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Movies with Bad Music Scores


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#1 of 100 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted January 19 2005 - 02:04 AM

There's a major piece of news on the web. A movie, Major Dundee, directed by Sam Peckinpah, is being re-scored. This must be a first, setting a precedent (if it's successful) for other older movies. So, let's make a list and send it to ... er, ... them!

www.filmscoremonthly.com/...Friday.asp

The first movie on my list of movies with bad music scores:

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

and a whole group of other movies scored by Max Steiner.

#2 of 100 OFFLINE   Mitch Stevens

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Posted January 19 2005 - 02:43 AM

I love the movie American Beauty with all my heart. It's become one of my favourite movies of all time, but I hate the musical score with a passion. I feel it's defintely the worst scored film of all time. I wish there was a way, to take out the score, so that it wouldn't bother me so much, when I'm watching it.

#3 of 100 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted January 19 2005 - 02:52 AM

and a whole group of other movies scored by Max Steiner.
So I take it you're not a Max Steiner fan?Posted Image

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#4 of 100 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted January 19 2005 - 03:01 AM

I recognize that such things wouldn't be able to be done -- probably there are no surviving separate music tracks for Treasure, so the dialogue and music are inseparable.

I actually like Max Steiner for many things, certainly King Kong (the original sweeping score) and Gone With The Wind are in a style that suits them. I wouldn't tamper with these great classics.

But Treasure is nearly ruined by its score, and a surprising number of people have noted this, including Pauline Kael and other critics. The score is "cowboy" music, and it really doesn't suit the quality of the material at all.

#5 of 100 OFFLINE   Jonny_L

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Posted January 19 2005 - 03:01 AM

Just about anything scored in the 70's is aweful - all the big blockbusters don't count, im talking most everything else. They seemed to have an almost sitcom quality to the ques and deminish the scale of what a movie is vs what a tv show is. To contrast that, everything else had a ridiculous disco beat in it.
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#6 of 100 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted January 19 2005 - 03:05 AM

Additionally, I think quite a lot of movies would play better with no score at all. The scenes would be better "unamplified."

#7 of 100 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted January 19 2005 - 03:07 AM

Jonny_L:

I just watched a movie from the 70s, Chinatown, and the score by Jerry Goldsmith is just superb! Classic work.

#8 of 100 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted January 19 2005 - 03:20 AM

I thought of another one:

Murder on the Orient Express

#9 of 100 OFFLINE   Haggai

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Posted January 19 2005 - 03:41 AM

Big-time dissent from me on the Sierra Madre score, which I like very much. Steiner also did great stuff for The Searchers.

#10 of 100 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted January 19 2005 - 03:43 AM

Just recently I had the pleasure of watching Foul Play on dvd. It had been forever since I've seen this. This was filmed in 1978 and I had forgotten how much Barry Manilow was used in this film. Not necessarily bad, but it certainly ages the film.

#11 of 100 OFFLINE   Peter Apruzzese

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Posted January 19 2005 - 04:00 AM

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and just about everything else scored by James "Anvil-Clanker" Horner, the worst A-list composer in Hollywood. Posted Image
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#12 of 100 OFFLINE   JonathonSan

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Posted January 19 2005 - 04:07 AM

I know I will need to duck and cover for this one, but the original Dawn of the Dead US release is horrible...laughable even. Whether for effect or not, it is BAD. Love the movie though.
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#13 of 100 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted January 19 2005 - 04:09 AM

I guess there are plenty of bad scores which could be replaced, but what if they were replaced by worse ones? I'm not sure we have anybody right now (except maybe John Williams) who can do a score as well as Bernard Herrmann or David Raksin.

And by the way, I don't mean to offend anyone's taste -- just thought it would be fun to list those scores, particularly the ones that are famous, that really don't work for us.

Another movie that could lose its score (for me): Dr. Zhivago

Let the flaming begin.

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#14 of 100 OFFLINE   Ray Faiola

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Posted January 19 2005 - 04:19 AM

I'm afraid I have to disagree with the intelligencia (Kael et al) on Max's score to THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE. Though partially filmed on location, this is a studio picture every step of the way. It is not cinema verite. Steiner's motif's and accompaniment are, in my opinion, very appropriate. At times they are deeply moving (the revival scene) and at other times highly emotional (rescue of Dobbs from the cave-in). There have been some carps that Steiner's music was more Spanish than Mexican, but the fact is his orchestral pallet, particularly in the percussion, was highly effective.

The original tracks do, for the most part, survive. I produced the original soundtrack album for Rhino Records and it is available from Screen Archives Entertainment. There is also a terrific new digital recording by Morgan and Stromberg (for which I wrote the notes) on the Marco Polo label, also available through Screen Archives.

Max Steiner is one of those composers who, while highly diverse in the type of films he scored, was very secure in his own style - that of 19th century romanticism, even though he occasionally ventured into pseudo-modernism (THE FOUNTAINHEAD). He is held in great disdain by many new age music fans who are unable to enjoy his art in context. Let's face it, NOW VOYAGER is one of the great soap operas of all time - and is very much of its time. So is the music. Can you imagine a Schoenberg or Hanns Eisler score for NOW, VOYAGER??

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#15 of 100 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted January 19 2005 - 04:22 AM

Can you imagine a Schoenberg or Hanns Eisler score for NOW, VOYAGER??

Posted Image

As for Treasure, well, I like the score.

#16 of 100 OFFLINE   DustinLC

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Posted January 19 2005 - 04:27 AM

Honestly, bad scores are the least of my concern. It's putting songs over cool fight scenes or throughout the movie that really really annoys me. Takes the drama, suspense, excitement out of what is otherwise a cool movie.

The most recent victim is Blade Trinity.

There are movies that will work well with just songs like the wedding singer or a piece here and there is ok .

Quote:
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and just about everything else scored by James "Anvil-Clanker" Horner, the worst A-list composer in Hollywood.

I really really have to jump in to disagree with this one. I can't image Braveheart without James Horner's score. Glory, Apollo 13, Willow, Legends of the Fall, and several dozens more. Despite how many dislike his ways of reharshing themes, ect..... , he, John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith are the big three for me as far as cranking out scores that work for the films.

I don't remember any bad scores. For it to be bad, it would have to really annoy me enough to make me take notice and ruin the movie for me. That only happens with songs added to wrong places in the movie.

#17 of 100 OFFLINE   Haggai

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Posted January 19 2005 - 04:27 AM

Quote:
Another movie that could lose its score (for me): Dr. Zhivago


I think of that score the same way that I do about the movie: pretty and repetitive. Works well for what it is.

Quote:
The original tracks do, for the most part, survive. I produced the original soundtrack album for Rhino Records and it is available from Screen Archives Entertainment.

Ray, I own that CD, thanks for your great work on it!

Quote:
There is also a terrific new digital recording by Morgan and Stromberg (for which I wrote the notes) on the Marco Polo label, also available through Screen Archives.

Well, damn, now I'll have to get that one too. Posted Image I recently got the Stromberg/Marco Polo rendition of Korngold's Adventures of Robin Hood score; that CD is quite ridiculously good.

#18 of 100 OFFLINE   DeeF

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Posted January 19 2005 - 04:29 AM

Hi, Ray! Love your comments.

I agree, that a music score shouldn't be dismissed because its style seems out-of-date. Certainly Gone With The Wind's music is endless, and might seem too much for us now, but that was the prevailing style, and as such, it works very well.

I also think most people seeing the movie (Treasure) in the movie theater one single time wouldn't carp about the score. It's the nature of DVDs and CDs that we listen to these things over and over.

I disagree with you about Treasure's score, though I know there are many who admire it. I'd like to see that movie, in particularly, without any music score at all, because I think it would play much better, much scarier.

But Herrmann proved that music can make a movie scarier with Psycho (among others). In fact, I think Herrmann's music adds depth and nuance to almost any movie.

Now Voyager is a good Steiner score. Has anybody noticed the similarities between this score and the one for The Letter ? Their main themes are like good twin/evil twin.

#19 of 100 OFFLINE   Kevin G.

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Posted January 19 2005 - 04:30 AM

Easy: "A Knight's Tale" No WWWWWWAAAAAAAAYYYYY did any of the music in that film match the feel and era of that movie.
I realize what they were trying to accomplish...But come on Bowie's GOLDEN YEARS???!!!!
If bread always lands buttered side down...
And a cat always lands on it's feet...
What happens when you strap a buttered piece of bread to a cat's back?????

#20 of 100 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted January 19 2005 - 04:32 AM

Max Steiner is one of those composers who, while highly diverse in the type of films he scored, was very secure in his own style - that of 19th century romanticism, even though he occasionally ventured into pseudo-modernism (THE FOUNTAINHEAD). He is held in great disdain by many new age music fans who are unable to enjoy his art in context. Let's face it, NOW VOYAGER is one of the great soap operas of all time - and is very much of its time. So is the music. Can you imagine a Schoenberg or Hanns Eisler score for NOW, VOYAGER??

Some comments I agree with totally.







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