I often listen to the BBC Radio 4, from wherever I am in the world….. if I can stream it…I love it and it makes me feel at home again. This is not BBC World, which is more tailored to International listening and is drier and not so interesting to me. Radio 4 is local to the UK and before I could get it I really missed it…there is radio drama, quizzes, comedy, poetry, political discussion, news etc. I love the plays etc on the radio…..that’s all there was before Television and the people creating it were and are so talented. Just listened to a wonderful 45 minute play about the Beatles early start and their initial devastating (to them) rejection by George Martin. The play is pure fantasy and the timelines all wrong, but it is a moving and sweet memory of their dazzling appearance on the music scene. I remember it well. I was making my first big film at the time – The System aka The Girl-Getters ….. it was called in the US…… and our Director, Michael Winner announced that he had just found the perfect new group for our dance-hall sequence – The Beatles! Michael may not have been the greatest Film Director, but he had a great feel for sales and marketing. Alas he was just a bit too late, the Beatles had just released their first big hit and were on their way….now too big for our quality, but small indie film. So he got the Shadows, another decent name at the time, for the opening titles. I don’t know whether people realise how much music can make a film and elevate it from just a film to a really memorable film. Who can forget all of John William’s great film scores, Jaws, Star Wars, Jurassic Park etc and the heartbreaking theme from Schindlers List, …….doubt the themes from Laurence of Arabia, the James Bond theme and Dr Zhivago all helped make those movies successful.
Music and sound- often the sound of the BBC, it brings back so many memories for me. I think I will always associate the Beatles with my experiences of the early Sixties…the start of my career and some of the amazing parts I had….my relationship with David Hemmings…the home we shared in Croydon- of all places and our dog, Jasper, a border collie, our surrogate child I suppose. I remember meeting Chrissie Beveridge, makeup artist extraordinaire, who was then starting out working for the BBC, on a TV show which David was doing at the time and us all hanging out together on Box Hill…a beauty spot in Surrey, doubling for much of mainland Europe in David’s show….(think it was called Auto Stop)…..
So …..now…. as our Director and Editor, Mike Tetro is busy cutting my latest short About Andy, the music and sound are very much on my mind. Mike tells me that he is asking one of our crew members, Camera Assistant, Cary Judd to compose the music. Music is another of Cary’s professional accomplishments and experience and I am happy that he will do the music. We had a very good person doing the sound on the film…thank goodness…so you should be able to hear what we say! One of my moans today is often about bad sound on productions , starting with the recording, then bad engineering, actors who mumble and finally poor quality in the distribution/showing. Old equipment, in theatres, distortion in streaming, etc etc…I could go on. Sound is a very underrated component of our industry and is an art form all on its own. I wish more of the young people coming in to the business would learn it …they think it’s all about the camera and the visual…they don’t think sound is “sexy”….wrong….
More later from sunny Southern California and my much loved Pacific Ocean.
Great posting, Jane. Thanks for drawing attention to music and sound. William Friedkin said that sound is just as important as the visuals in a movie. How much more spectacular STAR WARS was with not only the great music but Ben Burtt’s sound design. John Williams has always been one of my heroes. When SUPERMAN came out I bought the two-record album of the soundtrack and that started my love for classical music and movie soundtracks.
Even on the small screen a great soundscape is so captivating and engaging.
My wife and I have been watching Endeavour where the sounds and images are woven so beautifully together to help recreate the feel of the 1960s. Barrington Pheloung’s amazing theme tune just adds to the quality of this series.
As I’m writing I’ve just watched a re-run episode of the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and again the fabulous theme tune and haunting (no pun intended) incidental music by Edwin Astley using harpsicord, clarinets and flutes are the cherry and cream on the top of the cake – sumptuous!!