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SCORE! The 150 greatest OST’s – pt. 4 (of 15)

120.) King Kong (1933) - Max Steiner

Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s King Kong was revolutionary in many ways, not the least of them its use of music. Rather than “underscore” the action, the filmmakers used it to add tension and atmosphere. To do this they enlisted Max Steiner, who would go on to compose the scores for Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, and The Searchers, among others. Along with Erich Von Korngold and a handful of others, Steiner would emerge as one of the most important figures of film composition from the Golden-era of Hollywood. For more on the subject, look Here. Here’s track 5, “Entrance of Kong”:

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119.) The Collector (1965) - Maurice Jarre

Based on a novel by author John Fowler and directed by William Wyler, The Collector stars Terence Stamp as an introverted butterfly collector who begins to collect human specimens, namely beautiful young women. This is my favorite score by Maurice Jarre, who won Oscars for Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, and also scored the fantastic The Professionals.

Here’s track 3, “Trapped”:

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118.) Die Faust in der Tasche [Fist in the Pocket] (1978) - Satin Whale

Never seen it this German take on the “Angry Young Man” films of the 70’s, directed by Max Willutzki, but the soundtrack is awesome, composed by a Krautrock band. Check out their first album, 1974’s Desert Places, as well. Here’s track 4, the flute-rock classic “Archie’s Flucht”:

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and track 6, “Blutspende”:

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and track 10, “Kampf in der Lackiererei”:

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117.) Memories of Murder [Salinui Chueok] (2003) - Taro Iwashiro

Director Joon-ho Bong is a master of dark comedy, and while I’ve seen The Host (which has a great score as well) and Barking Dogs Never Bite, I missed this film based on a notorious real-life unsolved murder. The score is full of Didgeridoos, ambient electronics, sweeping violins, and altogether haunting melodies. Iwashiro also scored the videogame soundtracks to Onimusha 2.

Here’s track 3, “Face”:

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and track 16, “On The Other Side Of The Hill”:

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and track 22, “White Face”:

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116.) Enter the Dragon (1973) - Lalo Schifrin

The ever-swanky Lalo Schifrin brings us the soundtrack to the great Bruce Lee movie directed by Robert Clouse, full of battle cries, driving bass-lines, and funky wah-wah pedals. Schifrin also scored Cool Hand Luke, The President’s Analyst, Dirty Harry, and Jackie Chan’s first attempt at crossing-over to American audiences, Battle Creek Brawl – as well as his later Rush Hour series.

Here’s the main title:

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And here’s an Asian influenced track called “The Banquet”:

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115.) Kûki Ningyô [Air Doll] (2009) - World’s End Girlfriend

Here’s a Japanese movie about a blow-up doll that comes to life, directed by Hirokazu Koreeda. The soundtrack is beautiful, played fairly straight by the fantastic electronica/post-rock/freak-folk band, World’s End Girlfriend, whose 2007 album, target=”_blank”>Hurtbreak Wonderland, is another must-own. Here’s track 7, which has a definite Erik Satie feel to it:

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114.) In the Heat of the Night (1967) – Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones is responsible for many excellent film & TV soundtracks, including a theme for target=”_blank”>Ironside recycled by not only the Shaw Bros. in 1972’s target=”_blank”>Five Fingers of Death but also re-recycled by Quentin Tarantino in target=”_blank”>Kill Bill. Though it’s hard to pick between The Pawnbroker, In Cold Blood, The Italian Job and Dollar$, this Norman Jewison classic starring Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, and Warren Oates gets the nod – in large part thanks to noted musicians Glen Campbell on banjo, Billy Preston on organ, Ray Brown on bass, and the great Rahsaan Roland Kirk on flute. Here’s the title song featuring Ray Charles:

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and track 2, “Peep-Freak Patrol Car” featuring Rahsaan Roland Kirk:

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113.) Samurai Fiction (1998) – Tomoyasu Hotei

Like Hiroyuki Nakano’s film, which re-envisions feudal Japan according to current sensibilities, the soundtrack also takes the ancient and the new to create an enchanting fusion. Japanese Guitar God Tomoyasu Hotei not only composed the soundtrack but also starred as Rannosuke Kazamatsuri. Here’s track 1, “Transnational Spirit”:

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and the main theme, where you might learn something about Budo and Ronin:

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and an accordion-driven theme:

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112.) Caramel (2007) – Khaled Mouzanar

Director Nadine Labaki also stars in this ensemble love story about six women seeking love & marriage in a Beirut hair-salon. The soundtrack features fantastic work by Khaled Mouzanar. Here’s track 10, “Zaghloul El Hamam”:

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111.) Histoire d’O [The Story of O] (1975) – Pierre Bachelet

Another in a long line of sleazy movies with amazing soundtracks, as director Just Jaeckin’s adaptation of Pauline Réage’s novel stars knockout Corrine Clery as a photographer whose boyfriend (the creepy Udo Kier) dishes out physical and sexual abuse in a storyline which transports De Sade to the world of soft porn (the two always manage to go hand in hand). Bachelet also scored another notorious Just Jaeckin (seriously? that’s a name?) soft core film, 1984’s Gwendoline.

Here’s track 1, “Histoire d’O”:

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and track 2, “O’ Et La Rencontre”:

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40 down, 110 to go!!!

Click to see part 1 (OST’s #141-150) , part 2 (131-140),  part 3 (121-130), part 4 (111-120), part 5 (101-110), part 6 (91-100), part 7 (81-90), part 8 (71-80), part 9 (61-70), part 10 (51-60), part 11 (41-50), part 12 (31-40), part 13 (21-30), part 14 (11-20) and part 15 (1-10).

Check back in the coming weeks to see the rest of the countdown, and be sure to leave feedback!

September 13, 2010   1 Comment

SCORE! The 150 greatest OST’s – pt. 2 (of 15)

OST = Original Soundtrack.

We continue our countdown with numbers 131-140…

For the first installment, including my self-imposed guidelines, check part 1.

140.) Omega Man (1971) - Ron Grainer

Boris Sagal’s take on Richard Matheson’s classic I am Legend stars Moses himself – Charlton Heston – and reeks of 70’s sensibilities. The soundtrack is a fun affair, alternating between Ron Grainer’s quirky atmospheric score and jazz-tinged muzak, reminding us that an unpopulated Earth is much like an empty department store. Here’s track 2, “The Omega Man”:

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139.) Yol (1982) - Sebastian Argol

Directors Serif Gören & Yilmaz Güney wrote and directed this award-winning Turkish film about prisoners on furlough which starred James Bond himself – Sean Connery – in a movie I’ve often confused for the sword and sorcery epic Yor, The Hunter From The Future, released a year later, and the old Atari 2600 title Yars’ Revenge, released a year earlier. Regardless, it’s a powerful soundtrack for a movie I’ve never seen, combining middle eastern elements with ambient electronics. Here’s track 6, “Horsemen in the Wind”:

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138.) Les Aventures Extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010) – Eric Serra

Since 1983’s Le Dernier Combat Luc Besson has been employing Eric Serra as his composer of choice, and this soundtrack, their most recent collaboration, is their best – with a kooky, kitchen-sink approach that features cacophonous car horns, discordant electronics, a dramatic chanteuse and sweeping themes that capture the spirit of high adventure. Check out this target=”_blank”>trailer and tell me you don’t want to see the movie. You liar. Here’s track 2, “Hiéroglyphes”:

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137.) Naked Angels (1969) – Jeff Simmons

Don’t know much about this Bruce D. Clark biker flick, except that that cover is absolutely sick and the composer, Jeff Simmons, would later become a Frank Zappa collaborator. And that the music is rocking, with fuzz guitars and a steady rock beat.

Here’s track 1, “Naked Angels Theme”:

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and track 5, “Cop Out”:

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136.) Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows) (1958) – Miles Davis

Louis Malle’s suspense noir might be a tad dated, but this Miles Davis soundtrack sure isn’t – it’s his best score for a film, though Kind of Blue is still the greatest soundtrack he ever wrote to a movie never made. Here’s track 5, “Florence sur les Champs-Elysées”:

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135.) High Noon (1952) – Dimitri Tiomkin

Fred Zinnemann’s classic western gets a fantastic old-era-Hollywood score courtesy of Tiomkin, who also scored The Alamo, Guns of Navarone, Giant and countless other classics, and who later wrote the TV theme song for Rawhide. Here’s track 1, the main title, sung by Tex Ritter (John Ritter’s dad), which won the 1953 Academy Award for best song:

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134.) Avalon (2001) - Kenji Kawai

Anime director (Ghost in the Shell) Mamoru Oshii directed this live action sci-fi movie about a destitute future where virtual gaming determines financial reward-or death by catatonia. The film’s unique flavor stems from its Japanese-Polish production, heavy referencing of Arthurian mythology, and muted sepia-tone cinematography, and is carried over into the soundtrack, where Kawai’s haunting score features Polish language chanting and tons of murky futuristic melancholy. Here’s track 2, “Log Off”:

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133.) Heathers (1989) – David Newman

Michael Lehmann defined a generation with his smart, satirical high school revenge flick, which took John Hughes’ high school comedies and ramped ‘em up to high black-comedy heaven. The cold, electronic soundtrack enhances the feeling of detachment which Winona Ryder and Christian Slater feel in their popularity-obsessed high school. Composition runs in the family – Newman is the cousin of Randy, the brother of Thomas and the son of Alfred. Are any other Newmans gonna make this list? Are all of them? Do me a favor – Wait and find out. That way I can stop asking rhetorical questions. Here’s track 3, “JD Blows Up”:

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132.) Institute Benjamenta (1995) – Lech Jankowski

The Brothers Quay deliver a vivid black and white dream of a movie, based on Kafka-predecessor Robert Walser’s Jakob von Gunten, a surrealistic 1909 novel about a mysterious institute where men learn to become servants. Lech’s sparse, haunting soundtrack, complete with strained strings, lonely trumpets, rumbling bass, haunting voices and intermittent silences makes it a perfect accompaniment, which also stands on its own as an eerie listening experience for fans of challenging music.

Here’s track 6, “Introdukja Liliowa”:

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and track 8, “Kolysanka wg Erika S”:

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131.) Didn’t You Hear? (1970) – Mort Garson

Not many people have seen Skip Sherwood’s college film about a daydreaming teen, which not only features a young Gary Busey, but also a score by the legendary Mort Garson. Here is a review of the movie. A friend once bequeathed unto me an entire DVD full of Garson’s albums, including this one, and I’ve been a fan ever since (both of Garson and my friend).

Here’s track 5, “Kevin’s Theme”:

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and track 9, “Walk to Grange Hall”:

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20 OST’s down, 130 to go! What’s your favorite soundtrack? Will it make the cut? Check back next week, and be sure to leave feedback… it’ll make us stronger here at the isle!

Click to see part 1 (OST’s #141-150) , part 2 (131-140),  part 3 (121-130), part 4 (111-120), part 5 (101-110), part 6 (91-100), part 7 (81-90), part 8 (71-80), part 9 (61-70), part 10 (51-60), part 11 (41-50), part 12 (31-40), part 13 (21-30), part 14 (11-20) and part 15 (1-10).

September 2, 2010   No Comments

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