Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday: Soundtracks

For a weekly feature with soundtrack in the title, you think I'd talk about them more. I just went through the 17 prior Soundtrack Sunday entries, and only found one that featured soundtracks. (I spoke about John Williams and his multiple movie compositions.)

One of my new coworkers, Jerry, and I were talking last week about movies and music as we attended to a time consuming task. Jerry's a huge movie soundtrack buff, and we shared some of our favorites back and forth.

What was cool is that we each had favorites that the other hadn't heard, and both likes some pretty obscure ones that most people would not recognize. It was a great way to pass time. As a result, at least once a day, one of us will ask the other about a soundtrack that we thought the other might like.

He's got the benefit of having a daughter in college, so he actually goes out to movies and can find good music in that genre much more readily than I can. Since Tuesday, we've been talking about the new Indiana Jones soundtrack. He picked it up and loved it.

I've been telling him of one of my favorites. "The Man From Snowy River" is a great Aussie film from the 80's and the Bruce Rowland soundtrack perfectly accompanies the story. However, it's one of those gems that stands apart from the film. His score conveys the emotions that you feel in the movie, sweetness, excitement of the chase, the majesty of the Australian mountains. The whole disc is great, but my favorites are "Jessica's Theme", "The Chase" and "Clancy's Theme."

(If you're a Kirk Douglas fan, and you've somehow missed this one, you have to see it. He does great in dual roles in the movie, as two brothers who have feuded with each other for twenty years.)

Another favorite comes from the Disney stable (what a surprise, right?), but not the movie some of you would expect! The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a movie that has been criticized for the dark undertones of the subject. However, I feel it introduces the younger set to a literary classic in a way that is accessible.

Not only that, Alan Menken did an extrodinary job in creating a score that fits the serious subject matter, yet interjects some lighthearded tunes that don't trivialize Quasimodo's story.

The score is wonderful and I feel that the vocal casting for singers was spot on. Holly Mollenhauer provided the singing voice for Esmeralda. Her voice is a good match for Demi Moore's speaking voice. I'm not sure if her performance of "God Help the Outcasts", Paul Kandel's "Bells of Notre Dame", Tom Hulce's "Out There" or Tony Jay's "Hellfire" is the best performance. Each artist has been given compelling music to perform. It is a fittingly gorgeous soundtrack that is brilliant on its own, and compliments the fantastic animation perfectly.

The sad thing is that I'd given this movie a pass when it first came out, because I thought it would trivialize the Hugo story. It wasn't until I'd met a friend who had performed in the Hunchback show at Walt Disney World. His passion for the show was infectious. One day, he was in singing mood at work (in the mall I worked in Virginia) and he burst into a rendition of "Bells of Notre Dame" that sent shivers down my spine. If you purchase one Disney soundtrack, this is the one I'd suggest.

One that I don't own, but should: 1776. It is an entertaining tale of the birth of our nation. In 1976, I went on a school field trip to see it (at the same theatre that I saw Pinnochio years before) and those songs stayed with me long afterwards. This is a first-I'm telling you of a favorite that I haven't had the pleasure of hearing in a while. I will remedy that soon, most likely involving the kids.

How about you? Do you have soundtracks that you love?


Janie said…
Me? Three months after my implant surgery, my Oz friends sent me Aussie films soundtracks to "Man from Snowy River", "Strictly Ballroom", "Crocodile Dundee", and oh....can't remember the last one and I'm too lazy to check my growing collection of music CDs.

"Strictly Ballroom" was a fun movie to watch and the finale to the movie totally ROCKED. Talk about paso doblo dance on fire!


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