By: Oberst Von Berauscht
Some movies are infinitely overshadowed by the awesome music made for it. These are some of my favorite examples.
The concept of immortal beings locked in a centuries-old struggle of Good vs. Evil is admittedly intriguing, however this film was hurt by a terrible script which veers wildly between serious thriller and comedic self-parody. If it weren’t for two very important factors, I’m certain that Highlander would have languished in cult obscurity. At the time this film came out, Queen’s record sales in the states were on the decline, but Highlander gave the band a much-needed creative boost, and the result are some of their best songs of their career. The second factor is Sean Connery…
Obligatory Zardoz image
This score by composer Ernest Gold is such a powerful piece that it completely elevates the otherwise rather mediocre film to excellence. This 1960 epic about the founding of Israel in the late 40′s is a story on the grandest of scales. It caused a great deal of controversy upon its release for its ambiguous stance on terrorism. While some of the Israeli Nationalists are seen in the film as overzealous fanatics, others are depicted as glorious freedom-fighters pursuing a righteous cause. The only feature shown to separate the two appears to be that the fanatics are actively trying to kill people, while the “freedom fighters” will only kill if someone is in the way.
The film’s biggest mistake is in choosing for its main character an outsider, an American Christian woman (Played by Eva Marie Saint). Her character is perhaps the least interesting protagonist in film history, utterly failing to be interesting in any way. As it happens though, the side-plots in the film are far more interesting, and make it worth a watch. The film is historically and culturally important though, as it is a great time-capsule for how America saw Middle Eastern Politics in the late 50′s early 60′s.
(3) The Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles’ follow-up to the duel box-office successes of A Hard Days Night and Help! was a made for television film directed by the band themselves (More specifically, Paul McCartney). Ostensibly a story about a group of tourists on a wacky bus tour of the English Countryside, The Magical Mystery Tour is an incoherent mess of a film, interspersed with occasionally inspired music-video sequences. The soundtrack, on the other hand, was released in the United States with all the film’s songs, plus a bunch of singles and B-sides that were previously unavailable in one place. The result plays a lot like a Greatest hits album; not bad for a failed project. In an interview conducted for the 1995 Beatles Anthology documentary Paul McCartney defended the film as “The only place you can see the music video for ‘I am the Walrus’”. Thanks to the miracle of the internet however, this is no longer true, so enjoy the only “great” part of the movie.
(2) Star Wars Episode 1
Much has been already said about how totally wrong-headed this movie was, to the point where its very mention is responsible for PTSD symptoms in 8 out of every 10 film Nerds. I’ll spare you the gory details, and actually state something positive for once. John William’s score for this fourth official entry into the Star Wars franchise is a work of sheer brilliance. Leaving out the Star Wars theme song, who could argue with the many various emotions which are brought about by this piece?
It almost sounds like John Williams knew he was going to be the only one pulling any creative weight, so he overcompensated by delivering a show-stopper far more inspired than any visual Lucas was able to conjure.
(1) One from the Heart
Francis Ford Coppola’s epic musical featured stunning visuals, a bloated budget, and is famous for absolutely failing to connect with audiences or critics. Along with Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate, One from the Heart is widely credited as the films that brought an end to the era of unprecedented creative freedom known as “New Hollywood”. With that said, the soundtrack written and performed by Tom Waits alongside Crystal Gayle is a work of a true musical craftsman. While the album doesn’t begin to hint at the wild and inventive direction his career would take a few years later on Swordfishtrombones, it was a cohesive work that bested much of his earlier recordings. In hindsight, perhaps Waits was looking for an opportunity to deliver his Swan Song under his “3-day Bourbon Drunk Lounge Singer” persona, before turning towards his new direction.
“Psychotic Carny Barker” is the best description
Can you think of a something I missed?
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Also, allow me to suggest a few of our other “fancy” articles: