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help, please: movies with no music


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#1 of 23 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted April 17 2007 - 05:19 AM

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 of 23 OFFLINE   Abe D

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Posted April 17 2007 - 05:38 AM

Check this list of Dogme films:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogme_95

#3 of 23 OFFLINE   DavidPla

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Posted April 17 2007 - 05:40 AM

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 of 23 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted April 17 2007 - 06:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidPla
This might be cheating but "Cast Away" has no score UNTIL the end when Tom Hanks leaves the island.
I've been meaning to catch up with "Cast Away."
Quote:
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.

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 of 23 OFFLINE   DavidPla

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Posted April 17 2007 - 06:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard--W
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.

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 of 23 OFFLINE   MikeEn

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Posted April 17 2007 - 07:22 AM

Fail-Safe

#7 of 23 OFFLINE   EricSchulz

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Posted April 17 2007 - 08:02 AM

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 of 23 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted April 17 2007 - 08:15 AM

Quote:
Can you give an example of a film that's saved by its score?
Gladiator (2000).

--
H

#9 of 23 OFFLINE   DavidPla

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Posted April 17 2007 - 08:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holadem
Gladiator (2000).

--
H

Booooooo!

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

#10 of 23 OFFLINE   Lee Smith

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Posted April 17 2007 - 12:06 PM

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

#11 of 23 OFFLINE   MatthewLouwrens

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Posted April 17 2007 - 01:12 PM

Quote:
On the other hand, The Birds uses some cooing and a lot of flapping wings as if it were music.
And indeed, Hitchock used his normal composer, Bernard Herrmann, to achieve this - Herrmann was credited as "Sound Consultant" (or some similar phrase).

Quote:
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.
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.
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#12 of 23 OFFLINE   john doran

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Posted April 17 2007 - 03:03 PM

if i remember correctly, Jerry (matt damon and casey affleck), had no music.
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#13 of 23 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted April 17 2007 - 03:46 PM

Dog Day Afternoon has no score; the opening song turns out to be diegetic when we're introduced to the main character.
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#14 of 23 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming

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Posted April 17 2007 - 08:29 PM

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 of 23 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted April 18 2007 - 12:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yee-Ming
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...)

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 of 23 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming

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Posted April 18 2007 - 03:15 AM

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 of 23 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted April 18 2007 - 07:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron Yee
Dog Day Afternoon has no score; the opening song turns out to be diegetic when we're introduced to the main character.

What does "diegetic" mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricSchulz
With the exception of the opening credits which has a classical piece playing, the original Dracula (1931) has no soundtrack.

The same is true for a lot of movies back in that period...
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#18 of 23 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted April 18 2007 - 07:47 AM

Quote:
What does "diegetic" mean?

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.
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#19 of 23 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming

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Posted April 18 2007 - 08:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron Yee
Google search for "define: diegetic"

sound - sound that other characters would be able to hear.
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 of 23 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted April 19 2007 - 01:35 AM

Never mind. Posted Image
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