Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Archive for November 10, 2011

Ennio Morricone

Ennio Morricone, (born November 10, 1928) is an Italian composer and conductor. Ennio Morricone was born in Rome, the son of Libera and Mario Morricone, a jazz trumpeter. Ennio wrote his first compositions when he was six years old and was encouraged to develop his natural talents.

For over half a century he has composed music for more than 400 motion pictures including some award-winning film scores as well as several symphonic and choral pieces. He wrote the characteristic film scores of Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns: ‘A Fistfull of Dollars’ (1964), ‘For a Few Dollars More’ (1965), ‘The Good, the Bad & the Ugly’ (1966) and ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ (1968). In the 80s and 90s, Morricone composed the considerable scores for Leone’s ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ (1984), Roland Joffe’s ‘The Mission’ (1986), Brian De Palma’s ‘The Untouchables’ (1987), Franco Zeffirelli’s ‘Hamlet’ (1990), as well as ‘Cinema Paradiso’ (1988) and ‘The Legend of 1900’ (1998).

With the score of ‘A Fistfull of Dollars’, Morricone began his 10-year collaboration with his childhood friend Allesandro Alessandroni and his Cantori Moderni. Alessandroni provided the whistling and the twanging
guitar on the film scores, while his Cantori Moderni were a flexible troupe of modern singers. Morricone specifically exploited the solo soprano of the group, Edda Dell’Orso, at the height of her powers—”an extraordinary voice at my disposal”.

Most of Morricone’s film scores of the 1960s were composed outside the Spaghetti Western genre, while still using Alessandroni’s team. Their music included the themes for Il Malamondo (1964), Slalom (1965), The Battle of Algiers (1965), and Listen, Let’s Make Love (1967). In 1968, Morricone reduced his work outside
the movie business and wrote scores for 20 films in the same year. The scores included psychedelic accompaniment for Mario Bava’s superhero romp ‘Danger: Diabolik’ (1968). The next year marked the
start of a series of evocative scores for Dario Argento’s stylized thrillers, including ‘The Bird with the Crystal Plummage’ (1969), ‘The Cat o’ Nine Tails’ (1971), and ‘Four Flies on Grey Velvet’ (1974).

In 1982, Morricone composed the score for John Carpenter’s science-fiction/horror movie ‘The Thing’ (1982) as well as Brian De Palma’s ‘Casualties of War’ (1989).

Morricone has received two Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, five BAFTA’s during 1979–1992, seven David di Donatello, eight Nastro d’Argento, and the Polar Music Prize in 2010. He received his first Academy Award nomination in 1979, for the score to ‘Days of Heaven’ (Terence Malik, 1978). He was later nominated for a further two awards; in 1986 for ‘The Mission’ and in 1987 for ‘The Untouchables’. He later nominated for the score to  ‘Bugsy’ (Barry Levinson, 1991). His last nomination was for ‘Malena’ (2000). In 2007, he received the Academy Honorary Award “for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music”. The composer also has been nominated for five Oscars in the category of Best Original Score during 1979–2001, but has never won competitively, which is typical of the Academy as they have proven time and again to be short sighted, insular and riddled with nepotism…


Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale – Trailer

With Halloween over, it’s time to move on to Christmas (at least in the store windows). What better way to celebrate the festive season than a Christmas movie..? Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. The Finnish film from director Jalmari Helander is about an archaeological dig that unearths the real Santa Claus. And Santa is not a very jolly fellow… now available on Blu-Ray and DVD.


Hannibal & the Munsters – New TV from NBC

Bryan Fuller may have two series on NBC; the man behing ‘Pushing Daisies’ is behind two high-profile projects, The Munsters and Hannibal, both of them on a script-to-series track. Fuller originally developed a reboot of the 1960s comedy series The Munsters last season and his was one of very few scripts new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt kept in play when he took over the network in January. Greenblatt rolled the project to get it redeveloped by his team. Fuller’s new outline submitted in September was received well (it was the talk of NBC’s pre-Emmy party), and his draft was just delivered last Friday.

Word is that NBC, which may pull the trigger on a series order as early as this week, envisions the new Munsters as a potential summer or event series. Like Fuller’s previous series, Pushing Daisies, the  project features striking visuals mixed with all the classic Munsters archetypes. Grandpa Sam Dracula is essentially Dracula who assembled Herman because no man was good enought for his daughter Lily, a sexy vamp. Lily’s niece Marilyn the freak is actually normal and Lily and Herman’s only child, Eddie, has his werewolf tendencies surface in puberty, forcing the family to relocate to their famous 1313 Mockingbird Lane address.

Separately, Fuller is writing Hannibal, a drama series for Gaumont International Television and producer Martha De Laurentiis, which NBC just bought preemptively. Fuller is writing the script about based on the iconic literary and film character Hannibal  Lecter against a 13-episode commitment, meaning that  the script will trigger a 13-episode series if NBC likes it. (NBC has a short window to decide upon receiving the draft, with a potential release triggering a penalty.) I hear the network first got interested in the project when Fuller  mentioned it casually to the network’s new entertainment president  Jennifer Salke over drinks. A well-known foodie as evidenced by Pushing Daisies, apparently Fuller was attracted to the dark, sick side of Hannibal, who tends to feast on his victims.