Is a movie ever complete without music?
“F— no,” Justin Tranter (“Klaus”) declared at Gold Derby’s Meet the Experts: Music panel, moderated by this author (watch above), which also featured Diane Warren (“Breakthrough”), H. Scott Salinas (“The Banker”) and Alex Somers (“Honey Boy”). “Music is everywhere. You can’t even go to the grocery store without music, so I feel like there are amazing examples of films without music. … [But] it’s the universal language. It can enhance emotion, I think, better than almost anything. That’s why music’s everywhere.”
Added Warren: “I think Quincy [Jones] said something about that one time: Watch a movie with no music and see how that affects you. It’s so important; it’s like another character.”
Of course, there have been films sans music, like “Mother” (2017), which Somers dubbed “creatively absent of score,” and “No Country for Old Men” (2007), which featured very minimal music.
“It can happen. I love it when I’m working with a filmmaker and they try really hard not to temp. They try to turn over a cut without music,” Salinas said. “We’re so used to temps now as composers and sort of outlining guidelines, which can be helpful in a time crunch. But when you get a movie turned over to you and there’s nothing there, it’s like holy moly! That’s the way they used to do movies until very recently. … So I do think there’s something to be said about a movie that can stand on its own without music, and then the music doesn’t break it and hopefully makes it better.”
The songwriters and composers also shared their favorite movie songs and scores — and Tranter’s is one of Warren’s. “My favorite song from a movie, she wrote. It’s ‘I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’ performed by Aerosmith [from ‘Armageddon’]. One of the greatest songs. … You are the greatest songwriter of all time.”
“Oh wow, thank you so much,” replied Warren, whose favorite movie tunes are two British drama title tracks. “My favorite song from a movie is ‘To Sir with Love.’ It’s my all-time favorite. Isn’t that the most beautiful song ever? And ‘Born Free.’ Songs that make you just cry.”
Video by Andrew Merrill
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