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Josh500

Rate Memoirs of a Geisha!

Rate Memoirs of a Geisha!   

31 members have voted

  1. 1. Rate Memoirs of a Geisha - John Williams's score!

    • 5 stars
    • 4,5 stars
    • 4 stars
    • 3,5 stars
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    • 3 stars
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    • 2,5 stars
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    • 2 stars
    • 1,5 stars
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    • 1 star
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    • I don't know this score.
  2. 2. Rate Memoirs of a Geisha - Rob Marshall's movie!

    • 5 stars
      0
    • 4,5 stars
    • 4 stars
    • 3,5 stars
    • 3 stars
    • 2,5 stars
    • 2 stars
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    • 1,5 stars
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    • 1 star
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    • I don't know this movie.


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I recently rewatched this movie, and I think it aged extremely well. Needless to say, John Williams's score was always considered a top-notch effort by the maestro, but as far as a I remember, about the movie, opinions were split. However, I think this movie deserves a lot of praise, for its production value, visuals, and unique mysterious atmosphere.... And, of course, it's a perfect canvas for JW to work his magic on. :)

 

Some of my favourite scenes, musically as well as movie-wise:

 

"The Chairman's Waltz" - this piece is so heartbreakingly gorgeous, it stands among JW's best compositions of his career, IMO. I also love the subtle, unconscious (almost sneaky) way this cue starts in the movie, as both the Chairman's and Chiyo's faces are averted... 

https://youtu.be/WLBrKgab2rw

 

"Becoming a Geisha" 

 

 

"Confluence" 

 

 

 

 

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One of Williams' finest and the peak of some of Williams' most impressionistic musings. But the real treasure is the concert suite, which is one of Williams' career best works. It just loses some of the more delicate touch of the OST.

 

Specifically:

 

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Great score, from the last "old school" period in which Williams was on top form. Solid 4-star. The film has a lot of things going for it -- like the lush cinematography; that's what sticks. I can't remember anything of the story, as it's probably been 10 years since I saw it, at least. But the general mood, I remember (lots of monochrome lighting, the image filled to the brink of texture, almost into the overblown and operatic). 3 stars for film.

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It's one of his top 5 scores, an exercise in restraint and economy of means that puts his usual touted masterpieces of grandiose bombast to shame, and makes one wish that he would have more fully committed to a kind of pared down style as Jerry did in his later years instead of just dabbling with it in a few appropriate scores, but then, he'd have to take on more appropriate projects, and barring AI Spielberg doesn't really have that in him.  I don't remember much about the film other than it looking very nice.

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2 hours ago, Dixon Hill said:

It's one of his top 5 scores, an exercise in restraint and economy of means that puts his usual touted masterpieces of grandiose bombast to shame, and makes one wish that he would have more fully committed to a kind of pared down style as Jerry did in his later years instead of just dabbling with it in a few appropriate scores, but then, he'd have to take on more appropriate projects, and barring AI Spielberg doesn't really have that in him.  I don't remember much about the film other than it looking very nice.

 

Wow. That's a fascinating assessment. Great post. 

 

It's like Spielberg made him who he is, and is now holding him back from a true evolution. 

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The movie is very good, though by no means a masterpiece.  It was partly brought down by the then fairly nascent wave of PC race issues, such as "The lead is not even Japanese!", and "why is an old white guy writing Eastern music?"  

 

The music has held up well.  The Cello Suite remains one of my top-five Williams longer works.  

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7 hours ago, Bellosh said:

My favorite cue from the score:

 

 

 

Score: 4

Movie: 3

 

 

Yes, I actually tried to find the scene accompanying this piece on YouTube, but couldn't. 

 

This is, of course, mind-blowingly good. For me, second only to "The Chairman's Waltz"! The only negative thing that could be said about it is that this piece has an unmistakable Chinese (rather than Japanese) flavour... But then, of course, most viewers wouldn't hear or know the difference.

 

3 hours ago, Dixon Hill said:

It's one of his top 5 scores, an exercise in restraint and economy of means that puts his usual touted masterpieces of grandiose bombast to shame, and makes one wish that he would have more fully committed to a kind of pared down style as Jerry did in his later years instead of just dabbling with it in a few appropriate scores, but then, he'd have to take on more appropriate projects, and barring AI Spielberg doesn't really have that in him.  I don't remember much about the film other than it looking very nice.

 

Hmmm, not sure what exactly you mean. This isn't exactly a "restrained" score, IMO, but just one of the many fine dramatic scores that JW wrote throughout his career... 

 

JW scores that I put on the same level as MOAG, in terms of style or level of restraint:

 

Schindler's List 

Seven Years in Tibet

Angela's Ashes 

Sleepers

Amistad 

Saving Private Ryan 

Munich 

Sleepers 

The Book Thief 

The Post 

 

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I read the book back in 1998 or 1999 when it was first rumored that Spielberg was going to direct - and I had hoped for a Williams score. I had to wait a while, but I finally got the score. I wasn't bothered that Spielberg didn't end up directing as I'm more of a music fan than a fan of films. In the intervening years, I lived in Kyoto for a couple of years - but that move had no relation to my interest in a possible Williams score. So having enjoyed the book, having lived in Kyoto, and being a huge Williams fan, this was a score I was particularly looking forward to once it was all confirmed and John was on it. 

 

Regarding the score, I rarely listen to the whole thing, but the more lyrical and melodic tracks are never that far from my ears. Glad we were lucky enough enough to have Williams tinker with it afterwards both for the extended suite and for three pieces of piano and cello. Confluence is a favorite with its beautiful moments. I never really thought that highly of The Chairman's Waltz, but I'll give it some more listens and I'm looking forward to the new arrangement on the Deluxe Across The Stars. Going to School was an early favorite as well. The main theme of the score took a little while to grow on me, but grow on me it did, 

 

I caught the Gustavo Dudamel all-Williams concert in Seoul earlier in the year, and the Geisha theme was one of highlights for me. I'd seen Williams before, but that was back in1998 and well before he'd written Geisha. The film... I enjoyed it, but once was enough 

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I posted this video in the other thread too, but man, I love this opening scene. The misty, damp, mysterious atmosphere, the lonesome train driving through it, the crackling voice of the old woman remembering her youth.... And in the background JW's music for the cello. So lyrical, tragic, and heart-wrenching, somehow. Gives me goosebumps! 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Gruesome Son of a Bitch said:

It's a creepy story about an old guy who gets with a young woman he bought an ice cream for when she was a little girl. Then they bid on her virginity. This naturally attracted John Williams to score it.

 

You sound like you might have a fixation on pedophilia!

 

The girl fell down, and he comforted her and bought her an ice cream. That's it. 

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I had a digital copy of the album for about a year before I had any interest in seeing the film. For me, it was one of those instances where the score took on a life of its own separate from the film, I found the music more fascinating than the context it was written for (before and after seeing it). The film has some truly beautiful cinematography and scenes where Williams' score certainly aids it as usual, though I'm conflicted with the story when it felt like Chiyo had no autonomy, dragging her from one life to another.  

 

I gave the film 3.5 and the score a solid 5.

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It's basically a coming-of-age story about a young person going through hell and then some and coming out stronger in the end, this one against the backdrop of post-war Japan. The main story is not much different (except for the details) than, say, Empire of the Sun or Angela's Ashes or The Book Thief! 

 

In fact, this trope is so common in literature, it's almost a cliché! 

 

1 hour ago, Arpy said:

For me, it was one of those instances where the score took on a life of its own separate from the film, I found the music more fascinating than the context it was written for (before and after seeing it). 

 

For me, I've found that is true for the majority of films scored by JW! 

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I see the movie, probably more that any other, as a John Williams music video. The movie gives great emphasis to JW's music, with quite a few sequences comprised of only music and image..

 

The As The Water sequence is one of the best scored scenes in JW's oeuvre and Chiyo's theme, even more so that Sayuri's, it's one of my all time JW's themes

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3 minutes ago, Romão said:

I see the movie, probably more that any other, as a John Williams music video. The movie gives great emphasis to JW's music, with quite a few sequences comprised of only music and image..

 

The As The Water sequence is one of the best scores scenes in JW's oeuvre and Chiyo's theme, even more so that Sayuri's, it's one of my all time JW's themes

 

Agreed on both counts! 

 

I seem to remember... Didn't the director Rob Marshall say at one point that he nearly fainted (from happiness and shock) when he learned that JW would be scoring his movie? You actually feel how much he respects JW and his music while watching this movie. 

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1 hour ago, Romão said:

I see the movie, probably more that any other, as a John Williams music video.

 

That's an apt point. It is also Rob Marshall's best movie to date (although, to be fair, the rest of his output is rather wobbly, including the lauded CHICAGO).

 

He shouldn't be that surprised that Williams scored it, though. He was attached to the project from way back when Spielberg was supposed to direct it, reading the book and everything. But with Spielberg's "relegation" to producer, I guess there was a little bit of doubt if Williams would stick with it. As usual, however, it was his desire to compose in a certain idiom that made him stay on (although he had explored "Japanese" textures in previous films, like 1941 and NONE BUT THE BRAVE).

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4 minutes ago, Thor said:

As usual, however, it was his desire to compose in a certain idiom that made him stay on (although he had explored "Japanese" textures in previous films, like 1941 and NONE BUT THE BRAVE).

 

And don't forget Empire of the Sun and Midway

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Yes, those too. But MEMOIRS is obviously in a far more lush idiom, and although it uses 'conventions' from Japanese music, it's not as "self-aware" or referential as in the other films.

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1 hour ago, Thor said:

Yes, those too. But MEMOIRS is obviously in a far more lush idiom, and although it uses 'conventions' from Japanese music, it's not as "self-aware" or referential as in the other films.

 

That, certainly! 

 

I'd even go so far as to say that, MoaG is the best out of these four, although EotS is a very close second. 

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3 minutes ago, Thor said:

I'd certainly rate EMPIRE OF THE SUN higher, overall... 

 

I absolutely love "Exsultate Justi," "Cadillac of the Skies" and "Jim's New Life" (mostly due to the BPO recordings) but the rest.... Dunno, it didn't leave a big impression on me.

 

I gotta relisten to that one. Oh, and rewatch the movie too! The movie EotS is, by the way, far superior to MoaG. No contest. 

 

This scene from EotS... Dear Lord, another goosebumps moment! The combination of gorgeous visuals and perfect score makes scenes such as these unforgettable... 

 

 

 

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59 minutes ago, Josh500 said:

Oh, and rewatch the movie too! The movie EotS is, by the way, far superior to MoaG. No contest. 

 

For sure. Different leagues even.

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