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#12 of 22 Dan Brecher

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Posted August 19 2004 - 01:45 AM

I am almost reminded of that time back in 1997 when the world lost Robert Mitchum and Jimmy Stewart within days of each other. To lose Goldsmith, Raksin, and now Bernstein in such a short space of time is deeply upsetting.

I remember going to a concert at the Albert Hall which Bernstein conducted in celebration of his 80th Birthday. He worked through many of his classics and premiered a couple of cues from Far From Heaven which at the time had yet to be released. It's still probably one of the best concerts I have ever been to, and it was quite a moving night when television presenter Michael Aspell decided to walk out onto the stage, big red book in hand, to proclaim 'Elmer Bernstein, this is your life!"...

We can mention Magnificent Seven (amongst other westerns), The Great Escape, the repertoire of work he did for a number of Scorsese's pictures, The Ten Commandments and so on, and I'd highlight my absolute resounding love for his score to The Man with the Golden Arm which is quite simply brilliant. Above all, my favourite piece of his was To Kill a Mockingbird, which I still regard as one of the most beautiful scores ever written.

Quote:
And with Herrmann, Rozsa, Newman, Korngold, Steiner, Waxman - among other golden-age composers - already there, it has got to be a glorious sound.

Beautifully put.

Dan (UK)

#13 of 22 Bill Huelbig

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Posted August 19 2004 - 02:46 AM

My first real film music memory is from Elmer Bernstein. When I was around 2 or 3, my dad would play a 45 RPM record of the theme from "The Man With the Golden Arm" and it made me cry - it terrified me. It was on Coral Records - I can still see the label in my mind. Another more recent memory: a local classic movie theater (programmed by Pete Apruzzese, whose lovely memorial to Elmer is posted above) showed "Robot Monster" in 3-D recently, and Elmer Bernstein's name in the credits got a big round of applause. That movie needed all the class it could get, and Elmer provided it single-handedly.

"The Great Escape", "To Kill a Mockingbird", "Hawaii", "The Ten Commandments", even "Robot Monster" have all been running through my head ever since I heard the news. He is truly one of the irreplacable ones.

#14 of 22 Zen Butler

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Posted August 19 2004 - 03:04 AM

His body of work is monstrous. He will always be with us through his music. One of the classiest sounds to emit from the screen.

A few of my favorites:

The Great Escape
The Tin Star
Birdman of Alcatraz
Ten Commandments

and the highly underrated
The Buccaneer

Talk about missed

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#15 of 22 Ray H

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Posted August 19 2004 - 04:34 AM

His score to To Kill a Mockingbird is magic.

It's sad to see another classic composer pass away. Posted Image
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#16 of 22 Cameron Yee

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Posted August 19 2004 - 04:44 AM

I'll throw in his score for "Rambling Rose"
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#17 of 22 Mike_G

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Posted August 20 2004 - 12:20 AM

Heavy Metal was very good. Very eerie, like Ghostbusters.

He'll be missed.

Mike

#18 of 22 Kirk Tsai

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Posted August 20 2004 - 06:37 AM

Obviously others have mentioned some of his great scores, but I recently watched The Good Son, and even in such a dreadful movie, Bernstein's score is beautiful. I also love the score to From The Terrace, Sweet Smell of Success and the stunning Hawaii.

Several at FilmScoreMonthly are saying with complete confidence that Bernstein's final score is actually forthcoming with a TCM documentary on Cecil B. Demille. I look forward to it.

Thanks Mr. Bernstein.

#19 of 22 GeorgePaul

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Posted August 20 2004 - 11:28 AM

Quote:
Obviously others have mentioned some of his great scores, but I recently watched The Good Son, and even in such a dreadful movie, Bernstein's score is beautiful. I also love the score to From The Terrace, Sweet Smell of Success and the stunning Hawaii.

And if there is ONE classic film that deserves an SE DVD or soundtrack release next year, it IS Hawaii. One of the last great epics of classical Hollywood...and Lynda-Marie, is it any coincidence that of all the great American music "The Simpsons" has imitated, only the themes from The Great Escape were allowed to accompany an episode unaltered in any way?Posted Image

As has been said, Elmer Bernstein was a true gentleman that way. I can't stop thinking of his wonderful modern revivals of Bernard Herrmann's themes from Cape Fear in the remake.

"Film is not created in a vacuum. Rather, it results from a combination of forces and personalities, coupled with limitations of time, budget, and technology, which all converge in a way that is unique to a moment in time."--Robert Wise

#20 of 22 Peter Apruzzese

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Posted August 20 2004 - 02:05 PM

GeorgePaul:

The HAWAII soundtrack has been issued in a Deluxe 2-CD set by Varese Sarabande:

http://www.varesesar...ai...-0403-1017
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