THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN: Composer Simon Franglen takes James Horner for a final ride – Interview

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN soundtrack | ©2016 Sony Classical Records

Few fans were aware of James Horner’s taste for daredevil thrills that made the soft-spoken composer rival just about any of the action heroes he scored. When Horner’s plane crashed into the desert far outside of Hollywood, a legion of admirers were at first astonished to find out how he perished, then swiftly overcome by the shockwave of just what the sudden loss of one of modern film scoring’s most notable signature voices meant. For where so many of Horner’s compatriots had fallen to the wayside over the decades when he first came to the fore, Horner had been on […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE BETSY soundtrack

THE BETSY soundtrack | ©2014 Prometheus Records

John Barry could give even the trashiest movies a sense of rose-smelling class, especially when the pot was boiling over with a stew of upper class behavior involving the usual assortment of sex, murder and business chicanery – as centering around a clean-burning car engine called THE BETSY of all names. Such was the title that author Harold Robbins bestowed to this fun, Mr. Skin-worthy cinematic adaptation of his critically ta-ta’d brand of wealthily randy literature. Sure Barry might have been given a bit of cheese to work with in1978 between this, STARCRASH and GAME OF DEATH. But the big […]Read On »

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CD Review: MISTER MOSES soundtrack

MISTER MOSES soundtrack | ©2014 Prometheus Records

After doing numerous re-performances of John Barry’s work through the years with LION IN THE WINTER, ROBIN AND MARIAN and an especially spectacular resurrection from the deep of RAISE THE TITANIC, the team of producer James Fitzpatrick, conductor Nic Raine and the now-stellar performers of The City of Prague Philharmonic take another trek with the composer’s sprit into what’s arguably his most successful continent. But where the themes for his furious jungle drumming, sweeping romance and brassy adventure of  ZULU and his Oscar-winning scores to BORN FREE and OUT OF AFRICA can be recalled by audiences the world over, 1965s […]Read On »

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CD Review: BODY HEAT soundtrack

BODY HEAT soundtrack | ©2012 Film Score Monthly

Few composers personify all things sex like John Barry. Not just the carnal act, but the romance and burning desire. It’s scoring as skin on skin, pure pleasure made through the jazzily lush fusion of brass and strings. When listening to this composer’s classic Kama Sutra, there’s no chapter that captures this mix of eroticism, emotion and danger with the sensuality of 1981’s BODY HEAT. Lawrence Kasdan made a surprising move from penning the PG likes of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK to writing and directing this then temperature-raising R update of classic 40s-style film […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE WRONG BOX soundtrack

THE WRONG BOX soundtrack | ©2011 Intrada Records

By 1966, John Barry was fully into the action swing of 007, the dark dramas of THE CHASE and KING RAT, as well as raising a female lion that would win him his first Oscar for BORN FREE. Far less known, but equally impressive was Barry’s talent for very British comedy, whether it was accompanying the jazzy woman chaser of THE KNACK or providing lethal gas for  THEY ALL DIED LAUGHING. THE WRONG BOX provided Barry with another black-humored romp as the last surviving members of an aristocratic class wait to see who’ll be the last man standing, and inherit […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE BLACK HOLE soundtrack

THE BLACK HOLE soundtrack | ©2011 Intrada Records

Where Disney turned to Jules Verne for their trailblazing sci-fi magnum opus in 1953 with 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, THE BLACK HOLE sought to tap into the renewed space craze brought on by George Lucas’ STAR WARS. But instead of battling starships, the big difference here was that laser blasts, rolling meteors and robotic mayhem would mostly occur within the awe-striking confines of one mighty spaceship named the U.S.S. Cygnus. Piloting it far less sympathetically than Captain Nemo (if not without a unhinged commanding presence) is Dr. Hans Reinhardt (played with always-eccentric élan by Maximillian Schell), who gives no […]Read On »

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CD review: THE GOLDEN CHILD soundtrack (3,000 limited edition)

THE GOLDEN CHILD soundtrack | ©2011 La La Land Records

After putting out a 3-CD set of Basil Poledouris’ numerous pit stops towards ultimately “fixing” his score for the Kurt Russell classic BREAKDOWN, La La Land goes the troubled creative process one better by releasing a second triple album that charts another Paramount movie’s long road to its final score. This time it’s both John Barry’s elegant, tossed work, along with Michel Colombier’s final, and far funkier soundtrack for Eddie Murphy’s THE GOLDEN CHILD– a far less-regarded star vehicle that’s foremost a winner for soundtrack fans as the discs contrast two disparate musical approaches. Using John Barry’s slow, jazzily elegant […]Read On »

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CD Review: THE KNACK original soundtrack (1,000 edition)

THE KNACK original soundtrack | ©2011 Quartet Records

John Barry was surely one composer who had this score’s titular gift as he prowled swinging 60’s London with best mate Michael Caine. So it’s a given that his score for this surreal 1965 film about a lad hunting for English birds would get the clever, lush bounce that Barry used to impress an audience far bigger than the era’s lovely ladies. Arguably the best score to make use of the composer’s free-style jazz origins with The John Barry Seven, and definitely more mature than the sexed-up teen pop energy he gave to his first score for BEAT GIRL, THE […]Read On »

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In Remembrance: The 10 Best Scores of Composer John Barry

John Barry - THE CONCERT

If the theme’s the thing in film scoring, then the passing of  composer John Barry Sunday at age 77  represents the true end of unabashed, symphonic lyricism. There were few composers who had his way with melody. Even the most explosive action of Barry’s Bond scores had a slow, hypnotically seductive rhythm. It was a lyricism that made generations fall in love, not only with their dates in the darkened theater, but with the lush possibility of film music itself. And that was just fine for Barry, who like so many of us, spent the better part of his youth […]Read On »

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