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How has there never been a feature length documentary on John Williams?


Mr. Gitz
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We don't know a lot about JW's personal life, because his life is not scandalous.

 

Today, people want scandals.

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22 minutes ago, Fabulin said:

it sounds as if you wanted to freeze him in carbonite


I do. I believe all the world economic might should be behind one goal and one goal only. Preventing the demise of John Williams. 
 

i dread it. I’ve often thought about the day I’ll wake up and read the news and…a world without the possibility of new Williams music is a world I hate to contemplate. 
 

I remember when the prequels were being made I use to think “Just live long enough to finish episode 3” and then the sequel trilogy came about. “Just live long enough to finish episode 9” and now it’s “please just live long enough to finish Indy 5”. 
 

it’s always amazed me that more producers don’t seek out his talent, even if it’s just to compose a main title or suite rather than an entire score. I truly believe his music adds a massive amount to the value of a franchise. Think of Harry Potter without that theme or Star Wars or on and on and and on. 
 

I wonder how much John charges for his services. He’s worth more than any actor. But I wonder, what’s the most he’s been paid? Over 10 million? Not even close?

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He undoubtedly does get asked, and has to turn a lot of films down.

 

What about that 80s documentary on the music of ESB? I don't seem to have it any more, but it was an extremely in-depth look at his process.

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I couldn’t agree more. He is a living legend.   He changed not only how we think about film, but storytelling, media events, and classical symphonic music.

 

He also is one of the most articulate and contemplative speakers I’ve ever heard in interviews on the filmmaking process.
 

His image is almost as iconic as his accomplishments. a legacy project like this seems like a no brainer.  
 

The world could use him as an role model of a gentle, courteous beacon of behavior, hard work, and creativity. 

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1 hour ago, Mr. Gitz said:

I do. I believe all the world economic might should be behind one goal and one goal only. Preventing the demise of John Williams. 
 

i dread it. I’ve often thought about the day I’ll wake up and read the news and…a world without the possibility of new Williams music is a world I hate to contemplate. 
 

I remember when the prequels were being made I use to think “Just live long enough to finish episode 3” and then the sequel trilogy came about. “Just live long enough to finish episode 9” and now it’s “please just live long enough to finish Indy 5”. 
 

it’s always amazed me that more producers don’t seek out his talent, even if it’s just to compose a main title or suite rather than an entire score. I truly believe his music adds a massive amount to the value of a franchise. Think of Harry Potter without that theme or Star Wars or on and on and and on. 
 

I wonder how much John charges for his services. He’s worth more than any actor. But I wonder, what’s the most he’s been paid? Over 10 million? Not even close?

I think, John Williams might be very moved, If he knew, how much you care about his health (at least until he finishes Indy 5). 

 

That reminds me of a scene in the hilarious "Living in Oblivian", that I watched again last week. Steve Buscemi, director on a filmset where everything goes wrong, goes to the elderly actress who plays Catherine Keener's character's mother in the scene while the team is exchanging a broken spotlight and says, "Yeah, what will happen next?"

And the actress replies annoyed: "I will get a heart attack."

And the director says as a joke: "But please not before we finished the scene."

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If we stopped asking John Williams to write Star Wars and Indiana Jones, he might have time to write his memoirs! :lol:

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Yes, except he shouldn’t say one day. He should do it now.  Spielberg’s one and only feature length documentary. 
 

He owes it to his friend. 

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1 minute ago, Edmilson said:

All he needs to do is to edit them, like Peter Jackson did with that Beatles doc.

I was also thinking about that. :)

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i would prefer for a longer version of something like this:

 

 

but with either Raiders, ToD, or TLC.  Probably not enough footage, but one can dream.

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2 hours ago, Mr. Gitz said:

It amazes me that we’ve never had the “Doug Adams” treatment to his Star Wars work either. Maybe John is a super private person. We know he is exceedingly humble, to an almost ridiculous degree. But he needs to be documented for future generations.

https://franklehman.com/starwars/ @Falstafthas done a very rich and very well organized overview of Star Wars music by John Williams! I use it on a daily basis.

 

https://www.amazon.de/-/en/Emilio-Audissino/dp/0299332349/ref=sr_1_1?crid=ZSX65A5MBEJR&keywords=audissino&qid=1653935882&sprefix=audisio%2Caps%2C112&sr=8-1 I also recommend this book by Emilio Audissino. It made many things clearer to me, especially the origins of John Williams' compositional style.

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2 hours ago, Mr. Gitz said:

But he needs to be documented for future generations.

 

d9b504e6ecac17127807c07bcf412b952405f480

 

 

55 minutes ago, GerateWohl said:

That reminds me of a scene in the hilarious "Living in Oblivian", that I watched again last week. Steve Buscemi, director on a filmset where everything goes wrong, goes to the elderly actress who plays Catherine Keener's character's mother in the scene while the team is exchanging a broken spotlight and says, "Yeah, what will happen next?"

And the actress replies annoyed: "I will get a heart attack."

And the director says as a joke: "But please not before we finished the scene."

 

Brilliant, brilliant film! It plays like a comedy, but I suspect it's really more of a dramatic documentary.

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20 minutes ago, Andy said:

Yes, except he shouldn’t say one day. He should do it now.  Spielberg’s one and only feature length documentary. 
 

He owes it to his friend. 

 

He'll do it after the documentaries for his producers, cinematographers, screenwriters, costume designers, editors, sound editors, himself, and the catering guy.

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2 hours ago, Bespin said:

Today, people want scandals.

 

 

A shocking development. I remember the good old times when quiet unassuming entertainment people like Liz and Dick were all the rage.

 

bund324.jpg?w=584

 

 

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Because like all truly great people of good character, he strictly separates private and professional life, and because he doesn't think there is much of interest to the outside world about him, except his professional output for all to hear. And because he doesn't need any publicity except the one naturally evolving from his body of work.

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14 minutes ago, Lord Montague said:

Because like all truly great people of good character, he strictly separates private and professional life, and because he doesn't think there is much of interest to the outside world about him, except his professional output for all to hear. And because he doesn't need any publicity except the one naturally evolving from his body of work.

Yes, I think that he does not feel the need to show everyone what he does and how, is a testament to his humility and greatness of character.

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Which is why I think any possible JW documentaries should focus on his work rather than his life. Show him working hard on his piano or at the recording sessions, creating his magic live for the audience. In no way this would be disrespectful or intrusive to him.

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Yes, I don’t think it should be a personal biography. But more along the lines of the Legacy of JW Podcast.  A career spanning so many decades, with so much style evolution and achievements is worthy of testimonial preservationist biography in the film medium for which is is most associated. 

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1 hour ago, Laserschwert said:

I don't want it to be feature-length... I want a multi-part documentary along the lines of "Get Back", with each episode focusing on a different decade of his career.


that’s what’s I’m talking about! That would be amazing. 
 

But I’d love to know more about Williams the man. Apparently he was like a beatnik back in the day. Is he a stoner lol? Wouldn’t that be funny? Turns out JW is a huge pot head. He also sadly lost his wife in the late 70s I believe. 
I’d love to know what he thinks of his work. Which score does he have the highest regard for? Which one would he want a mulligan on? 
 

like others have mentioned, Williams is extremely humble and would probably take some convincing. But our time is running out with every passing day & I’d just love to see a major project focused entirely on him & his process. 
 

it’ll be interesting to see that one day they’ll make a biopic of Steven Spielberg or George Lucas & some actor will be hired to play John Williams. The production of Star Wars is certainly drama filled. Especially that original trilogy. With everything going on at ILM & George getting the rights from Fox to make sequels in the biggest studio blunder of all time(the billions they missed out on in merchandising & sequels is hilarious. Shows how forward thinking Lucas was that he lowered his upfront writing and directing fee for a bigger stake of the back end and all the sequel/prequel rights. Fox gave up all that $$$ for less than some magic beans. Penny wise and pound foolish. 
 

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2 hours ago, Laserschwert said:

I don't want it to be feature-length... I want a multi-part documentary along the lines of "Get Back", with each episode focusing on a different decade of his career.

 

This x 1000. If anyone can and should do it, it's Spielberg. But I can't really see it happening while JW is alive - the man is far too humble, but I also imagine after JW finally passes the rawness of losing a lifelong collaborator and friend would be upsetting to say the least, so it wouldn't be an immediate thing.

 

The important thing is that Spielberg properly archives the footage he took. I can't imagine he wouldn't have done so. 

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1 hour ago, Mr. Gitz said:

The production of Star Wars is certainly drama filled. Especially that original trilogy. With everything going on at ILM & George getting the rights from Fox to make sequels in the biggest studio blunder of all time(the billions they missed out on in merchandising & sequels is hilarious. Shows how forward thinking Lucas was that he lowered his upfront writing and directing fee for a bigger stake of the back end and all the sequel/prequel rights. Fox gave up all that $$$ for less than some magic beans. Penny wise and pound foolish. 

It'd be an interesting movie for sure, but I don't think Disney would allow such a movie, specially if it represents the studio execs in a bad light. They are extremely protective about their property. Not even Walt himself received a biopic, unless you count that forgettable flck about the production of Mary Poppins.

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History really needs a definitive document  of John’s career “in his own words”, which is why Spielberg should’ve been interviewing him yesterday.   I would love to hear his thoughts on each score, his days at 20th Century Fox with the great composers there, his feelings on the Pops, his thoughts on his jazz beginnings, tv work, comedies.   I’d like to hear his perspectives on multiple collaborations with Altman, Rydell, Stone, Columbus.   His thoughts on non-film composition.   There’s so much that could be told in an interesting way. 

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Who are Spielberg's people? How would we contact them to pass along this request?

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The more I think about it the more this needs to happen. And no crappy biopic please, we don’t need to see the death of his wife dramatised and his subsequent career shift to be romanticised and gawked at. A raw, truthful and honest look into the man.

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I don't necessarily need a much closer look at the man. I think, the best way to look at Williams is through his work and its development and how it evolved, how it was influenced by whom, how it was percieved by audience, critics, how his collaborations came up and went, with whome he worked together and how etc. And not just the highlits please. A closer look on works like A.I. or the desaster movies or images would be great as well.

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I'm pretty sure Williams has declined several offers of in-depth interviews. He seems much more interested in the future than the past (which makes The Legacy of John Williams an even more important project, in my opinion).

 

I would love for Spielberg to do for Williams what Tornatore did for Morricone, though.

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14 hours ago, Edmilson said:

It'd be an interesting movie for sure, but I don't think Disney would allow such a movie, specially if it represents the studio execs in a bad light. They are extremely protective about their property. Not even Walt himself received a biopic, unless you count that forgettable flck about the production of Mary Poppins.


You mean the movie where they wouldn’t allow Tom Hanks to portray Walt Disney, a 5 pack per day smoker, to be seen with a cigarette? They’ve even edit photos so Walt isn’t seen with a smoke in his hands. Which is ridiculous. The man died of lung cancer didn’t he? I hate when the truth is edited. 

 

Yeah that’s a very good point. I remember reading that a Walt bio pic script was written and possibly going into production independently. Disney got wind of it, bought the script and shelved it. 

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