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In Memoriam: Composer John Barry

By Kathryn Kalinak

The world of film lost one of the greats on Sunday: composer John Barry. British by birth, he carved a place for himself in Hollywood, winning five Oscars over the course of his career. He cut his teeth on James Bond films – Dr. No, (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965) – and went on to compose seven more. There was something both elegant and hip about these scores, a kind of jazzy sophistication that connoted fast cars, beautiful women, and martinis, shaken not stirred, that is.

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Not enough grit?

By Kathryn Kalinak

The Oscar for Best Original Score has been in the news recently—and not in a good way. Three excellent film scores have been disqualified for Oscar nomination because in one way or another, all were deemed not “original” enough: Clint Mansell’s score for Black Swan (too much Tschaikovsky) and Carter Burwell’s scores for The Kids Are Alright (too many songs) and True Grit (too dependent on pre-existing music). As a great fan of the western and its film scores, I was truly disappointed by the True Grit disqualification. Burwell’s score is a gem, harking back to the classic western film scores of the studio era while simultaneously updating them.

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Will the new Robin Hood Score … score?

Kathryn Kalinak is Professor of English and Film Studies at Rhode Island College. Her extensive writing on film music includes numerous articles and several books, the most recent of which is Film Music: A Very Short Introduction. You may remember her from an Oscar season interview on WNYC’s Soundcheck, when she accurately predicted a win for Michael Giacchino’s score in Up. Now, she has been asked back to the show (today at 2pm ET) to discuss the score in the new Robin Hood movie, starring Russell Crowe. Kalinak shares her thoughts after the jump.

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