Shoot Movies

Retroist Scoreboard: They shoot movies, don’t they? (4-12-17)

Soundtrack fans, saddle up for a return to the wild west, as La-La Land Records has a real treat this week: the complete Elmer Bernstein score, as heard on screen, from 1965’s classic John Wayne/Dean Martin western The Sons Of Katie Elder. Though there have been soundtrack releases from this film before, they have been suites or re-recordings, and not the original 1965 studio recordings used to score the film, and they’ve been nowhere near complete. And you’d better be ready to round this one up fast: La-La Land is only pressing 1500 copies.
Shoot Movies - The Sons of Katie Elder

And while you’re at it, La-La Land is making it easy to start a soundtrack stampede in your collection, dropping the soundtracks from Rio Lobo, Stagecoach, The Shootist, Bandolero, and Take A Hard Ride to $10 each through April 23rd. That, my fellow bad hombres, is enough of a steal to make you feel like a real bandito.

Varese Sarabande isn’t rolling out any new titles this week, but they are having an ongoing sale on some classics, including John Williams’ Family Plot, Jerry Goldsmith’s score from The Red Pony, Henry Mancini’s music from Who Is Killing The Great Chefs Of Europe?, and even the great Bernard Hermann’s music from TV’s The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

Classic video game soundtracks hitting vinyl seems to be a thing these days – why tickle just one retro gene when you could tickle them all at the same time? – and in that spirit, Brave Wave is rolling out the full soundtrack from Ninja Gaiden, as heard both on the NES and in the arcade, across two volumes, available on CD, vinyl, and iTunes downloads. Composed by Keiji Yamagishi, Mikio Saito, and Ryuichi Nitta, this is iconic game music given a grand treatment; the second volume, in fact, boasts the first-ever official release of the music from Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom.

European label Quartet Records is also getting in on the vintage western action, releasing a freshly remastered CD of John Barry’s score from the 1977 Charles Bronson movie The White Buffalo, but that’s not the big surprise of this release. The big surprise is that the album producers unearthed the movie’s original score, composed by David Shire and rejected by the studio and director, on the grounds that it was too modern for the movie’s setting, resulting in a late rush to hire Barry to rescore the picture. But was the studio right? Now you can judge for yourself – both scores are presented here in their entirety.

And while it may not be retro, I can’t resist the plot setup of the new Anne Hathaway flick, Colossal.

[Via] JoBlo Movie Trailers

What makes it even more irresistible is that it’s been scored by Bear McCreary, of 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Walking Dead, Outlander, Battlestar Galactica and Agents of SHIELD fame. McCreary really is one of your author’s favorite current composers, and I’m really looking forward to his score from Colossal, which should be hitting the download services as we speak.

One of 2017’s most hotly anticipated releases is just waiting in the wings, and hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to drop some news on you about a soundtrack box set suitable for a heroine wearing satin tights while fighting for her rights. One also hears there’s music on the way from the most recent season of a show which assures us, repeatedly, that the truth is out there.

Until then, friends, it’s time for the final installment of the Retroist Scoreboard Glossary, putting all of the lingo of this wonderful hobby on the table at your disposal, so you know what you’re hearing, and how you’re getting to hear it. Hopefully this has been useful to budding fellow soundtrack enthusiasts.

The Retroist Scoreboard Glossary: what’s in a soundtrack?
Dialogue – it’s hard to do a movie without dialogue, but sometimes the producers of soundtrack albums feel that dialogue from the movie needs to be mixed into the music (instances of this include the original release of Queen’s Flash Gordon and the mixed score/songtrack album for Apollo 13). Opinions among film music enthusiasts vary wildly as to the merits of doing this, but the prevailing wind seems to favor not mixing dialogue in with music. Get three or four soundtrack collectors in one room, however, and you’re likely to hear a dissenting opinion.

Entr’acte – the older brother of the overture, the entr’acte is a piece of music dating back to when movies, particularly lengthy ones, featured an intermission. Sometimes music would play during the intermission (and sometimes it wouldn’t), but a piece of music called the entr’acte would notify the audience that the intermission is nearly over. Like the overture, the entr’acte was an opportunity for the composer to show their chops without competing with a sound mix or dialogue. While the overture could be found hanging around into the late 1970s, the entr’acte has fallen out of use (along with the intermission…). Movies with entr’actes include Ben-Hur and Ice Station Zebra; DVD and Blu-Ray releases often omit the entr’acte (…because who needs an intermission when you’ve got a pause button?), so music specially composed for the entr’acte is often lost to history unless it appears on a soundtrack release.

Overture – seldom used in the Modern Age of movies or film scoring, the overture is a piece of music played before a movie begins, prior to the opening credits, frequently summing up some highlights of the score before the audience has heard those highlights in context. It was a rare chance for film music composers to shine without having to compete against the rest of the movie’s sound mix. Overtures can still be found in movies as recent as Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Black Hole (both released in 1979).

Score – the instrumental underscore of a movie, television show, or game. Unlike source music, the characters in a movie do not hear the score, leaving the music to act as something of a Greek chorus conveying emotions or other meaning directly to the audience. The Academy Awards specifically separate Oscar awards for best song and best score. Some collectors – myself included – will use “score” and “soundtrack” interchangeably, though commercially released soundtracks may be more akin to a songtrack.

Soundtrack – in purely technical terms, this is the full sound mix of any movie or television show, including music, dialogue, and effects – the literal sound track adjacent to the picture on a film distributed to theaters. (As such, many an older soundtrack release is labeled as “music from the original motion picture soundtrack”.) In soundtrack collectors’ parlance, of course, a soundtrack is simply the music from a movie, though a soundtrack producer may decide there’s a reason to include dialogue as well.

Saturday Frights: Return to Supermans

Saturday-Frights-Sean-Hartter

Normally in this space I’d be crackin’ wise and offerin’ up the kind of colorful commentary that only the ol’ Ouija Board Kid can…but this time it isn’t going to be necessary. Ya see my creeps, the folks over at Channel 101 have created such a pitch perfect recreation of the wonders of terrifically terrible Turkish cinema that I don’t want to keep you from watchin’ this for one second longer! So here it is; Return to Supermans!!!

return-to-supermans

James Arness 1923-2011

Friends, dim the lights a little in your living room because we’ve learned that TV Legend, James Arness, passed away yesterday.

How awesome must it have been to have your very first episode be introduced by John Wayne? A huge thanks to the Gunsmoke channel over on YouTube for this treat!

Now the first time I ever saw James Arness was as the titular alien ‘carrot’ being, the Thing From Another World!

James Arness was 88 years old, surviving his brother Peter Graves by 15 months. Arness played the role of Marshal Matt Dillion from 1955 to 1975 and even though his friend, John Wayne, suggested him for the part he almost didn’t take it. As his career in motion pictures was gaining steam he was worried that the only TV westerns to crack the top market were the Lone Ranger and the Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, it didn’t seem like a path he wanted to travel, buy Wayne convinced him to change his mind and agreed to introduce the first episode.

The Green Berets on Blu-Ray

green berets blu ray

OK, I would like to go record as saying that I am a fan of John Wayne. I know it is not a popular fanboy statement, but I just enjoy watching him on screen. Always have and always will. I would say that I have probably seen all of the Duke’s films, but “The Green Berets” was never one of my favorites, yet I had only seen it once. Not being satisfied with that assessment of that film, I had always been meaning to re-watch it. What better excuse to do so then its release on HD Blu-Ray. Perhaps I had misjudged the film.

After watching it, I have to say that I am less turned off by the film and more fascinated by it. The film was made at a time before American’s dislike of the Vietnam War had fully galvanized and this film, which was meant to bolster the war effort, is a slice of Wartime American not seen since the days of WWII films. The film is so blatantly over the top pro-war that it is a fascinating train wreck that almost seems tongue in cheek.

The film was shot in Georgia, so it looks nothing like what popular representations of Vietnam look like, but the landscape and the spectacle of faux war look great at 1080p. The audio sounds great on my home setup and in addition to English, you can also choose to hear the film in French or Spanish.

Here are some shots from the film:

The release is light on extras, containing only a “Making-of” Featurette and the Theatrical Trailer, both of which are presented in standard definition. I would have enjoyed seeing some interviews with modern critics of the film or maybe some audio commentary.

“The Green Berets” is oddly compelling. Made to try an get Americans to rally around the war effort, the movie sometimes comes across as a parody of that effort. It is only fitting that John Wayne, America’s anti-anti-hero, be at the center of the film. The Duke’s star was fading as was America’s blindness to a war they did not believe in. If set in a World War II, the movie would just another well made Wayne vehicle, but because it was set during the Vietnam era, it will act as a constant reminder of the collision of two America and the turbulent times that would follow. You can pick up The Green Berets [Blu-ray] at Amazon.