All posts under Vintage

When In Rome…

Ben-Hur_1

…I do as the Romans do. I recently got back from a trip to Switzerland where I hopefully wrapped up the research for my book on the music of Charlie Chaplin. After a week of furiously plowing through scores and correspondence at the Chaplin Archives in Montreux, I decided to take ten days of much needed R&R in Italy, all of which was underscored by a proper playlist of appropriately chosen film music. Though famous musical Venetians like Vivaldi and Monteverdi helped me navigate their slender, tourist-clogged streets, some film composers also accompanied…

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Drawing a Line in the Sand

sahara

Looking for a film music gem? 2005’s SAHARA fits the bill. Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt was the charismatic star of nearly a dozen bestselling adventure novels before Sahara hit bookstores in 1992. After the poor box office for another Pitt adventure—1980’s RAISE THE TITANIC—it’s no surprise it took even longer for SAHARA to hit the screen. And yet, if you turn off your brain for a couple of hours and just go with it, an enjoyable time can be had as Dirk searches for a long-lost Civil War battleship deep in the…

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Tall Tales

marktwain

THE ADVENTURES OF MARK TWAIN is exactly what the title suggests: an episodic, highly entertaining (and highly fictionalized) “biography” of the celebrated author through his childhood, riverboating on the Mississippi River, his books and legendary lecture tour. Fredric March is a delight as—and the spitting image of—Twain, and even though much of the film contains barely a kernel of truth, it plants enough seeds to potentially inspire further investigation into the “real” story. MARK TWAIN was originally filmed in 1942 but wasn’t released until 1944, as a morale booster for…

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The Green-Eyed Monster

A Double Life

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on. (Othello, Act 3, Scene 3) Jealousy certainly does make monsters of us all. In A DOUBLE LIFE (1947), Ronald Colman stars as an actor whose latest role as the jealous, murderous Othello begins to take over his psyche, blurring reality. George Cukor’s direction is tight, Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin’s script is clever, and Colman gives the performance of a lifetime, winning himself an Oscar in the process. With lines that blur…

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The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima

The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima

In 1917, three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, reportedly saw a vision of a lady in a cloud. Over a period of six months, the crowds expanded on the 13th of each month as news spread of sightings of what appeared to be the Blessed Virgin Mary. THE MIRACLE OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA (1952) explores the age-old combination of fear, faith and religious persecution without ever treating the story with a heavy hand. The performances by the three children are never cloying and Gilbert Roland’s breezy role as the town skeptic helps…

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I Spy With My Little Eye

theif

He was closer to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg than George Smiley or James Bond. In THE THIEF (1952), Ray Milland stars as Dr. Allan Fields, a nuclear physicist spying for some unnamed foreign country (you can assume Russia). As the Feds close in, he goes on the run, all the while increasingly racked with guilt. The film is an effective film noir with a none-too-subtle propagandist element that is certainly understandable, given the country’s obsession with the McCarthy hearings at the time. Sam Leavitt’s stark black-and-white cinematography and the excellent use of…

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Kiss Me Once Then Kiss Me Twice…

Cinema Paradiso

If you’re visiting this blog, then no doubt you’re not just a fan of film music but film as well. If so, then arguably no other film captures our love affair with the movies more poignantly than CINEMA PARADISO. The story of the long-running relationship between young Toto (played by Salvatore Cascio, Marco Leonardi, and Jacques Perrin in the various stages of his life) and his friend and mentor Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), the projectionist in the local movie house of a small Italian town, is a beautiful examination of life, love, community, family, and friendship. The…

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The Numbers Game

8 1/2

If life is a circus, then I imagine making a film is even more so. Or perhaps it’s only in the hands of director Federico Fellini that it seems that way. In Fellini’s autobiographical 8 1/2 (1963), Marcello Mastroianni stars as a famous film director suffering from director’s block. With his new science fiction film stalled, he is surrounded by artistic and marital difficulties, and countless beautiful women. The title refers to Fellini’s eighth and a half film as a director, based on his six features, two short segments, and a collaboration with…

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The Hunt

Planet of the Apes

The year is 2011 and the world is going bananas for apes once again. As RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES continues to top the box office, what better time to revisit the film that started it all… The year is 3978 A.D. and a spaceship with a crew of four crashes down on a distant planet, one in which man is pre-lingual, uncivilized and used for scientific experiments, while apes have learned speech and technology and rule the planet. The classic PLANET OF THE APES (1968) spawned a…

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FSCT Playlist #6 – Nail ‘Em Up!

All The King's Men

Given the topic of my “9 on the 9th” post this month, it should come as no surprise that most of last week’s playlist was spent listening to James Horner. For the Horner scores with no links, just click over to the “9 on the 9th” post for audio clips. Like I said in the post, it was a pleasant few weeks in Horner’s company. But if I have to hear another Prokofiev quote, snare drum riff or danger motif, I’m going to pour hot wax in my ears. ALL THE…

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