Imagine being the first person at the turn of the 20th
century to have the brilliant idea to couple those old
nickelodeon pictures with music. Think back at how
satisfying that moment of eureka must have been. Ever
since that day, music has found a comfortable and
exciting niche in the home of motion pictures which
should really be referred to musical motion pictures or
motion pictures with musical accompaniment.
Charlie Chaplin and Buster
Keaton made the first popular silent films by utilizing
music as if it were their dialogue. Music accelerated
the rhythm of the film, accentuated the comedic beats,
it lingered on the sadness and it wrapped every
emotional scene in a nice little bow.
Through time, some movies
have seen a tremendous amount of success more because of
their music than the acting or directing or anything
else for that matter. A great example is one of Steven
Spielberg's earlier efforts Jaws. "It was the music that
really made the movie... every time you heard the babam
babam, you could imagine the shark biting off the
swimmer's leg. It was ingenious." Another favorite
horror film that used music in such a way was Alfred
Hitchcock class "Psycho."
Ennio Morricone, is one of
the most prolific musical composers for film. He has
been nominated for the academy award over eleven times,
but he has never received the gold. His films are
characterized by a strong sense of music that fills in
the gap wherever the writing lacks. In Once Upon a Time
in the West, Sergio Leone recounts how Morricone
composed a unique piece for each character and how that
music would play in different variations every time the
master character would enter the scene.
Morricone is also responsible
for the music in Once Upon a time in America, The Good,
the Bad and the Ugly, Malena.
John Williams is Morricone's
American equivalent and while the previous concentrated
on sweeping love themes, Williams had sensibilities
leaning towards the action-adventure genres. He composed
the well-remembered themes for Indiana Jones, Superman,
and Star Wars.
more contemporary times, films like American Beauty,
Million Dollar Baby or Machiavelli Hangman (http://www.hangmanmovie.com)
have offered a new trend of musical flavors ranging from
simple acoustics to just drums creating a strong new
breath of originality. Whatever the case may as long as
filmmakers understand and use the power of music, their
films will only be better off because of it.