Thursday, May 8, 2008

How Did I Miss This One?

Time keeps ticking, and the number of great books I've yet to read keeps growing. So, too, does the number of wonderful movies I've yet to watch. (And, as Kris Kristofferson noted forty years back, "There's still a lot of drinks that I ain't drunk, and lots of pretty thoughts that I ain't thunk.")

But I finally set aside two and one-half hours for a film that I'd been meaning to watch for years, and I'm glad I made the time for it. It's one that I'd wanted to check out as much for its score as for its acting, its script, and its direction.

Talk about a movie-making Dream Team: Jimmy Stewart, Otto Preminger, and Duke Ellington . . .

Not only was watching "Anatomy of a Murder" (1959) a great way to spend an evening, it reminded me again just how worthless most of today's movie "soundtracks" are. I'm also fairly sure that scores like Duke's help keep my West Coast compadre Alan Elliott inspired to continue writing music for movies and TV shows.

Scoring films has become a wholly under-valued art form in our throw-away, least common denominator society. But that's a topic for another day.

Duke set the bar high with just about everything he did; the music he wrote for "Anatomy of a Murder" is no exception.

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