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SCORE: A FILM MUSIC DOCUMENTARY

Score is the result of many years’ effort. Matt Schrader has been building a library of conversations with film composers, which he has compiled in a book and a two-disc DVD set. I find it remarkable that from this mountain of material he has been able to craft such a cohesive and fascinating film. (Full disclosure: I am one of his interviewees, but I had nothing to do with his editorial judgment.)

A primer on the history of the subject is provided by several “talking heads” including such experts as Jon Burlingame and Richard Kraft. For the modern era, almost everyone you would want to see and hear from is represented, from Hans Zimmer to Danny Elfman. (There is also great archival footage of John Williams working with Steven Spielberg.) Schrader doesn’t miss a beat (pun intended): his eloquent subjects include Randy Newman, Alexandre Desplat, Thomas Newman, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, John Debney, and Marco Beltrami.

What’s more, Schrader takes us inside several scoring sessions, in London and Los Angeles. These are usually off-limits to camera crews and it is genuinely exciting to get a taste of what it’s like for the conductors, composers and musicians who participate in them.

I would recommend Score: A Film Music Documentary to any and every film buff. It has already opened in Manhattan at the Quad Cinema and begins its Los Angeles run today at the Arclight Sherman Oaks. To learn more, click HERE

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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