February 24th, 2007

Bones (Star Trek)


Happy Birthday

Don't think you know who he is? Well, you've heard his music. For one thing, he wrote the Perry Mason theme. His music for the Twilight Zone episode "100 Yards Over the Rim" was one of the best scores for that series. And that's really saying something. And I might add that if it's a recognizable recurring tension-building theme from Star Trek, it was probably written by Steiner.

I discovered the hard way last night that my copy of Rashômon is missing as well. "The hard way" is, of course, that I wanted to watch it and it wasn't there. I seem to recall loaning it to Art, though, so that isn't quite as alarming as some of the others.

waystone will recall the first time I ever saw Yojimbo was at her apartment; a mutual friend who was there (and seemed to otherwise enjoy the film) complained about Masaru Satô's score. I was a bit shocked when she looked to me for agreement, because I was really enjoying the music. In addition to being pretty catchy, the score doesn't allow the viewer to take the film too seriously by satirically overplaying each moment.* It is also a strange mix of Eastern sensibilities with Western musical approaches, combined with a (then) contemporary pop vibe, which is the sort of fusion that you rarely get outside of film music. The CD is complete, and that's way too complete; I need to edit down a decent playlist of this.

The reason for this reflection is that, for reasons best understood by my subconscious, Sanjûrô's theme from Yojimbo keeps running through my head. What's worse is that you can't whistle the damn thing, because all you'd get is the long melody line, and the fun of the piece is the raw brass blatting away (I'd love to hear this theme played in stereo):

It occurs to me watching this sample that the new Criterion remaster of Yojimbo is, in fact, the first time that I had ever seen the original Japanese credit sequence. All previous video transfers in the United States, including my Criterion laserdisc, have utilized the American version (which is what you see above). While my initial interest in the selection of that clip was purely to provide a sample of the music, it occurs to me that this follows the pattern I've had of late of posting titles sequences, so I've added a new titles tag to my list.

* This is actually something that would be echoed in Ennio Morricone's playful score for the remake A Fistful of Dollars, but never again for a Sergio Leone film. While he would still have moments of levity, Morricone would ever after primarily emphasize the more intense aspects of Leone's work, encouraging the viewer to take the films very seriously.

My Name is Nobody doesn't count.