Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A comic muse

A challenge is now going around to name the best score for a comic film. I suppose a lot depends upon how you define "comic" (I may be alone in defining Eraserhead or O Lucky Man as comic, but I do and their respective scores, by David Lynch and Alan Price, are both fine), and the function of music in a comedy is somewhat different from that in a drama. For example, musical kitsch is almost always a liability in a drama, but in a comic film score it may well be unavoidable and a asset. Here are some favorites:

Bernard Hermann: The Trouble With Harry
Andre Previn: One, Two, Three
Laurie Johnson, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Alex North, Prizzi's Honor
Steven Hufsteter: Repo Man
Toshirô Mayuzumi, Ohayô
John Morris: Young Frankenstein
Charles Chaplin: City Lights

(If I had to choose a favorite, the Morris and Hermann scores are very close, but Mayazumi's wins for its perfect fit to Ozu's sunniest film).

1 comment:

sfmike said...

Totally agree with you about "O Lucky Man," and I'd also nominate Bernard Herrmann's "North by Northwest" as the wittiest element of that comic suspenser. Plus, one mustn't forget Rene Clair's "A Nous La Liberte" with music by Georges Auric, the ur-comic film score of all time.

And for sheer weirdness, I'd also nominate Burt Bacharach's score for the DeSica-directed Peter Sellers vehicle, "After The Fox." Once in your brain, it will never leave.