Lost in the Shuffle XI

Sin, destruction, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, all in this week’s “Lost in the Shuffle.”

SODOM AND GOMORRAH (1962) – Lot’s Mission

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Sodom and Gomorrah CDRobert Aldrich, director of WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? and HUSH, HUSH…SWEET CHARLOTTE, seems like an odd choice to direct a Biblical epic about the twin cities of sin. Much like the cities themselves, this Stewart Granger-Pier Angeli costumer has sunk into the rubble of time. The film gave Miklos Rozsa one last chance to score the kind of picture he did better than anyone else. While the score isn’t as memorable as BEN-HUR, EL CID, or some of his other epics, there is much to enjoy. This track features yet another lovely string theme, this time for Lot (Granger). Sure, it sounds like many another Rozsa theme, but who cares when it’s this good?

THE GUNS OF NAVARONE (1961) – Decoys Destroyed

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It took me many years to warm up to Dimitri Tiomkin, and I still have to be in the proper mood to listen to his scores. THE GUNS OF NAVARONE was the score that broke me out of my Tiomkin shell. This track is missing most of that famous theme, but you’ll hear quotes of “Rule Brittania” trying to keep up with Tiomkin’s typically rapid changing moods.

DODES’KA-DEN (1970) – Death of the Child/The Acqueduct

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I’ve never seen this 1971 Japanese nominee for Foreign Language Film, though it’s sitting somewhere in my DVD pile. Toru Takemitsu once again surprises me with music I was not expecting. A repeating bassoon ostinato underscores a delightful clarinet, oboe, and flute trio. Delicate and delightful, this track encourages me to pull out that DVD and give it a look-see.

KUNDUN (1997) – Dark Kitchen

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Martin Scorcese’s visually stunning film of the Dalai Lama frustrated critics and audiences, but I found it fascinating. Part of that fascination came from Philip Glass‘s score. Glass’s trademark minimalism and repeating rhythmic and melodic cells, always punctuated by that low drone,┬áhypnotized me. Glass’s music isn’t so much about individual cues. Instead, the score as a whole casts a hypnotic, aural spell on the film.

ELOISE AT CHRISTMASTIME (2003) – Eloise’s Offer

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Bruce Broughton won yet another Emmy Award for his second ELOISE film. Based on Kay Thompson’s classic children’s books, ELOISE on the small screen is missing some of the wit of the writing and is certainly geared toward younger viewers. Yet if you stick with it, both films (including ELOISE AT THE PLAZA) are ultimately affecting. This brief cue illustrates Broughton’s ease with comedic scoring. Beginning with a brief quote of Rachel’s theme on piano, the music then moves into a bit of precociousness before easing into Eloise’s beautiful theme on piano. If you’re not familiar with either of the ELOISE scores, you’re missing out on something special. Both Emmy-winning scores are absolutely delightful from beginning to end.

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