I had the honor of introducing David Lean’s masterful 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia at the Academy Museum’s new David Geffen Theater, a wonderful 966-seat house and the perfect place to screen a 70mm, six-track stereo print. It was part of the Academy’s Branch Selects program, whereby each branch (in this case Music) chooses a significant film for a public screening. To my surprise and pleasure, the music governors recommended me as the person who should intro the film. It was a wonderful opportunity to herald the grand-scale work of French composer Maurice Jarre; Lawrence was the first of four films he would score for the distinguished British director, and he won Oscars for three of them: Lawrence, Doctor Zhivago and A Passage to India.
Over the past eight years, the Film Music Foundation has been interviewing composers and others active in the movie-music business — getting down their life stories, their career anecdotes, their thoughts about this curious profession. I have been privileged to conduct many of these, and the Foundation (as part of its educational initiative) has now made them available online. Visit the website here — but be ready to spend a lot of time there, because most of these interviews are between two and three hours long! So far, I’ve done songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman; and composers Bruce Broughton, Bill Conti, Danny Elfman, Dave Grusin, Maurice Jarre, Laurence Rosenthal and Lalo Schifrin. (Others feature such giants as Patrick Doyle, Johnny Mandel, Van Alexander and Richard Sherman.) Three more interviews are scheduled for the first quarter of 2016.
This amazing player of unusual percussion instruments — especially in film scores like The Ipcress File, The Quiller Memorandum, The Man Who Would Be King and others — died recently in London. I had interviewed him in 2008 about his work with John Barry, especially the unusual sound of the theme for TV’s The Persuaders!, and wrote this appreciation of the man.
Upon the death of French composer Maurice Jarre, the Los Angeles Times asked me to write about his music and its impact, both on the films he scored and popular culture generally. Here‘s that piece. I liked Maurice very much, and it was a pleasure to tape a long video “oral history” of him for the Film Music Foundation.