The L.A.M.Blog_A_Thon kicks off this month with the theme "Who are you thankful for?", the idea being to show some appreciation for film professionals other than actors and directors. I've decided to focus on the people behind the music in movies.
It seems impossible to talk about movie music without mentioning John Williams. He's well-known, well-respected, and has written some very beautiful film scores. The musical themes Williams creates are memorable and always seem to strike the right emotional chord. Can you think of an Indiana Jones movie without having the music come to mind? I know I can't. Superman and Jurassic Park also have instantly recognizable themes. And can you imagine the Star Wars universe without the John Williams score? Funky 70s music could have easily sent the first film into camp instead of classic, but the music John Williams composed elevates the whole thing. Williams can also do a lot with only a few notes, as proved by Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I also love the music from Catch Me if You Can. Sample it in the wonderfully stylized opening title sequence.
Another film composer I like is Henry Mancini. He's probably best known for The Pink Panther's jazzy theme and Breakfast at Tiffany's "Moon River". For the latter he had the lyrical help of Johnny Mercer, who also penned the words to Mancini's "Charade" and "Days of Wine and Roses".
Johnny Mercer is probably my favorite lyricist ever. His songs show he really loved language, playing with words for some very clever lines. In addition to the songs mentioned above that he did with Mancini, he also wrote the words for many other great songs used in movies. Credit him for the lyrics to: "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening", "Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive", "Blues in the Night", "Hooray for Hollywood", "Too Marvelous for Words", "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby", "Come Rain or Come Shine", "Jeepers Creepers", "One For My Baby (and One More For the Road)", "Laura", and all the songs in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. He wrote both words and music for "Something's Gotta Give", "Dream (When You're Feeling Blue)", and "I'm an Old Cowhand". Although many of these songs were written for old movies, a quick look at Mercer's imdb page shows that his work has withstood the test of time, as his songs are still showing up in movies today. Way to go, Johnny.
While great movies need great writers, actors and directors, great music can really become an essential part of a film and enhance the movie-watching experience. So I'm grateful for movie music and the talented people that make it happen.
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