Ennio: 12 essential film scores to listen to again – Actus Ciné

Ennio 12 essential film scores to listen to again

What to say ? Of course an unforgettable theme starting with drum beats and a few flute notes, but the soundtrack is also rich in the piece Ecstasy of Gold for the racing scene during which Eli Wallach (Tuco) runs through the cemetery. A piece so cult that it will be performed by Metallica at many concerts. At the time, Morricone collaborated for the third time with the Italian director Sergio Leone and signs a badass composition mixing traditional Indian music, electric guitar and opera.

Once Upon a Time in the West (1969)

From the lyricism accompanying the shot to the crane which required many takes to discover the face and the blue eyes of Henry Fonda not to mention the strident harmonica of its hero: all the music ofOnce upon a Time in the West takes to the guts. But we shouldn’t forget either the bantering and nonchalant theme of Cheyenne, the stressful music (and derived from the main theme) of the tavern or the deliberately parodic piece of the “Bad Orchestra”.

Everything in this soundtrack reminds us that the film is an opera where images and music are one. A synthetic film.

Maddalena (1972) / The Professional (1981)

The piece itself is called Chi-Mai and was created for the film Maddalenareleased in Italy in 1972 and directed by the Polish Jerzy Kawalerowicz. The film told how a young woman in love tried to seduce a priest in full doubt about his vow of celibacy. But this piece was popularized in France first by the release of the Professional of george lautner with John Paul Belmondo whose piece Chi-Mai is the main theme, and its use in advertising for a famous brand of dog food. Brand that will be parodied by Les Nuls par le sketch “Royal Rabbi”. That’s a lot for a single theme, but what a theme!

The Relentless Pursuit – Revolver (1973)

The piece a friend was remembered thanks to Quentin Tarantino who used it in Inglorious Basterds but originally came from The Relentless Pursuit of Sergio Sollima. A very successful thriller, the film’s hero is an ex-policeman turned prison director (Oliver Reed) who is forced to release a petty crook (Fabio Testi) if he wants to see his wife (Agostina Belli) alive again. The exchange goes wrong and the two men are forced to join forces to counter a plot, almost tipping the film into a road movie. The soundtrack is a crescendo of tension, with a little more tenderness on the title a frienddedicated to the budding friendship between ex-cop and bandit.

My Name is Nobody (1973)

Perfect handover between the American western and the Italian western (respectively symbolized by Henry Fonda and Terence Hill), My name is Nobody is also a reflection on the passage of time, what we leave behind after death, heroism… To underline this, Morricone’s score is sometimes light (the main theme below, fairground music) sometimes epic. A great lover of Wagner, Morricone takes up the theme of the Ride of the Valkyries by putting it in western sauce with flights of string section. My name is Nobody will be one of his last original compositions in the genre.

1900 (1976)

In the summer of 1900, two children were born: Olmo (Gérard Depardieu) among the poor sharecroppers and Alfredo (Robert DeNiro) in luxury. Their friendship will be put to the test following the events – especially political ones – of the first half of the 20th century. This giant historical fresco on Italian communism is also a monument of sensitivity, underlined by the beauty of the violins and the piano directed with great precision by Morricone. A sum film signed Bernardo Bertolucci to (re)discover.

Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

What will sound the last collaboration between Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone lives up to expectations. The pieces immediately bring to mind the images of this moving, violent, sublime, melancholic and even nostalgic fresco of childhood. The composer offers a sublime score accompanying each of the moments of Noodles’ life (Robert DeNiro) over forty years. Proof of this is, for demonstration, the famous Deborah’s Themededicated to the character played by Elizabeth McGovern.

The composer Hans Zimmer wink at this Deborah’s Theme at the beginning of the song Maestro in the soundtrack The Holiday :

Assignment (1986)

“I really should have [gagner un Oscar] with mission. Especially if you consider that the winner, “Around midnight”, was not an original composition (…). There’s been a theft! But if I listened to myself I would have an Oscar every two years! Morricone declared not without humor to the Guardian in 2001. Both inspired by church songs and tribal rhythms, Morricone composes for Roland Joffe captivating and immediately identifiable music. Great art.

The Incorruptibles (1987)

When Morricone tackles the gangster film, it is to better underline the ambiguities and feelings of the characters. We will remember the flights of violins on the suspense of the so-called “landau” shooting, the unleashing of trumpets, but also the presence of harpsichord or mandolin. The “maestro” coats the film with brian From Palma a theme accompanied by a brass section which is reminiscent in a distant way of the cult piece of the Clan of the Sicilians (1969).

Cinema Paradiso (1989)

First of three films by Giuseppe Tornatore in this selection, Cinema Paradiso recounts the memories of a director who recalls his childhood and the love of cinema transmitted to him by the projectionist of his native village. One of the finest tributes to cinema and the emotions it can convey, Cinema Paradiso is accompanied by poignant music, which grips even an audience that has not seen the film. And the duet between the young Salvatore and the projectionist played by Philippe Noiret is moving to tears.

The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean (2000)

Clearly not the best known of the films set to music by Ennio Morricone, but a crazy lyricism emerges from this very “Hollywood” composition that is The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean. In this film directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, Tim Roth embodies “1900”, a child found on the deck of a boat. One day, he discovers an innate talent for music and more specifically the piano. Refusing to leave his boat, his life will be turned upside down when he is told that the ship is slated for demolition. Morricone notably creates (around the 10th min of this video) an ultra-fast piano suite that borders on virtuosity:


Malena (2001)

During World War II in Italy, a widow turns the heads of the people of her village with her ravishing beauty. A 13-year-old boy will also fall madly in love with her and try to help her in the face of the behavior of the inhabitants. A new collaboration between Morricone and Tornatore, Malena’s score includes a sad atmosphere created by a clarinet which underlines the loneliness of this woman embodied by Monica Bellucci. We will also find at times a few pan flute notes which would not have displeased another great name in the musical composition of cinema: Vladimir Cosma.

Leading skies (bonus)

Fairly unknown Western but released on DVD by StudioCanal, leaden sky is made by Giulio Petronito whom we owe some of the best Italian westerns like Tepepa, A killer named Luke Where Death was on the way. In leaden sky, Giuliano Gemma plays a small-time hustler who plays Harry (Mario Adorf), a prospector. In secret, Tim is tracked down by a killer and his gang… The presence of this “small” film in this classification is justified by a composition emphasizing the tragicomic aspect of the film.

We start with a guitar ride on a whistled tune, then the violins mixed with the electric guitar and finally with the trumpets come to accompany the action scenes and give breadth to the whole. The poetry of the original title, And for roof a sky of stars, is underlined by more than one theme of Morricone’s score. A film to rediscover with ears wide open.


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