Film RadarFilm Radar

advertisement

advertise with Film Radar

A CENTENNIAL TRIBUTE TO COMPOSER BERNARD HERRMANN

Synopsis:

THURSDAY, JUNE 23RD TO THURSDAY, JUNE 30TH

One of the most important and influential composers to set music to celluloid, Bernard Herrmann (1911 - 1975) indelibly heightened many of film's greatest images with his profoundly affecting scores, which ranged with spellbinding virtuoso from joltingly terrifying to achingly wistful. Herrmann is most frequently and notably associated with suspense maestro Alfred Hitchcock, with whom he collaborated on a substantial number of essential films. The screeching, dagger-like violins that horrifically punctuate the shower scene in PSYCHO (and somewhat unjustly upstage the smoothly careening brilliance of the rest of the film's score) are the creative work of Herrmann, as are the swelling, melancholic movements that make VERTIGO a film of realized obsession.

Yet Herrmann's work extends well beyond the realm of the Hitch, including scores for two of Orson Welles' most brilliant works, CITIZEN KANE and THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, Nicholas Ray's snow-blanketed gem ON DANGEROUS GROUND and Martin Scorsese's methodically scorching neo-noir TAXI DRIVER - for which Herrmann's slow-burning, jazz-inflected score is perfect. Perhaps because of his resolute insistence on zero director interference in the scoring process (an insistence that would ultimately lead him and Hitchcock to irrevocably part ways), Herrmann subscribed to the belief that the best film music should be able to stand alone as music in its own right. This philosophy is absolutely apparent in Herrmann's work, as his pieces are as thrilling to the ear as they are harmonious with the cinematic image.

Join us for a tribute to the career of Bernard Herrmann, including CAPE FEAR, OBSESSION, MARNIE and HANGOVER SQUARE.

THURSDAY, JUNE 23RD AT 7:30PM

CAPE FEAR
Dir. J. Lee Thompson
1962, Universal, 106 min, USA

Gregory Peck is an ordinary family man terrorized by psychotic ex-con Robert Mitchum in this adaptation of John D. MacDonald’s THE EXECUTIONERS. A classic Bernard Herrmann score drives this relentless thriller, a finely tuned suspense piece that was remade by Martin Scorsese in 1991.




ON DANGEROUS GROUND
Dir. Nicholas Ray
1951, Warner Bros., 82 min, USA

Violent, embittered metro cop Jim Wilson (Robert Ryan) gets sent upstate to cool off and investigate a small-town murder probe. The search leads him to a fateful confrontation with local blind woman Mary (Ida Lupino, magnificent) and his own black heart. Sterling contributions all around: writer A.I. Bezzerides’ savvy script, Ray’s vigorous direction and location shooting, Bernard Herrmann’s alternately brassy and soft score and Ryan’s ferocious performance make this one of the genre’s most affecting statements about anger and alienation in the big city.



FRIDAY, JUNE 24TH AT 7:30PM

25-year-old director Orson Welles' debut masterpiece CITIZEN KANE also gave 30-year-old composer Bernard Herrmann his first chance to score a film; the two continued their collaboration with the next year's follow-up, THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS.

Herrmann on working on CITIZEN KANE: "I was given 12 weeks to do my job. I worked on the film reel by reel, as it was being shot and cut. In this way I had a sense of the picture being built and of my own music being part of that building. Many of the sequences were actually tailored to match the music."

CITIZEN KANE
Dir. Orson Welles
1941, Warner Bros., 119 min, USA

Orson Welles was only 25 when he directed this masterpiece, and it remains one of the most phenomenal motion pictures ever made. Welles, of course, also stars as Charles Foster Kane, a ruthless man who built a newspaper publishing empire and a character supposedly modeled after the real-life William Randolph Hearst. Trailblazing in so many respects, from Gregg Toland’s complex camera and lighting to Bernard Herrmann’s score to one of the finest ensemble casts (including Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloane and Agnes Moorehead) ever assembled. With an Academy Award-winning script by Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz.




THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS
Dir. Orson Welles
1942, Warner Bros., 88 min, USA

Director Orson Welles' poetic, tragic adaptation of Booth Tarkington's novel, centering on the fall of one wealthy family, with Stanley Cortez's dynamic camerawork providing a panorama of turn-of-the-century America and the decay of the old aristocracy.



SUNDAY, JUNE 26TH AT 7:30PM

VERTIGO
Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
1958, Universal, 128 min.

Detective Scotty Ferguson (James Stewart) becomes obsessed with the seemingly possessed Madeleine (Kim Novak) he is hired to follow, and tragedy ensues. When he later stumbles upon Judy (also played by Novack), a young woman who bears a striking resemblance to Madeleine, Scotty’s desire to literally re-create his lost love spirals out of control.





WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29TH AT 7:30PM

OBSESSION
Dir. Brian De Palma
1976, Sony Repertory, 98 min.

Cliff Robertson is haunted by the death of his wife and daughter following a botched kidnapping, but he gets a shot at redemption when he meets a new woman (Genevieve Bujold) with an uncanny resemblance to his dead spouse. Screenwriter Paul Schrader and director Brian De Palma pay glorious homage to the work of Alfred Hitchcock with this romantic, hallucinatory thriller, which includes one of Bernard Herrmann's best scores - one that builds upon and possibly even tops his classic work with the Master of Suspense himself.




MARNIE
Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
1964, Universal, 130 min, USA

Wealthy Mark Rutland (Sean Connery)’s erotic obsession with thief Marnie (Tippi Hedren) gradually evolves into full-fledged but excessively manipulative love as he tries to "help" her overcome a past trauma.





THURSDAY, JUNE 30TH AT 7:30PM

In these two films scored by Bernard Herrmann, listen for the dagger-like violins punctuating the shower scene in PSYCHO, and Herrmann's "Concerto Macabre" in HANGOVER SQUARE.

PSYCHO
Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
1960, Universal, 109 min, USA

Coming off the comparatively big budget NORTH BY NORTHWEST, director Alfred Hitchcock decided he wanted to make a nice little, low-budget black-and-white film for a change of pace. This was the result, and the shock waves are still reverberating. Lovely embezzler Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) takes refuge from a rainstorm off the beaten track on a lonely California highway. Unfortunately, she checks in at the Bates Motel, presided over by young Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a strange fellow living with his mother in a nearby mansion. Hitchcock used the small crew from his popular TV show for this hair-raising example of California Gothic, and it remains one of the most influential chillers ever made. With Vera Miles and John Gavin.




HANGOVER SQUARE
Dir. John Brahm
1945, 20th Century Fox, 77 min.

Perhaps the best 1940s thriller that no one has ever seen. Laird Cregar is memorable as a Victorian-era composer beset by blackouts. Is he also a marauding murderer? His passion for luscious singer Linda Darnell inspires betrayal, revenge - and the climactic "Concerto Macabre," one of composer Bernard Herrmann's most thrilling pieces of music.





 

Genre:

Other