All posts under John Barry

9 Favorite Western Film Scores

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I’m not a fan of Westerns particularly. The mythological images created by Hollywood seldom bear any resemblance to reality and their political leanings are often less than honorable. But those wide, open spaces and America’s dramatic past (even filtered through Hollywood’s gauze) arguably have inspired more great film scores than any other cinematic sub-genre. As always, with so many great scores to choose from, narrowing down a list to nine is a typically foolish task. Some composers specialized in Westerns, so to make this list more equally balanced, I only allowed…

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John Barry: A Personal Reminiscence

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Waking up on Monday to the news of John Barry’s passing was heartbreaking to say the least. Even though he had retired and hadn’t scored a film since 2001’s ENIGMA, his death has rocked the film music community over the last few days, with tributes and reminiscences pouring out all week long. And whether you prefer the wailing brass of the James Bond movies or the serene, lush strings of his later work, it seems everybody has a favorite Barry score and a favorite Barry cinematic memory. As with many…

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9 Favorite Science Fiction Film Scores, Vol. 1 – Space

Star Wars movie image Han, Chewie Luke

Like many boys who liked to read, my genre of choice during my teenage years was science fiction. And since one of my earliest memories of the outside world was the moon walk, it will come as no surprise that I was enthralled by tales of life in space, stories that were heavy on the scientific end of things. Planets were just there as jumping off points to get you back into space. The more time that was spent aboard ship in the inky dark, the better. And to this…

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Born Free

Born Free

Sometimes the historical success of a film rests solely on its music, at least with us film score fans. Such is the case with BORN FREE. Based on naturalist Joy Adamson’s bestselling book, the film chronicles the African adventures of Joy (Virginia McKenna) and her husband George (Bill Travers), including bringing up a lioness cub. Because of the film’s episodic nature, it lacks much of a dramatic drive. But John Barry’s Oscar-winning song and score enrich the African vistas. Barry’s innocent, childlike approach to the score was far different than…

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9 Favorite John Barry Scores

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After last month’s “9 on the 9th” discussion of my favorite John Williams scores, I received an email asking when I was going to do a list of the scores ofJohn Barry. Always one to heed my reader’s requests, here you go. Whether it’s his James Bond scores, jazzz-tinged films from the swinging 60’s, or the slow, string-heavy Oscar-bait later in his career, there’s no denying the Barry sound. But this post was a tough one to pull together. Arguably, Barry writes more beautiful melodies than any other composer I can…

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Enter the Queen

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Katharine Hepburn sure knows how to make a grand entrance. In her Oscar-winning performance as Eleanor of Aquitaine in THE LION IN WINTER (1968), she enters as as a medieval queen should–on a barge floating down the River Vienne. And John Barry’s Oscar-winning music rows her onscreen in imperial splendor.

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In the Lion’s Den

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“It’s 1183 and we’re all barbarians…” And barbaric it is! THE LION WINTER follows an aging King Henry II (Peter O’Toole) who has summoned his exiled queen, Eleanor of Acquitaine (Katharine Hepburn), to court to spend the Christmas holiday together and select Henry’s successor. Verbal and physical sparring ensue as each of the three sons declares his desire for the throne while Eleanor and Henry remain on opposing sides of the argument. A flop during its brief run on Broadway in 1964, James Goldman’s witty Oscar-winning script makes for clever verbal…

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