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Alan Rickman Thought Williams’ Potter Score Was “Hideous”


Disco Stu
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The Guardian published an excerpt from the late Alan Rickman’s diary.  Here’s a bit that jumped out at me!

 

Quote

4 November [2001]
HARRY POTTER PREMIERE.
6.30pm The film should only be seen on a big screen. It acquires a scale and depth that matches the hideous score by John Williams. Party afterwards at the Savoy is much more fun.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2022/sep/24/alan-rickmans-secret-showbiz-diaries-harry-potter

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I think he was generally unhappy the production of Harry Potter was so ‘Hollywoodized’ and John Williams -in his eyes the most famous and noteworthy person working on the film- being the example to get his point across.

 

It’s actually a compliment when you think about it. 😉

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56 minutes ago, Fabulin said:

I would read it as a general, philosophical hostility, and a sardonic admission that the film and the score do work on the big screen as intended.

 

My reading as well.

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3 hours ago, Tallguy said:

Good heavens! What did he think of Galaxy Quest? 

Same thing he thought with HP--$$$.

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5 hours ago, Sandor said:

I think he was generally unhappy the production of Harry Potter was so ‘Hollywoodized’ and John Williams -in his eyes the most famous and noteworthy person working on the film- being the example to get his point across.

 

Agreed. I imagine Williams is just another face of Hollywood excess that he came to loathe. 

 

You can see through the entires that Cuaron's film was the only one he was actually rather happy with and fond of.

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To be fair, Rickman also thought Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, one of the worst movies I've seen in a theater in my life, was "absolutely ravishing," so his own personal taste might not be something to put any stock by :lol:

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2 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

To be fair, Rickman also thought Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, one of the worst movies I've seen in a theater in my life, was "absolutely ravishing," so his own personal taste might not be something to put any stock by :lol:

He meant ravishing in a bad way

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They're not wrong. As great a score as it is as a musical experience, it's really loud in the film in some sections.

 

I can easily imagine that if someone is of a mentality where they don't particularly go for large scale orchestral music or prefer more chamber-like scores, this will feel very OTT.

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It's music made to be noticed so it's either gonna hit your ears as majestic as a peacock, or as hideous (garish, gaudy, lurid...) as a peacock. It's John Williams so better than 50% odds it'll be majestic but what's a sarcastic English thespian to do with a Harry Potter soundtrack, really. 

 

The funniest and probably most unsurprising thing reading these diary entries is how blase he was about the HP experience in general. "Cameras rehearse before actors" sounds about right. I'm glad he stuck it out. 

 

I love picturing him and Maggie Smith cracking up as he attempts his "unlearnable" speech in DD's office in GOF. I assume he's referring to "Headmaster, I, too, find it difficult to believe this mere coincidence. However, if we are to truly discover the meaning of these events, perhaps we should, for the time being, let them unfold." 

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My first thought reading it was that his brain was running quicker and he just wrote the wrong word down, it doesn't fit into that sentence.

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9 minutes ago, Jay said:

@mrbellamy why did you use the Report button on your own post?

 

I didn't even know that was possible! 


That’s been an option this whole time?

 

 

Be right back, I’ve got a bunch of posts to report!

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Geez. Maybe he was still in character from one of his Michael Kamen scored films. 

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14 hours ago, Remco said:

Actually  the kids that grew up with it all love the score and it’s a huge part of the nostalgia for these films. Williams knows all too well what to do for this kind of film…

 

A back-handed compliment, really. When i think what my generation loved when we were kids, man...

 

Put on a very simplistic level it's of course true that JW wrote a memorable tune and the opening celeste is instantly recognizable. But back in 2001, a lot of people, and i mean not Alan Rickman, complained about the sheer overscoring and loudness of the score as mixed in the movie, especially in its first half.

 

For a film music fan this can be rewarding, for a patron trapped in a movie house, maybe less so. Williams was in full Episode 1 swing back then and it probably would have needed a director as strong as Cuaron (part 3) to reign him in a bit.

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5 hours ago, publicist said:

 

A back-handed compliment, really. When i think what my generation loved when we were kids, man...

 

Put on a very simplistic level it's of course true that JW wrote a memorable tune and the opening celeste is instantly recognizable. But back in 2001, a lot of people, and i mean not Alan Rickman, complained about the sheer overscoring and loudness of the score as mixed in the movie, especially in its first half.

 

For a film music fan this can be rewarding, for a patron trapped in a movie house, maybe less so. Williams was in full Episode 1 swing back then and it probably would have needed a director as strong as Cuaron (part 3) to reign him in a bit.


All I’m saying the score does what it needs to do for the intended audience. I have never heard anyone complain about overscoring except some movie buffs on the internet. And Columbus could’ve toned down the score in post-production, right? I assume he didn’t for a reason.

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54 minutes ago, Remco said:

All I’m saying the score does what it needs to do for the intended audience. I have never heard anyone complain about overscoring except some movie buffs on the internet. And Columbus could’ve toned down the score in post-production, right? I assume he didn’t for a reason.

 

 

Of course he did it for a reason, it just happened to be the wrong one (but that movie is awful, with or without the relentless scoring).

 

And back then, i can assure you, people were complaining: i remember because i worked in a local Multiplex during my university days and i had to take the complaints.

 

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I reckon people were complaining mostly about the first act? I can understand why.

 

As for Mr Rickman, someone else didn't like the music I like. What else is new? :lol:

 

Karol

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I saw the film in a screening with my Dad's work in a very small cinema and I definitely remember the music during the first act was really loud and upfront in several scenes. Letters arriving, opening the vault, then crossing the lake. I wouldn't say it's overscored as the music should be there, but it's orchestrated and mixed really loudly.

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29 minutes ago, publicist said:

 

 

Of course he did it for a reason, it just happened to be the wrong one (but that movie is awful, with or without the relentless scoring).

 

And back then, i can assure you, people were complaining: i remember because i worked in a local Multiplex during my university days and i had to take the complaints.

 


Interesting. I guess that I just like the music so much that it never bothered me…

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The first act of definitely hurt by the repetitive overuse of Hedwig's theme. All of the statements individually work, but there are too many of them.

 

Volume-wise, I hadn't thought about it in years, but I do seem to recall the music being loud in the theater. And Williams did unleash some true fortissimo passages, e.g. the title card and the reveal of the stone at Gringotts. Then again, movies in general were very loud to me back then. Sometimes they still are.

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1 hour ago, Sergeant said:

What is wrong with you people? It's perfect as it is. And I would say Azkaban(best score of those three) mix is annoying, music is way too low. But hey, I love Williams.

 

I wasn't complaining, personally; just saying that you'd be hard-pressed to ignore the music.

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8 minutes ago, Tom said:

Isn't publishing a dead man's diary a bit creepy?  

 

No: "The Diaries of Alan Rickman, written by the actor until his death with the intention of one day publishing them, will be released in autumn 2022" (The Guardian)

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6 minutes ago, Datameister said:

 

I wasn't complaining, personally; just saying that you'd be hard-pressed to ignore the music.

 

My comment wasn't for you personally, just the overall attitude of this thread, so many people annoyed by the heavy orchestral music. Same people here can't stand the music in the end of E.T. , too much for them. Huzzah

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The overall attitude of this thread is not that people are annoyed with orchestral music.  How did you read this thread and come away with that interpretation?

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5 minutes ago, Jay said:

The overall attitude of this thread is not that people are annoyed with orchestral music.  How did you read this thread and come away with that interpretation?

 

Orchestral music too heavily orchestrated,  too loud mixed. That's the problem if you read it right?

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A couple people here observed that it was loud, nobody here complained that it was loud

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Speaking as someone who still loves the books, the first two movies (and the last five) are pretty terrible, but of course I adore the scores and I listen to Stone/Chamber as novel-inspired tone poems really.

 

For Rickman, I think it's clear that he got a lot of satisfaction from playing that character over many years, even if the films weren't his thing as a viewer.

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Exactly!  "the one" is not "the overall attitude of this thread" , right?

 

People on this website love JW's Harry Potter scores, including the majority of the people in this thread!

 

They are great!

 

Everything does not have to be turned into an argument

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