Author Archives: Film Music Central

About Film Music Central

I'm a 29 year old graduate student and I've had a lifelong obsession with film music, cartoon music, just about any kind of music!

Justin Hurwitz talks La La Land (2016)

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Justin Hurwitz talks La La Land (2016)

While Justin Hurwitz (whose recent works include First Man) does talk about the scory of La La Land, this is less of a one-on-one interview and more of a group discussion where cast (like Ryan Gosling), crew, directors and etc. talk about the qualities of the La La Land score.

As stated in the video, the music for La La Land does call back to an earlier time in Hollywood when film music focused on melody most or all of the time. That’s not to say that today’s film scores don’t have melody, but it’s not nearly to the same extent (and many action scores don’t feature proper melody at all).

Seeing the depth of music in La La Land‘s score really drives home just how talented Justin Hurwitz is (I can see now why the film took home the Oscar for Best Original score).

I hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look at the score for La La Land. Let me know what you think of the score in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

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The Three Caballeros “The Three Caballeros” (1944)

*note: in the context of this song “gay” means happy/carefree

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I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but during the 1940s Disney released a lot of what were called “package films.” While ostensibly released as a single feature, package films actually contained a series of separate animated shorts connected by a plot line. This happened because Disney found themselves with a lot of material that was too long to be regular cartoons and too short to be standalone features. This is how The Three Caballeros came into being. The common thread is that Donald Duck is celebrating his birthday and while opening his presents he learns about Mexico and South America via his friends José Carioca (a Brazilian parrot) and Panchito Romero Miguel Junipero Francisco Quintero González III (a Mexican rooster).

Once Panchito joins the party, he leads his friends in singing “The Three Caballeros.” In this song, Panchito praises the life of a caballero and how he is always loyal to his friends (unless there’s a girl involved, in which case forget it!) The rhythm and last verse of this song come from Ay, Jalisco, no te rajes!, a popular Mexican ranchera song released in 1941.

The Three Caballeros “The Three Caballeros” (1944)

A running gag throughout the song is Donald trying (and failing) to imitate José and Panchito. For example, he flops to the ground when the others fly, and he can’t summon a guitar out of thin air (instead he gets a saxophone, a trumpet, and a double bass).

We’re three caballeros
Three gay caballeros
They say we are birds of a feather
We’re happy amigos
No matter where he goes
The one, two, and three goes
We’re always together

We’re three happy chappies
With snappy serapes
You’ll find us beneath our sombreros
We’re brave and we’ll stay so
We’re bright as a peso
Who says so?
We say so!
The three caballeros

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Ooooh!
We have the stars to guide us
Guitars here beside us
To play as we go
We sing and we samba
We shout, ¡Ay caramba!
What means “Ay caramba”?
Oh, yes! I don’t know

Ooooh!
Through fair and stormy weather
We stand close together
Like books on a shelf
And pals though we may be
When some Latin baby
Says yes, no, or maybe
(wolf whistle)
Each man is for himself!

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¡Ay, Jalisco no te rajes!
Me sale del alma
Gritar con color
Abrir todo el pecho
Pa’ echar este grito
¡Qué lindo es Jalisco!
Palabra de honor!

The end of the song made me laugh for years when I was growing up. At the end, when the song has supposedly finished, Panchito keeps right on holding that last note (and truthfully, a well-trained singer can theoretically hold a note indefinitely). José and Donald try everything to make Panchito stop, but nothing affects the rooster, until he appears to shrink away and disappear. Just when the pair think he’s gone though, the rooster reappears with a gigantic piñata!

What do you think about “The Three Caballeros”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

Pinocchio “When You Wish Upon a Star” (1940)

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Pinocchio “When You Wish Upon a Star” (1940)

As Disney’s second animated feature film, Pinocchio is responsible for creating one of the company’s most memorable songs. Since its release, “When You Wish Upon a Star” has become the official anthem for the Walt Disney Company (a snippet plays right before the start of every Disney movie) and has been covered numerous times. But the original version was performed by Cliff Edwards (the voice of Jiminy Cricket) and became an instant hit. In fact, “When You Wish Upon a Star” was the first Disney song to win an Academy Award, taking home the Oscar for Best Song.

The song arrives at the start of the film and takes us through the opening credits until we come to Jiminy Cricket himself, singing the last part of the song by the Pinocchio storybook.

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

The song is also reprised at the end of the film while everyone is celebrating Pinocchio’s transformation into a real boy. To be perfectly honest, this song always makes me cry every time I hear it, so much so that there are times I have to skip over it so I can watch the film without bawling.

Here’s an interesting piece of trivia: if you look closely at the background of the picture with Pinocchio’s book, you’ll see two books titled Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Both of these stories would be released as Disney films in the following decade (1951 and 1953 respectively).

What do you think of “When You Wish Upon a Star”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Pinocchio “Little Wooden Head” (1940)

Pinocchio “Hi Diddle Dee Dee (An Actor’s Life for Me!)” (1940)

Pinocchio “I’ve Got No Strings” (1940)

Pinocchio “Hi Diddle Dee Dee (reprise)” (1940)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

Disturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #2: The truth of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio (1940)

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

Pinocchio “Little Wooden Head” (1940)

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Pinocchio “Little Wooden Head” (1940)

When we first meet Geppetto the toymaker, it’s through the eyes of Jiminy Cricket, who is stopping by the toymaker’s shop/home for theDisturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940) night. The elderly toymaker has just finished his latest creation, a wooden marionette he dubs Pinocchio (which means “pine eye” because he was carved from a block of pine wood).

Delighted with how Pinocchio has turned out, Geppetto winds up a music box and dances with the little puppet while singing “Little Wooden Head.”

Little wooden head, go play your part
Bring a little joy to every heart
Little do you know and yet it’s true
That I’m mighty proud of you
Little wooden feet and best of all
Little wooden seat in case you fall
(How graceful!)
My little wooden head!

Geppetto then introduces Pinocchio to his two pets, Cleo the goldfish and Figaro the cat. While Cleo is delighted, Figaro is quite jealous (it doesn’t help that Geppetto uses the puppet to have some fun at the cat’s expense).

Little does Geppetto suspect that the little puppet he loves so much will soon be brought to life by the Blue Fairy after he makes a wish on the Wishing Star. This is a very short song but it quickly establishes that Geppetto is a good and kindly man who loves to bring joy to others through the toys he makes (this is why the Blue Fairy grants his wish).

What do you think of “Little Wooden Head”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Pinocchio “When You Wish Upon a Star” (1940)

Pinocchio “Hi Diddle Dee Dee (An Actor’s Life for Me!)” (1940)

Pinocchio “I’ve Got No Strings” (1940)

Pinocchio “Hi Diddle Dee Dee (reprise)” (1940)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

Disturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #2: The truth of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio (1940)

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

My Thoughts on: The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973)

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I have always been a fan of Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation and his three Sinbad films are among my favorites. I particularly enjoy The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, the second Sinbad film that Harryhausen worked on. The film follows the legendary sailor (John Phillip Law) as he discovers a mysterious gold tablet before finding himself driven to the country of Marabia. There he meets the Grand Vizier (Douglas Wilmer) (who wears a golden mask to hide his burned face) and finds a second gold tablet that interlocks with the first. It turns out the tablets are a map to the lost island of Lemuria and Sinbad organizes his crew to sail there. But Sinbad and the Vizier aren’t the only ones interested in finding Lemuria: this place is also sought by Prince Koura (Tom Baker), an evil sorcerer who is angry that Sinbad has taken the gold tablet that a magical servant was bringing to him. Both sides race to find Lemuria and the secrets it contains.

Kali dances for Koura

As with any Ray Harryhausen film, there are a number of stop-motion creations in this story. These include:

  • the homunculus: a tiny winged creature that Koura uses as a spy
  • the Siren: Koura uses his magic to bring the wooden figurehead of Sinbad’s ship to life.
  • the one-eyed centaur
  • a griffin

All of these creations are amazing to watch, but my favorite out of all of them is Harryhausen’s work on “Kali” a six-armed statue that Koura brings to life in a Lemurian temple. While named Kali, the statue bears more resemblance to the Hindu god Shiva (particularly in its initial pose before it comes to life). There is a beautiful scene where Koura orders Kali to dance and the statue obeys, all six arms moving throughout. Given how much care needs to be taken in stop-motion animation, I always find myself wondering just how long it took to animate the statue.

Centaur vs. Griffin

While the film is enjoyable, it also has several flaws. The one that bothers me the most is how Margiana (a slave girl that Sinbad frees after seeing her in a vision connected to the tablet) received a tattoo of an eye on her palm. It is revealed late in the film that this tattoo marks her as sacred to one of Lemuria’s gods but this revelation is extremely problematic because if Lemuria is a lost island that no one has found in centuries, then how did Margiana receive the tattoo for one of their gods? It seems awfully convenient to the plot that a mysterious tattoo just happens to coincide with the place Sinbad and company are trying to reach.

Time for some interesting trivia!

-That is indeed the same Tom Baker who played the Fourth Doctor in Doctor Who. In fact, Baker got the role of the Doctor because of his performance in this film.

-Christopher Lee was a front runner to play Prince Koura

-Miklos Rozsa scores this film and parts of the score are very similar to segments in Ben-Hur (1959)

One thing is for sure, they definitely don’t make films like The Golden Voyage of Sinbad anymore, which is a real shame since it is so much fun to watch. Let me know what you think of The Golden Voyage of Sinbad in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film/TV Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

My Thoughts on: Slayers NEXT (Season 2) (1996)

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While Slayers has a great start in season 1, it gets even better in season 2 with Slayers NEXT. All of our heroes return for more adventures and we’re introduced to even more interesting characters as Lina, Gourry and company go on more exciting (and dangerous) adventures! These new characters include:

Princess Martina of Zoana: Oh Martina, Martina…let me tell you something about Martina…she’s absolutely 100% crazy!! How so? Well, just as an example, Martina is a fervent devotee of the monster Zoamelgustar. There’s just one little problem with that…Martina made him up out of her own imagination, not that this impedes her devotion in the slightest. In fact, in one hilarious episode, Martina successfully invokes Zoamelgustar’s power to curse Lina through sheer willpower (not bad for a non-existent monster). She hates Lina with a passion for destroying her kingdom (even though it was Martina who started the trouble) and also has a habit in falling in love with every handsome man who crosses her path. Despite trying really hard to be a villain, Martina is more of a nuisance than anything else.

Xellos: This is one of the most frustrating characters you’ll meet in the series, because for most of the time he appears you’re never really sure what he’s up to or whose side he’s really on! He claims to be a traveling monk but hints are dropped repeatedly that this is far from the truth. Xellos also has an annoying habit of leading people in conversation up to a critical point and when they demand to know something important he’ll just smile and say “That…is a secret.” I’ll admit, the true identity of Xellos shocked me (though I won’t spoil it here).

Hellmaster Fibrizo: I’m pretty sure it goes without saying that if you have “Hellmaster” in your name than you are not a good person. Hellmaster Fibrizo might be one of the most sadistic characters I’ve ever seen. This is one of those characters who kills on a whim, all to get what he wants. Truthfully, you will not see this character coming, it’s one of the best villain introductions I’ve ever seen.

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A lot of the plot revolves around our heroes searching for the Claire Bible (a text containing powerful magical secrets) in the hopes that it contains some spell that can cure Zelgadis and make him human again. During this search, Lina and her friends stumble on a plot brewing among the monsters. It seems that the destruction of Ruby Eye Shabranigdu in season 1 had some far-reaching consequences and it’s up to Lina to deal with the fallout…if she can survive that is. Like season 1, Slayers NEXT gets pretty bloody in the last part of the season (not enough to be considered “gory” but there are still some fairly shocking moments).

If you enjoy season 1 of Slayers then you will absolutely love Slayers NEXT. I hope you get the chance to check it out someday. Unfortunately it’s not streaming on Hulu currently but you can get seasons of Slayers for a reasonable price on Amazon. Let me know what you think of Slayers NEXT in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Slayers (season 1) (1995)

Animated Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

My Thoughts on: Slayers (season 1) (1995)

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*Note: It should go without saying that there are plot spoilers to be found below

Last summer some of my friends introduced me to a wonderful anime called Slayers which I’d never heard of before (my access to anime was severely limited growing up so for a long time the only shows I knew anything about were Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z). I quickly fell in love with the series and it’s been one of my favorites ever since.

In season one of Slayers we are introduced to a quirky cast of characters:

  • Lina Inverse (Lisa Ortiz): A very young and extremely powerful sorceress. Lina loves to travel the world and gather treasure. She also loves food.
  • Gourry Gabriev (Eric Stuart): Lina’s self-proclaimed guardian. Gourry is almost a pure iteration of the “dumb blonde” trope but he does have his moments (which I won’t tell you because that would spoil some wicked awesome moments).
  • Zelgadis (Crispin Freeman for most of the series): an equally powerful sorcerer who is continually seeking a way to restore his body to human form (for plot reasons he currently exists as a chimera with a body of stone).
  • Amelia (Veronica Taylor): This young princess and a would-be mage is the living embodiment of a crit fail in D&D (case in point: Amelia loves to make dramatic entrances but typically fails to stick the landing).
  • Sylphiel (Stacia Crawford): a priestess who refers to Gourry as “Gourry Dear” a lot.

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The plot of season 1 finds our heroes fighting against Rezo the Red Priest. It eventually comes out that Rezo is trying to summon Ruby Eye Shabranigdu (a powerful demon) in the belief that doing so will finally cure his blindness. However, when this plan backfires, our heroes must fight Shabranigdu and save the world! Actually, they end up saving the world several times over by the end of season 1, with some plot twists that I genuinely didn’t see coming.

One of my favorite things about Slayers are the ornate incantations used to create spells. For example, here is how Lina casts Dragon Slave, one of her most powerful spells:

Darkness beyond twilight
Crimson beyond blood that flows
Buried in the stream of time is where your power grows
I pledge myself to conquer all the foes who stand
before the mighty gift bestowed in my unworthy hand
Let the fools who stand before me be destroyed
by the power you and I possess…
DRAGON SLAVE!

To make a long story short, Slayers is a really fun anime and you should definitely check out the first season if you get the chance (the subtitled version is currently streaming on Hulu but I highly recommend the dubbed version as well).

Let me know what you think about season 1 of Slayers in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Slayers NEXT (Season 2) (1996)

Animated Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook