Music In Movies
Imagine being the first person at the turn of the 20th century to have the brilliant idea to couple those old nickelodeon pictures with music. Think back at how satisfying that moment of eureka must have been. Ever since that day, music has found a comfortable and exciting niche in the home of motion pictures which should really be referred to musical motion pictures or motion pictures with musical accompaniment.
Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton made the first popular silent films by utilizing music as if it were their dialogue. Music accelerated the rhythm of the film, accentuated the comedic beats, it lingered on the sadness and it wrapped every emotional scene in a nice little bow.
Through time, some movies have seen a tremendous amount of success more because of their music than the acting or directing or anything else for that matter. A great example is one of Steven Spielberg's earlier efforts Jaws. "It was the music that really made the movie... every time you heard the babam babam, you could imagine the shark biting off the swimmer's leg. It was ingenious." Another favorite horror film that used music in such a way was Alfred Hitchcock class "Psycho."
Ennio Morricone, is one of the most prolific musical composers for film. He has been nominated for the academy award over eleven times, but he has never received the gold. His films are characterized by a strong sense of music that fills in the gap wherever the writing lacks. In Once Upon a Time in the West, Sergio Leone recounts how Morricone composed a unique piece for each character and how that music would play in different variations every time the master character would enter the scene.
Morricone is also responsible for the music in Once Upon a time in America, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Malena.
John Williams is Morricone's American equivalent and while the previous concentrated on sweeping love themes, Williams had sensibilities leaning towards the action-adventure genres. He composed the well-remembered themes for Indiana Jones, Superman, and Star Wars.
In more contemporary times, films like American Beauty, Million Dollar Baby or Machiavelli Hangman (http://www.hangmanmovie.com) have offered a new trend of musical flavors ranging from simple acoustics to just drums creating a strong new breath of originality. Whatever the case may as long as filmmakers understand and use the power of music, their films will only be better off because of it.
About the author:
Leila K. Burroughs is a movie reviewer.