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Here is what directors are saying about John Williams


Lewya
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I seem to recall reading that Mike Newell dissed JW over Harry Potter sounding too childish or something. I've searched in vain trying to find that article, I'm almost sure it was posted here on JWFan a few months after HPGOF was released.

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I read an article where McG (Terminator Salvation) dissed Williams's music as being "unsubtle" or something like that.  Funny hearing the talk of "subtlety" coming from the director of Terminator Salvation (and literally nothing else)

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7 minutes ago, Lewya said:

Another one I just remembered: Paul Thomas Anderson mentioned that he loved listening to John Williams as a teenager and that his collaboration with Spielberg influcenced him.

 

Was just posting those lol

 

 

 

24 minutes ago, JTWfan77 said:

I seem to recall reading that Mike Newell dissed JW over Harry Potter sounding too childish or something. I've searched in vain trying to find that article, I'm almost sure it was posted here on JWFan a few months after HPGOF was released.

 

I've heard about this but never saw it. He was interviewed for the "ultimate editions" documentary on HP's music and he did praise Williams's ability to give a film gravitas there. Could be that he was just generally talking about shifting to a darker tone.

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20 minutes ago, JTWfan77 said:

I seem to recall reading that Mike Newell dissed JW over Harry Potter sounding too childish or something. I've searched in vain trying to find that article, I'm almost sure it was posted here on JWFan a few months after HPGOF was released.

I think it was a video on YouTube, something about "infantilising the audience".  I really like hearing what more "gritty" directors have to say about him, since a lot of them make a cross from their fingers and hiss when it comes to "traditional" techniques of audience manipulation. Nice to see Paul Thomas Anderson having nice words to say!

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The Newell comment was news to me, I haden't heard that one, please post the video or quote it if you can find it. I am also interested what other directors, gritty ones, are saying about him. I think googling a director's name + interview + john williams can work to help find some.

 

Edit: Oh, and I just remembered Terry Gilliam's comment: “John Williams is a great musician but, wow, enough John. It isn’t his choice, of course, it’s the directors who allow him to take over a film and tell you exactly what you should be feeling every second of every minute of the film.”

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51 minutes ago, Lewya said:

David Lynch reportedly didn't want to direct Star Wars: Return of the Jedi because John Williams was involved according to producer Gary Kurtz. I am sure it wasn't the only reason why he didn't want to do it, but it was a part of the reason.

 

Why would Williams involvement deter Lynch?

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4 minutes ago, Nick Parker said:

I really like hearing what more "gritty" directors have to say about him, since a lot of them make a cross from their fingers and hiss when it comes to "traditional" techniques of audience manipulation. 

 

Not a director, but Trent Reznor -- who would probably be assumed to be one of those "cross your fingers and hiss" people (and who certain members of JWFan would do the same to) -- talked about admiring Williams here despite acknowledging their differences.

 

 

I had posted that and the PTA video in this thread here, which probably has some other comments from various directors:

 

 

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3 minutes ago, someonefun124 said:

 

Why would Williams involvement deter Lynch?

I don't know why, but apparently it seems like he doesn't like Williams. Gary Kurtz said this at a Star Wars convention.

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15 minutes ago, Lewya said:

I don't know why, but apparently it seems like he doesn't like Williams. Gary Kurtz said this at a Star Wars convention.

Lynch usually prefers having a high level of control over his films' audio.  He does his own sound design I believe.

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Oh, and another one I almost forgot: The Star Trek director Nicholas Meyer commented that The Post maybe would have been better with less music in it on his Facebook:

 

Someone wrote this: There is always one moment in nearly every Spielberg movie when I feel I am being manipulated. I think it comes from a sense of wanting to make sure the audience is getting the emotional point without realizing they already have. The John Williams music swells, nearly obscuring the dialogue, while every cinematic effect is used to ram the point home, in a kind of emotional arm-twisting. That's what bothered me about the made-up scene at the end of THE POST. It felt heavy-handed and unnecessary. Kay Graham's growth and courage had been amply demonstrated and didn't need to be underlined.

 

To this comment Nicholas Meyer wrote:

 

"I think some of that is a fair critique. Having said that, I loved the film anyway. Would it have been better with less music? Maybe..."

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Noah Baumbach said that he loved the E.T. score by Williams when he was a kid and that he would cry if that came on now:

 

"When I was a kid, I loved the E.T. score by John Williams. If that score came on right now I would cry. It’s so emotional."

 

http://www.vulture.com/2015/03/noah-baumbach-music-while-we-were-young.html

 

James Cameron said that he placed James Horner in the top 3 - with John Williams and Hans Zimmer.

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1 hour ago, Not Mr. Big said:

Lynch usually prefers having a high level of control over his films' audio.  He does his own sound design I believe.

 

He's got his own M.O. Modus operandi.

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5 hours ago, Lewya said:

Noah Baumbach said that he loved the E.T. score by Williams when he was a kid and that he would cry if that came on now:

 

"When I was a kid, I loved the E.T. score by John Williams. If that score came on right now I would cry. It’s so emotional."

 

http://www.vulture.com/2015/03/noah-baumbach-music-while-we-were-young.html

 

James Cameron said that he placed James Horner in the top 3 - with John Williams and Hans Zimmer.

 

What a horrible thing to say.

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Was the title of this thread meant to be read in some kind of enthusiastic announcer voice?

"Here's what the directors are saying about John Williams!"

"Two thumbs up!" says Steven Spielberg!

"He tricked people into thinking Jaws 2 is actually watchable!" says Jeannot Szwarc! 

Buy John Williams now! Available on home video!

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1 hour ago, kaseykockroach said:

Was the title of this thread meant to be read in some kind of enthusiastic announcer voice?

"Here's what the directors are saying about John Williams!"

"Two thumbs up!" says Steven Spielberg!

"He tricked people into thinking Jaws 2 is actually watchable!" says Jeannot Szwarc! 

Buy John Williams now! Available on home video!

I take ten of them!

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11 hours ago, Lewya said:

The Newell comment was news to me, I haden't heard that one, please post the video or quote it if you can find it. I am also interested what other directors, gritty ones, are saying about him. I think googling a director's name + interview + john williams can work to help find some.

 

Edit: Oh, and I just remembered Terry Gilliam's comment: “John Williams is a great musician but, wow, enough John. It isn’t his choice, of course, it’s the directors who allow him to take over a film and tell you exactly what you should be feeling every second of every minute of the film.”

Heh. Classic Gilliam.

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12 hours ago, Lewya said:

Oh, and another one I almost forgot: The Star Trek director Nicholas Meyer commented that The Post maybe would have been better with less music in it on his Facebook:

 

Someone wrote this: There is always one moment in nearly every Spielberg movie when I feel I am being manipulated. I think it comes from a sense of wanting to make sure the audience is getting the emotional point without realizing they already have. The John Williams music swells, nearly obscuring the dialogue, while every cinematic effect is used to ram the point home, in a kind of emotional arm-twisting. That's what bothered me about the made-up scene at the end of THE POST. It felt heavy-handed and unnecessary. Kay Graham's growth and courage had been amply demonstrated and didn't need to be underlined.

 

To this comment Nicholas Meyer wrote:

 

"I think some of that is a fair critique. Having said that, I loved the film anyway. Would it have been better with less music? Maybe..."

WTF? There's like 5 minutes of music in The Post.

 

Most directors prefer minimalist scores anyway. Williams' music sounds too overbearing I guess...

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I remember reading somewhere that James Cameron heaped tons of praise on John Williams. Obviously, JW was his first choice for Titanic, but when that didn't happen, he seemed to take it philosophically. Oh well, James Horner was pretty awesome too!

 

Now, I still wonder sometimes how a JW scored Titanic would have been. Probably no Celine Dion song, but a symphonic JW masterpiece on the same level as Schindler's List and E.T., with a dozen major and minor themes and motifs?

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5 hours ago, Incanus said:

Heh. Classic Gilliam.

 

It's always been a valid alternative view though. Nevertheless, I just happen to be Williams' target audience, because I'm a sucker for musical conditioning and I always will be. 

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20 hours ago, Lewya said:

 

James Cameron said that he placed James Horner in the top 3 - with John Williams and Hans Zimmer.

 

Good on Jim for this, recognizing greatness and acknowledging it despite past working troubles.  An admirable trio of massive talent and influence.  

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9 hours ago, Arpy said:

Most directors prefer minimalist scores anyway. Williams' music sounds too overbearing I guess...

 

Most directors have cloth ears.

 

Just look at what Ridley Scott did to Goldsmith.

 

Twice.

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Ridley's version of the ALIEN score is vastly superior to that of Goldsmith's original intentions.

 

In the case of LEGEND, it was more a matter of studio meddling. But I think both versions work in their own ways.

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Ridley's version IS better than Jerry's!

 

The only problem (and the main reason of Jerry's disappointment) are the temp tracks from Freud which are just a personal preference by Scott, but the original cue would have worked at least as well.

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50 minutes ago, JTWfan77 said:

Sorry Thor, Freud leftovers + Hanson + hackjob on Jerry's score does not work for me.

 

Well, too bad for you, then. I think those elements are far more effective (and more in line with the storytelling and symbolism) than JG's original vision ever was. JG's version is alright, but far more perfunctory and without the extra layers.

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You don't find the use of Freud jarring at all?

 

You prefer a piece of classical music (completely unrelated to the film and the music specifically composed for it) to that gorgeous End Title that Jerry wrote?

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3 minutes ago, JTWfan77 said:

You don't find the use of Freud jarring at all?

 

No. Of course, for the insiders like us, it's kind of a 'funny' cameo, given the Freudian symbolism in the movie otherwise.

 

But on a purely musical level, I like the relentless dissonance of those cues, both in the acid scene and the hatch/Dallas scene.

 

It's all very organic.

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It takes me out of the film completely, precisely because it's so different stylistically from the rest of the score.

 

Even before I became aware of the use thereof in those scenes, something about it just felt out of kilter.

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I know Williams is just another guy, with personality quirks of his own, and in Hollywood everyone makes enemies and jealously and rivalries are everywhere. But that said, I'm still genuinely surprised when I hear anyone say anything remotely negative about him. I'm far from a fan boy (I come to JWFan for the waters), but what's not to like and respect, personally and professionally?

 

I can even understand people not like Spielberg or Hanks, reportedly two of the nicest guys in the business, but John Williams? Say it ain't so.

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1 hour ago, JTWfan77 said:

It takes me out of the film completely, precisely because it's so different stylistically from the rest of the score.

 

Even before I became aware of the use thereof in those scenes, something about it just felt out of kilter.

 

I had a different experience. Never noticed anything different. It's very much a stylistic extension of the ALIEN score, IMO (for relatively minor scenes in the scheme of things). In later years, I've always felt the music there gives the scenes an extra "edge".

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1 hour ago, Nick1066 said:

I know Williams is just another guy, with personality quirks of his own, and in Hollywood everyone makes enemies and jealously and rivalries are everywhere. But that said, I'm still genuinely surprised when I hear anyone say anything remotely negative about him. I'm far from a fan boy (I come to JWFan for the waters), but what's not to like and respect, personally and professionally?

 

I can even understand people not like Spielberg or Hanks, reportedly two of the nicest guys in the business, but John Williams? Say it ain't so.

You come to JWfan for the waters?...is it safe to go back in?

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19 hours ago, Josh500 said:

Now, I still wonder sometimes how a JW scored Titanic would have been. Probably no Celine Dion song, but a symphonic JW masterpiece on the same level as Schindler's List and E.T., with a dozen major and minor themes and motifs?

 

Going by the Don Davis interview that recounts the professional humiliation Horner had to go through to finally snatch his Oscar i think that never would have happened. 

8 hours ago, Thor said:

 

I had a different experience. Never noticed anything different. It's very much a stylistic extension of the ALIEN score, IMO (for relatively minor scenes in the scheme of things). In later years, I've always felt the music there gives the scenes an extra "edge".

 

There are parts in Goldsmith's score that he redid for Scott that work brilliantly and there are parts Scott left in that i personally would have excised, especially all the monster attack stuff with shrill trumpets in the last third (which indeed destroy the mood a bit with their relentless 50's posturing).

 

But by and large, Goldsmith's instincts were right on, especially in the first half and i find your constant overpraise of Scotts tinkering laughable. He didn't write a note! 

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12 hours ago, Thor said:

Well, too bad for you, then. I think those elements are far more effective (and more in line with the storytelling and symbolism) than JG's original vision ever was. JG's version is alright, but far more perfunctory and without the extra layers.

I find the Goldsmith score a bit too lush for the film and prefer the trimmed down version by the director, but what you write is nonsense.

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13 hours ago, Thor said:

Ridley's version of the ALIEN score is vastly superior to that of Goldsmith's original intentions.

 

 

I'm not familiar with Goldsmith's original score but I understand that the problem was that he wrote typical old-fashioned big sounding monster music for the alien scenes and that this approach clashed with Ridley's vision. Sounds to me Ridley was wise not to go that route. 

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That wasn't the stuff that he tinkered with that much, though. All the great musical ideas - the questing two note motif, the Ives-like main theme, the geräusch stuff for the Alien Planet - were entirely Goldsmith's own.

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15 minutes ago, Alexcremers said:

 

I'm not familiar with Goldsmith's original score but I understand that the problem was that he wrote typical old-fashioned big sounding monster music for the alien scenes and that this approach clashed with Ridley's vision. Sounds to me Ridley was wise not to go that route. 

 

Indeed. But the main genius of Scott and Rawlings' version is that it creates all these extra meaningful layers to the film -- like linking the Freudian aspects of the opening with the exploration of the alien ship later on, for example. This isn't as readily found in Goldsmith's version, which is fine -- but more superficial and perfunctory.

 

And the Hanson is vastly superior as as mellow, tonal contrast to the preceding scene, as opposed to the JG music.

 

I've written a long analysis/article on this, which has been published in various forms, but alas not in English yet. But I point out some of these links in the 'tinkered' version that aren't found in JG's original vision.

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