Music In Film

Here at the SDF we teach all aspects of filmmaking. From start to finish we believe every aspect is equally important.

I’ve decided to spend some time exploring different aspects of what makes up the films I love.

This week I wanted to explore how music is used in some of my favorite movies.

Indiana Jones

The second I hear the “bum ba dum ba” of the theme music I become a child ready to go on a great adventure. I don’t know how he did it but John Williams captured the character and tone of the film perfectly. The song has a sense of adventure and excitement that is infectious. I cannot hear the music and not picture Indiana with his iconic hat and whip.

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Shaun of the Dead

Shaun of the Dead is a movie that finds the funny. There is a scene in the movie that uses Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen where the main characters beat up a zombie with pool cues in sync with the music. It makes the moment super silly and provides for many more jokes.

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Blue Velvet

This is a strange scene in a strange film and I love it so much. I love how unsettling and weirdly sweet it is. It reveals so much about Dean Stockwell’s character Ben but with out really telling us anything. It defines the strange relationship between Frank Booth and Ben and tells us Dorothy Vallen’s mood after seeing her son. The director/writer David Lynch considers this the pivotal scene in the film.

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Requiem for a Dream

The song that sums up the soundtrack and film is Lux Aeterna. It is highly emotional and reflects the darkness that the characters go through. Every time I hear it it draws me in and haunts me. The song follows the tone of the movie which both builds to a crazy intensity, subtlety sneaks up on you then gets in your face. The other songs on soundtrack have a similar feeling to them and some reflect the hip hop montage style of editing used in the film.

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Moulin Rouge

This soundtrack is one of my favorites. I’m amazed how they were able to mix and mash all the different songs together in a way that works. I have been listening to it for 10+ years and I am still discovering what songs they used to mash it together. The music take me into the world of Moulin Rouge. I love that I get caught up in the story every time I listen to the soundtrack.

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Thinking about the music I love in movies I realize that the best music is as much a part of the movie as the costumes or dialogue or how a shot looks. It adds to the film and helps tell the story rather than just standing on it’s own as music.

What are some of your favorite uses of music in movies?

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