In this special super-sized episode, Jon and Andy take a break from their countdown of the AFI’s list, and examine the five films and composers nominated for this year’s Best Original Score Oscar. These wide-ranging scores come at the question of what to do with film music from some very different directions. Who will win? Who should win? Join us on the red carpet!
Look, up in the sky, it’s John Barry’s score for 1985’s Out of Africa! In the #15 score on the AFI’s list, does the melody for the famous airplane scene get enough use through the movie? When should the music connect one scene to the next, and when shouldn’t it? And, was Sydney Pollack right when he said turning this material into a screenplay was impossible?
Franz Waxman’s score for 1950’s Sunset Boulevard is ready for its closeup! Jon and Andy bring some differing viewpoints to their discussion of #16 on the AFI’s list. What musical reference joke does Waxman use for his love theme? Should the score climb the stairs when the characters do? And, how comfortable were our 2017 armchairs?
Jon and Andy are excited to welcome a special guest onto the show! After their discussion of Elmer Bernstein’s score for 1962’s To Kill A Mockingbird, stick around to hear a chat with Emilie Bernstein – Elmer’s daughter and longtime orchestrator! How did Elmer focus in on the right perspective from which to tell the story? What distinctive scale makes the main theme sound wondrous? And, can Andy talk as low as Gregory Peck?
Jerry Goldsmith’s score for the 1968 sci-fi landmark Planet of the Apes was #18 on the AFI’s list the whole time! What technique does Goldsmith call on to sound so alien? What wacky instruments does he throw into the mix? And have we finally seen the last of Charlton Heston’s bare chest?
Another Kazan/Brando collaboration turns up as the AFI’s #19: it’s Alex North’s score for the 1951 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ stage classic A Streetcar Named Desire. Why is North’s groundbreaking use of jazz so effective? Why was the music for the famous “Hey Stella!” scene deemed to be too sexy? And what does it sound like to go to crazytown?
Now it’s time for the AFI’s #20: Henry Mancini’s score for the 1963 farce The Pink Panther. Why is the iconic Pink Panther tune such a great melody? When does Mancini feel the need to “hit things with the comedy hammer?” And did Blake Edwards really make this movie just so he could go on vacation?
Miklós Rózsa’s score for the 1959 super-spectacular Ben-Hur trumpets its way onto the AFI’s list at #21. How were biblical epics like comic book movies? In such an immense film with such an immense score, what are the moments that don’t get any music, and why? And should we have been writing lyrics to all the love themes we’ve covered?
Counting down to #22 on the AFI’s list takes us to Leonard Bernstein’s score for the 1954 classic On the Waterfront. Were Lennie and Elia Kazan making the same movie? Is this the prettiest love theme ever? And, how is Jon’s Marlon Brando impression?
#23 on the AFI’s list is Ennio Morricone’s score for the 1986 period drama The Mission. Why is the music accompanying Robert De Niro’s redemption so powerful? Is the “Gabriel’s Oboe” theme too noodly? And, what did Jon say to Ennio when he briefly met him that one time?
Next up is #24 – Dave Grusin’s score for On Golden Pond (1981). When does Grusin decide to just score the scenery, and when does he dare to get inside Katherine Hepburn’s performance? What changed between 1981 and 1991 about how joy sounds? And what does this score have in common with Cheers?
Jon and Andy kick off their show by talking about #25 on the AFI’s list – Alfred Newman’s score for the 1962 epic western How the West Was Won. As they figure out what they’re doing, they consider: How should music be used for action sequences? Did Aaron Copland invent the “western sound?” And, how do you pronounce “Cinerama?”
Jon and Andy introduce themselves, and the show.