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Film Music #1

Here is one anecdote that clearly reveals the importance of music in movies.

the-lost-weekend-philip-terry-jane-everettMovie “The Lost Weekend”, a 1945 film starring Ray Millard.

This intense film about an alcoholic on a weekend bender was originally released without any music at all.

When first shown in the theaters, at the most dramatic scenes of Milland’s descent into an alcoholic blur, the audience snickered and giggled – exactly the opposite of the film maker’s intent. It was quickly pulled form circulation and almost permanently shelved.

However, the composer Miklos Rosza was brought in to do a score and the movie was re-released to great acclaim! It went on to win best actor, best picture, and best director, but the score was not acknowledged even though it was the only thing added to the original failed version.

How about that? 🙂

My experience, as a film composer is that – with music – you can really change the mood and message movie will convey to the audience. You can alter its state in many ways, point to something that otherwise may not be perceived at all. Music can also damage its message if you don’t nail the precise emotion that it needs and that goes for main theme as well as for every scene.

Movie without music is, quoting Audrey Hepburn: “…a little bit like an aeroplane without fuel. However beautifully the job is done, we are still on the ground and in a world of reality.”

Often is said – The less is more. But in my opinion that is not an issue at all. I only agree that minimalistic inadequate music can do less damage than “big” inadequate music. To be a film composer you need not only rich musical experience and knowledge of scoring techniques but you also have to have an ability to identify to any given emotion! Same way it’s done by the actors. Make it yours, become one with it and then you are ready to start to score to it and you won’t miss! 

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