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The least-discussed JW score . . .


Josh500
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. . . is IMO Empire of the Sun. Virtually no one mentions the score here. Now, I wonder why that is. Perhaps because the movie wasn't such a great success for Spielberg? Does no one here like the score?

Either way, this thread is dedicated to JW's great Oscar-nominated score of 1987.

What does everybody think of it?

As for me, I think it's one of JW's most original and brilliant scores. On the one hand, you have the fabulous Exsultate Justi (I first fell in love with that piece when I heard it on the Spielberg/Williams Collaboration CD) and Jim's New Life, on the other -- to balance them off, you might say -- there's Cadillac of the Skies and Toys Planes, Home, and Hearth. There aren't many ethnic instruments to be found here like in Memoirs, probably because the protragonists aren't Asian but British and American. So the focus is more on the emotional context, what the characters (Jim and Basie) see and feel as they go through war-ravaged China. I really like what JW achieves with his music -- to underline the surrealistic aspect of the film, and to emphasize the exultant yet somehow detached state of mind of spoiled Briton Jim Graham.

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It is a very good Williams score, "Exultate Justi" immediately became a favorite of mine when I first heard it. I also love the use of "Suo Gan" over the opening of the film as the boat plows thru the coffins in the harbor.

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And while Peio don't reply, let me say that I was listening to this earlier today...

A coincidence? I think not ;)

Is in fact a great achivement, and the delicate "Toy Planes, home and Heart" has been one of my favourite Williams cues for so long...

"Cadillac of the Skies" as the right kind of exultation of the spirit, that can put you in the mood to take the whole world by yourself. And the festive choral "Exultate Justi", is just the right thing to end it.

Another part I love is the youthful scherzo "Jim's New Life", but I always prefer the slower tempo performance on "Williams on Williams".

Some other parts, like "Lost in the Crowd", "The Return to the City" and others, offer the more somber note for the despair of a young boy, lost in the middle of a war.

Lovelly score. But then again, I will say that of every note Mr. Williams writes...

As for un-discussed scores, I don't hear much talk of I Passed for White or Bachelor Flatt.

I wonder why... Not even I ever heard I Passed for White!!!

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Close Encounters is discussed, but not enough.

As for un-discussed scores, I don't hear much talk of I Passed for White or Bachelor Flatt.

If we can't get a decent discussion on some of his great scores from the 70's, what chance do the 60's have?

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As for un-discussed scores, I don't hear much talk of I Passed for White or Bachelor Flatt.

I wonder why... Not even I ever heard I Passed for White!!!

Maybe it's because it doesn't exist? I mean, if even Miguel hasn't heard it...

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I´ve listening to Close Encounters a lot lately, and tracks like Barry´s Abudction or the first track of the original album are simply among some of the finest music ever written. You don´t even need to mention the incredible finale.

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Close Encounters is discussed, but not enough.

As for un-discussed scores, I don't hear much talk of I Passed for White or Bachelor Flatt.

If we can't get a decent discussion on some of his great scores from the 70's, what chance do the 60's have?

Even the most recent scores get rarely mentioned here. Not until Memoirs got the Golden Globe did people start talking about it.

And who "remembers" Munich now?

Back to the topic, "Empire of the Sun" is John Williams' definite masterwork, the beginning of a new period in his career (a brilliant one, where dramas stand out), a show of vitality (the same as Jim, the main character), his most varied work (at least untill A.I.) that was recognized in 1988 with the BAFTA for best original score.

I'm pretty happy with the general "popularity" of "Empire of the Sun" in this board, actually.

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E.T. is hardly discussed on this forum.
sadly that is true.

What is there to discuss? everyone knows it, everyone has it, everyone loves it. It's not exactly the most complex of scores, and there aren't a gazillion different viable albums for it to argue about. And it has little unreleased music that people are dying for. Again -what is there to discuss?

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E.T. is hardly discussed on this forum.
sadly that is true.

What is there to discuss? everyone knows it, everyone has it, everyone loves it. It's not exactly the most complex of scores, and there aren't a gazillion different viable albums for it to argue about. And it has little unreleased music that people are dying for. Again -what is there to discuss?

its a very complex score, I don't understand how its so devalued by people here, and why not discuss greatness. there are so few JW scores that even approach its greatness, EOS has moments just as good btw.

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Yes you can. An entire MB devoted to one score would get tiresome, and people would eventually start talking about something else. ET is not perfect.

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its a very complex score, I don't understand how its so devalued by people here, and why not discuss greatness. there are so few JW scores that even approach its greatness, EOS has moments just as good btw.

What is very complex about it?

And I don't know about you, but the only way for me to enjoy a great score is by listening to it. I have nothing to say about E.T., because it is so friggin' brilliant, and there's not a single thing I could think of anyone saying that would seem right, seeing as any praise for the score is obvious from listening to it, and any criticism is plain folly in my eyes.

It's far more itneresting to try and convince someone to pick up and listen again to a score they haven't liked until now, or to be talked into listening to Nixon or Rosewood or Born on the fourth of July one more time, because they convince you it's really worth a listen (heppned in all three cases, and I now love all three scores. Those strings in the title track from BO4oJ.....I am awed by them every time anew).

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Well Morlock has a good point.

E.T. is a score that is soo good that everyone with any taste in music thinks it's brilliant. So there's very little to discuss about it, since there's no back and forth.

And ever is there is a person here who does not LOVE the E.T. score, I'd rather not waste my time debating him, because he is either and idiot, or a victim of childmolestation at a very young age.

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It's fair to say ESB is Williams absolute masterpiece.

I think there's a case to be made for several of his scores. ESB, certainly. E.T., Superman and the more contentious Hook would also be decent candidates, if you ask me, though, IMO, both Superman and ESB have their short-comings, great as they are (Superman has the second half, which is great, but much weaker than the inspired first half, and ESB just has some cues that I don't like all that much). Hook just seems to have rubbed me the right way, it has emerged as the score that I'd name my favorite JW score over all others. Not a single cue in it I don't like (and I'm talking the complete score, not just the OST), the only gripe I have about it is that I can't stand the little girl's voice on 'When you're Alone' (which is a fine song, the orchestral version being one of the many highlights of the score). I was just listening to the score the other day, and the last section of the ultimate battle just wowed me all over again. That clock motif hammering Hook's theme into submission, until you hear what is unquestionbaly the music saying 'This is the end of Hook'. It was the first JW score I really got to know, and I love and appreciate it more with each listen.

Just my two cents, I'm certainly not arguing the scores superiority to E.T.

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I agree about the weaker second half of Superman the Movie ,after The Helicopter Rescue.I think the score drags a bit from there in the chase cues and superfeats cues,those action cues are not as well defined as in the Star Wars OT and Indiana jones.

k.M.

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It's fair to say ESB is Williams absolute masterpiece.

I don't think Williams has one absolute masterpiece. Many of his scores offer things the others don't - take Close Encounters and Star Wars - very simliar scores, both excellent, both vitally important to the success of their films, and yet they have very little in common musically. I wouldn't know how to judge which of the two were better.

But yes, ESB is a pretty amazing score. ROTFLMAO

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Just one thought on ET, since it remains being my all time favourite film score. I can't understand how some people can be cinic in relation to this film and score. But still there are some who are (certanly not in this board...)

The great strengh on this score, and many others by Williams, is on the overall architecture of it.

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We probably shouldn´t hold a score as Williams´s magnus opus, as there are always amazing qualities of Williams´writing that may not be present in that particular score. Instead of absolute masterpiece, I prefer to use the term "score that has to be on everybody´s Williams´top 10", a category in which ET fits perfectly.

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Sure, still, ET is for me the most complete musical experience as far as film music is concerned. Another one that has an perfect structure is Superman.

This don't even means that this is better or worst than any other given score, and is based on my own personal tastes and experiences, because as you very well know, my dear Merkel, I may not know, but ET is my all time favourite film ;)

And is also true, that while there are more tender moments on this big orchestral scores, none come close to the deep and profound sensibility of some later masterpieces, like Angela's Ashes and Memoirs of a Geisha.

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Well Morlock has a good point.

E.T. is a score that is soo good that everyone with any taste in music thinks it's brilliant. So there's very little to discuss about it, since there's no back and forth.

And ever is there is a person here who does not LOVE the E.T. score, I'd rather not waste my time debating him, because he is either and idiot, or a victim of childmolestation at a very young age.

I never listen to E.T. Maybe it's because of its "greatness". I don't have anything against it, really. Just bores me. Nothing personal. But it probably is brilliant in its film, which I can't sit through either.

Karol, who doesn't listen to EOTS that much either.

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I never listen to E.T. Maybe it's because of its "greatness". I don't have anything against it, really. Just bores me. Nothing personal. But it probably is brilliant in its film, which I can't sit through either.

Karol, who doesn't listen to EOTS that much either.

What a shame. Those are definitely two of his absolute finest scores.

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As of the least discussed score by John Williams, I'd point out "Sleepers". Maybe it is because it is the one in which I am least interested on.

By the way, I agree with the list of four scores that have been proposed as absolute master pieces:

- The Empire Strikes Back

- Superman: The Movie

- E.T.

- Hook

But I'd rather have "Raiders of the Lost Ark" instead of "Hook". The latter is great but has some weak moments, wheras "Raiders" is, scene by scene, the perfect score for providing a perfect musical background to what we see in the movie, just as ESB, STM and E.T.

My only problem is that I think that "Jaws", "Close Encounters", "Schindler's List", "A.I.", "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom", "Memoirs of a Geisha", "Seven Years in Tibet" should also be among the "TOP FOUR" ... ... ... this is "jwfan" you know!!

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As of the least discussed score by John Williams, I'd point out "Sleepers". Maybe it is because it is the one in which I am least interested on.

Good score. A couple of good themes in there (the sentimental finale one and the one that goes on throughout the trial), and 'The Football Game', a good cue that one can hardly imagine JW having written.

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