As stated in my “Brief Exposition on Movie Music”, there is more to movie music than just a traditional score. There is also the incorporation of classical place-setters and the addition of music-and-lyric type songs (whether they be original or recycled, diegetic or non-diegetic). So, while my recent reviews on Gone With the Wind and Wuthering Heights have led me to spend some extra time on the great scores and composers of moviedom, it is still requisite that we journey through movie songs on our quest for film competence. And, considering our last two reviews of American movies from 1939 will be particularly important when it comes to this very topic, the divulgence into these lists seems all the more important. These movies are, The Wizard of Oz and, to a lesser extent, The Roaring Twenties. So, like we did with the lists on traditional movie score, we will begin with a list on the writers of this great music. Enjoy!
*Note: special thanks to Chow Kim Wan, a commenter, who made a couple corrections on my 1990s Disney songwriters. There were some inaccuracies. They have since been updated.
I just wrote a brief review of Holiday Inn, Mark Sandrich’s famous musical of 1942 starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Before you read this review, you have to read that review. This is because the substance of this review will be founded on important topics that I brought up in that one. The greatness of White Christmas lies not in the fact that it is a sweet or uplifting holiday classic. It is found, first and foremost, in an examination of its place in history and its position as a piece of cinema in juxtaposition with the films that preceded it. One of the great criticisms of White Christmas is that it is just “a pleasant little piece of fluff trying to capitalize on past accomplishments.” (So wrote Movie Metropolis’ John J. Puccio.) But, it is far less a consumerist attempt to spin-off of an older masterpiece than it is a completion of the tale left untold; it is, in essence, the post-war companion piece to its war-time counterpart. Continue reading →
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were in a lot of movies together, the best of which were Swing Time and Top Hat. It was on the set of Top Hat that Astaire first heard the melody that would become “White Christmas.” The tune was hummed to him by one of the great songwriting masters of the 1930s and 1940s, Irving Berlin, who was the chief songwriter for the film. Astaire was instantly smitten by the melody. The song, however, didn’t make the final cut for Top Hat. Continue reading →