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SCORE! The 150 greatest OST’s – pt. 9 (of 15)

70.) Vortex (1982) - Beth B & Scott B

Composers Beth B & Scott B also direct this 16-mm film-noir starring subculture mainstay Lydia Lunch as a detective investigating the murder of a corrupt politician. Like the films of George and Mike Kuchar from the early and mid-70’s, it’s probably more ambitious than its budget, and filled with eccentric characters – like a midget bartender who doubles as a hit man. The soundtrack is typical for a movie camped in the independent, anti-commercial New York No Wave scene, which like the film revels in its punk DIY sensibilities. Here’s track 2, “Tony and Powers”:

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and track 3, “Once in a Lifetime”:

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and track 9, “Black Box Disco”:

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69.) Mitte Ende August (2009) – Vic Chesnutt

Sebastian Schipper loosely based this film on Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s novel, Elective Affinities, published in 1809. The tale of two men and two women who form a love quadrangle in an isolated house in the countryside is a meditation on love, life, trust and depression. Atmospheric by the sound of it, with the soundtrack emotionally resonant by itself. Here’s track 1, the amazing “Come into my World”:

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and track 3, “Working on House”:

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68.) Kill! [Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!] (1971) – Berto Pisano & Jacques Chaumont

Writer-Director Romain Gary shot himself exactly one year after the suicide of his wife, Breathless star Jean Seberg. But a decade earlier they made this movie together, which stars James Mason as an ex-Interpol agent turned assassin who tries to wipe out porn merchants and drug dealers in Pakistan. The soundtrack by Berto Pisano is excellent. Here’s track 1, “Kill Them All”:

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and track 5, “Inchiesta”:

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and track 6, “Khanpur”:

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67.) Holy Lola (2004)Henri Texier

Bertrand Tavernier directs this emotionally wrenching hand-held-heavy feature about a French couple trying to adopt an orphaned Cambodian baby who find themselves having to bribe officials, fill out endless paperwork, and deal with unimaginable corruption in their quest to provide love to a needy child. Henri Texier is an incredible bassist (check out his album, target=”_blank”>Varech) and he fills this film’s soundtrack with poignant and soulful music. Here’s track 7, “Voyage a Kep”:

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and track 16, “Pagode”:

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and track 19, “Clinique Sim Duong”:

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66.) Stone Killer (1973) – Roy Budd

Superstar Charles Bronson and Director Michael Winner also collaborated on The Mechanic and Death Wish, so you know what to expect from this tale of a detective who uncovers a plot by a Sicilian mafioso to use Vietnam veterans to murder his enemies. What’s unexpected is the soundtrack, by the man who gave us the incredible Get Carter score, which is full of funky hip-hop DJ samples. Here’s the main title:

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and track 9, “Black is Beautiful”:

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65.) Oscar and Lucinda (1997) – Thomas Newman

Gillian Armstrong directs this adaptation of Australian author Peter Carey’s novel about two 1800-era misfits: Oscar, a young Anglican priest and Lucinda, a teenage Australian heiress. Both are avid gamblers, and when Lucinda bets Oscar her entire inheritance that he cannot transport a glass church to the Australian Outback, we have ourselves a story that is part Fitzcarraldo and part Don Quixote, and set to the dreamlike music of Thomas Newman, who also composed the American Beauty soundtrack, and is brother of Heathers composer David Newman, son of The Robe composer Alfred Newman, and cousin of James and the Giant Peach composer Randy Newman. Here is track 14, “Cards and Dogs”:

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and track 28, the end title:

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64.) A Walk with Love and Death (1969) - Georges Delerue

John Huston directs his 18 yr. old daughter Anjelica opposite Assaf Dyan in this fable set in France of the middle-ages, where Religion rules, the Hundred Years’ War rages, and a walk to Paris is an almost Sisyphean journey. Georges Delerue’s baroque soundtrack, filled with harpsichords, provides the beautiful backdrop. Here’s track 3, “Heron’s Journey – Theme And Variations 3″:

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and track 10, “Asleep under the Stars”:

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63.) Hero (2002) – Tan Dun

Zhang Yimou directs this glossy wire-fu martial arts epic starring superstars Jet Li, Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, Zhang Ziyi and Donnie Yen in a tale of assassination attempts and swordsmen which borrows the trope at the heart of Rashomon in this wuxia that attempts to cash in on the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon formula concocted by Ang Lee. The good news is that this means the return of composer Tan Dun, who outdoes himself, providing a beautiful score full of the wonderful sounds of Pipa. Here is track 1, “The Hero Overture”:

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and track 2, “For the World”:

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62.) The Ninth Gate (1999) – Wojciech Kilar

You thought Archaeologists were the nerdiest heroes to get involved in derring-do? Well Roman Polanski takes it one step nerdier, directing Johnny Depp as a rare book dealer appointed to investigate the authenticity of a book which may have been penned by Satan himself! Emmanuelle Seigner, Lena Olin, and Frank Langella co-star in this film based upon the novel The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, with the man who gave us the score to Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula providing the quirky, creepy music. Here’s track 3, “Corso”:

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and track 9, “Blood on his Face”:

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61.) O Lucky Man! (1973) – Alan Price

Lindsay Anderson directs Malcolm McDowell in this sprawling surrealist masterpiece which skewers capitalism as it recounts the adventures of a naive and good-natured coffee salesman in 1970’s Britain, who comes across scoundrels, con-artists, crooked authority figures, victims and sages, all products of the corrupt times. This pitch-black, must-see cult classic is set to Alan Price’s must-hear soundtrack. Here’s the title song:

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and track 2, “Poor People”:

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and track 3, “Sell Sell”:

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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).

October 18, 2010   No Comments

SCORE! The 150 greatest OST’s – pt. 8 (of 15)

80.) Gothic (1986) – Thomas Dolby

Ken Russell directs the fictionalized account of the much-ballyhooed night that Mary Shelley gave birth to the horror classic Frankenstein at Lord Byron’s manor. Ghost stories, personal horrors, fantasies and drug-induced nightmares come to life as sweet Mary is tempted by the sexual appetites of her lover Shelley and cousin Claire, while holding sway over all the evil Lord Byron toys with his guest’s souls. Starring Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands, and Natasha Richardson in her feature film debut as Mary Shelley, with a soundtrack by 80’s electronics whiz Thomas Dolby. Here’s track 5, “Party Games”:

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and track 6, “Gypsy Girl”:

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79.) Sin Nombre (2009) – Marcelo Zarvos

Written and directed by Cary Fukunaga, this film tells the stories of those seeking a better life for themselves on the trains bound for the US, as their hopes and dreams clash with the realities involved in smuggling them in. The soundtrack is somber and beautiful, full of pulsing accordion, probing guitar, and mournful strings. Here’s track 1, “The Journey”:

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and track 3, “Vera Cruz”:

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78.) Conan the Barbarian (1982) - Basil Poledouris

John Milius and Oliver Stone wrote this adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s adventure stories, which Milius directs, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones and Max von Sydow. It tells the story of the eponymous warrior searching for the evil sorcerer and leader of the Snake Cult, Thulsa Doom, the man responsible for the death of his parents. Basil Poledouris’ soundtrack is a classic, perfect for a testosterone-fueled quest for vengeance. Here’s the Prologue, narrated by the legendary Mako, which leads into “Anvil of Crom”:

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and track 6, “Theology / Civilization”:

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77.) Yellow Canary (1963) – Kenyon Hopkins

Buzz Kulik directs this Rod Serling-penned mystery which stars Pat Boone as a nightclub singer whose child is kidnapped and Barbara Eden (of TV’s I Dream of Jeannie) as his wife, with Jack Klugman as the Lieutenant in charge of the investigation. 20 years ago you’d know who all these people were. All you need to know is that the soundtrack, by Kenyon Hopkins, is full of some of the best, coolest jazz you’ve never heard. Here’s track 5, “The Spindrift”:

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and track 10, “The Menace”:

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76.) Le Passager de la Pluie [Rider on the Rain] (1970) – Francis Lai

René Clément, avid Hitchcock admirer, directs fan favorite Charles Bronson in this mystery set on the French Riviera, in which a woman shoots and kills a masked man who rapes her, dumps his body, and then out of nowhere meets a man who seems to know all about what she’s done. Bronson and co-star Marlène Jobert’s chemistry is palpable, and the odd artsy tone is not unlike the director’s own Purple Noon. Francis Lai, better known for his A Man and A Woman theme, delivers his best score ever. Here’s track 2, “Dobb’s Dualite”:

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and track 20, “Theme Mellie”:

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75.) Beetlejuice (1988) – Danny Elfman

Tim Burton’s classic horror/comedy/fantasy stars Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis as a recently deceased couple who need to exorcise the living (played by Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones and Winona Ryder) and enlist the aid of Michael Keaton’s title character to do so. It features one of prolific composer Danny Elfman’s most complete scores, full of kooky chanting, crashing crescendos, and a hint of calypso. Here’s track 2, “Travel Music”:

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and track 19, “End Credits”:

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74.) Stone (1974) - Billy Green

Sandy Harbutt stars in and directs this cult film about the Grave Diggers, a bike club whose members are being murdered one by one. Full of nudity, violence, gore and motorcycle stunts, Stone stars several actors who would later make up the core of George Miller’s Mad Max. It’s a low budget, dated exploitation movie, but like other cult Australian films (Stunt Rock, The Man From Hong Kong) it’s got that unique Aussie brand of fun (check out Mark Hartley’s Not Quite Hollywood for more info). The soundtrack is eclectic and zany, full of didgeridoos, funky wah-wah, and even some crazy banjo, like on track 2, “Septic”:

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and track 12, “Stone”:

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73.) Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971) – Marc Wilkinson

Piers Haggard directs this low-budget horror film set in 17th century England about a farmer who unearths inhuman, fur-covered remains that seem to cause the townsfolk commit horrific acts, and may have something to do with the satanic rituals the town children begin performing in a desecrated church in the woods. Atmospheric and beautifully shot, the performances are strong, including Patrick Wymark’s, who died soon after. The soundtrack is creepy and elegant, befitting such a sophisticated take on witchcraft. Here’s track 9, “Mark Alone”:

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and track 21, “Ralph Chops Tree”:

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72.) Les Gants Blancs Du Diable (1973) – Karl-Heinz Schäfer

Karl Heinz Schäfer’s moody, psychedelic score for László Szabó’s rarely seen crime drama (which translates to White Gloves of the Devil) features some inventive instrumentation and is a mixture of soothing and startling sounds that make me wonder what the movie which accompanies them might be like. You can do the same as you listen to track 1, “La Victime”:

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and track 3, “Kidnapping”:

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and track 7, “La Couleur Des Yeux”:

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71.) Himalaya (1999) – Bruno Coulais

Eric Valli directs this tale of an aging Nepalese chief whose only son dies returning from Tibet’s salt lakes, and who blames Karma, his son’s friend, for the death, refusing to make him the new chief in his son’s place. What follows is a battle of wills and a glimpse into the inner politics of a group we don’t get to see much, all set to the sounds of traditional singing arranged by Coulais. It was a difficult choice, as I also love his soundtrack to Coraline, but this score got the nod for it’s sheer unadulterated beauty. Here’s track 6, “The Night”:

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and track 9, “The Songs”:

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and track 11, “Karma”:

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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).

October 11, 2010   No Comments

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