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Author Topic: Lennie Niehaus ........ no more !  (Read 9225 times)
Walt
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« on: January 27, 2003, 02:05:28 PM »

Am I the only one who wishes Clint would stop employing the most boring composer working in motion pictures to day .
I can't think of a single memorable soundtrack from the man . Even Unforgiven's main theme was written by Clint .
Sorry if this sounds like a rant but my heart sinks every time I see Niehaus' name on the poster . Does anyone else employ him ?
Please bring back Lalo Schifrin , Ennio Morricone or some of todays finest such as James Horner or Hans Zimmer and give the old retainer a not so well deserved rest .
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gwb
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2003, 04:09:40 PM »

Am I the only one who wishes Clint would stop employing the most boring composer working in motion pictures to day .
I can't think of a single memorable soundtrack from the man . Even Unforgiven's main theme was written by Clint .
Sorry if this sounds like a rant but my heart sinks every time I see Niehaus' name on the poster . Does anyone else employ him ?
Please bring back Lalo Schifrin , Ennio Morricone or some of todays finest such as James Horner or Hans Zimmer and give the old retainer a not so well deserved rest .

I haven't been impressed with him, either....  Although I did enjoy the title tune to Blood Work.

On a side note - I listened to the soundtrack to In The Line Of Fire recently, by Morricone, and it had similar sounds / parts to the spaghetti western tracks....
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KC
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2003, 06:58:37 PM »

Eastwood is one of the few composers working who doesn't overuse nondiegetic music in his films. "Memorable" scores often detract from the visual presentation of the story. Eastwood uses music to enhance the mood of his scenes, not to set it, and not to tell audiences how to feel.

Eastwood and Niehaus have collaborated since 1984's Tightrope. Obviously, Niehaus is giving Eastwood just the right kind of music for the films he wants to make. I hope their collaboration will continue to flourish.
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Brendan
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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2003, 07:07:23 PM »

I agree KC.

Some movies I've watched recently have had such over powering themes, that I forget about the movie itself.

You remember sound as opposed to sight.

The score for Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Superman... well pretty much anything John Williams has done, does this. It makes me detract from what Im seeing, and for the rest of the movie, Im replaying the theme back in my head.

At least with Eastwood and Niehuas, its not so over powering, so I get a chance to pay attention to the movie.
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Lilly
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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2003, 07:14:06 PM »

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Niehaus is giving Eastwood just the right kind of music for the films he wants to make. I hope their collaboration will continue to flourish.
Well said KC!  Mr Niehaus is a very talented musician and composer.  He has written a number of excellent, unobtrusive pieces for Eastwood films.
Quoting Walt:
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Even Unforgiven's main theme was written by Clint
That's true, but as with Doe Eyes from The Bridges Of Madison County, Clint collaborated with Niehaus to arrange the music for the film.  Without Niehaus' input, the soundtracls of many Eastwood films would be the poorer.

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Christopher
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« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2003, 07:17:30 PM »

I have the "Music from the Movies of Clint Eastwood" CD and I like the suite Niehaus wrote for Out of the Shadows.

But of course if you don't like the stuff, you don't like the stuff. That's all right.
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AKA23
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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2003, 11:29:51 PM »

I see what you're saying Walt, but I have to disagree with you. I love a lot of the music in Eastwood's films of late. I really like "Kate's Theme" in Absolute Power , the orchestral version of "Big Fran's Baby" in A Perfect World , "Claudia's Theme" in Unforgiven , "Why Should I Care" in True Crime ,  "Espacio" in Space Cowboys . All of these are composed by Lennie Niehaus and Clint Eastwood, so I can't agree that the guy has not done any good work. I think it's just a difference of opinion as to the function of musical scores.

I personally like scores like Morricone's various scores in Eastwood films, especially In the Line of Fire . KC happens to not care for them. That's just a difference of opinion. You apparently love them and wish there was more music in Eastwood films and that it was more pronounced. At times, I wish that there were more music in Eastwood's films, but at the same time, I do sympathize with people who say that bombastic scores can sometimes overwhelm the film.

For example, I think the score in The Untouchables is great. It's another one of those bombastic type scores, but I think it works for the film. I think the score in In the Line of Fire adds something to the film that it wouldn't have if it had a more Eastwoodian, subtle, unobtrusive score, but I don't think those types of scores fit with the type of mood that Clint Eastwood wants to set in his films. That's not what he's about. We're not going to see a change in that any time soon.

Music can be used in a variety of ways. It's simply a difference of opinion. Sure, I think it would be interesting to see Eastwood work with some other composers, but I doubt that that's really going to happen at this point in his career. He likes Niehaus, and he's done some good work for him, so why is he going to change him? I don't think he will, and I don't necessarily think that he should. He's contributed some great scores, and just because they're not bombastic or overly dramatic, that doesn't mean that they're not memorable or that they don't aproppriately compliment the films.    
« Last Edit: January 27, 2003, 11:32:15 PM by AKA23 » Logged
KC
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2003, 12:44:24 AM »

 ::) AKA, I never said I don't care for "Morricone's various scores in Eastwood films." I said I didn't care for ONE of them, namely the In the Line of Fire score ... to my ears, it's routine "movie music." But Morricone has certainly done better.

Morricone's scores for the Dollars films are indispensible, for the type of exaggerated, over the top, operatic, even cartoonish (in a good sense) productions those were. Eastwood laughed when Christopher Frayling told him "Someone once wrote that Leone’s films are 'operas in which the arias aren’t sung, they are stared'" ... and he answered like this:

Quote
A film has to have a sound of its own, and the Italians—who don’t record sound while they’re shooting—are very conscious of this. Sergio Leone felt that sound was very important, that a film has to have its own sound as well as its own look. And I agree … Leone’ll get a very operatic score, a lot of trumpets, and then all of a sudden “ka-pow!” He’ll shut it off and let the horses snort and all that sort of thing. It’s very effective.
(From an interview published in Frayling's Clint Eastwood, 1992; reprinted in Clint Eastwood: Interviews, p. 130-131.)

But Leone's style was one thing, and Eastwood's is quite another.

By the way, the five titles you mentioned from Eastwood's recent films, rather than being "composed by Lennie Niehaus and Clint Eastwood," were composed by Eastwood, himself, and orchestrated by Niehaus. It's no accident that Eastwood's practice, since Tightrope, of inserting themes of his own composition into most of his films began with his collaboration with Niehaus. He obviously trusts Niehaus to take his raw material and integrate it with the rest of the score in such a way that it lends another personal touch to the film's fabric without being a distraction from the lines of the narration.
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AKA23
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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2003, 12:51:22 AM »

Yes, I knew that you were talking about the score for In the Line of Fire and not all of the other films in which Eastwood appeared that Ennio Morricone did the score for. I wasn't suggesting that you didn't like any of the scores, but I agree that it was worded badly and did convey that message. I didn't mean to suggest that you didn't care for any of the scores. I was trying to single out In the Line of Fire , but I realize that wasn't the way that it sounded.

As far as Niehaus orchestrating themes that Eastwood composed, I knew that too, but I didn't make much of a distinction betweeen composing and orchestrating. I should have. The bottom line that I was trying to convey to Walt is my belief that Niehaus and Eastwood worked on these things together, and that it wasn't all Clint Eastwood's doing that the particular compositions worked wonderfully in Eastwood's films. My point was that it was a collaboration, and that in light of this, Clint Eastwood as well as Lennie Niehaus should both be given credit and recognized for their excellent work.
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AKA23
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« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2003, 12:55:41 AM »

Walt, another suggestion if I may. You may want to think about changing the subject of this thread to something else. When I first read it, I immediately thought that Clint Eastwood was either no longer employing Lennie Niehaus, that they had some kind of a falling out, or that he had retired, or died. It made me think that perhaps it was going to be an announcement of his death, and then I was relieved to read that all you were trying to say is that you didn't care for his scores. You don't have to take my suggestion, but I felt that the title was a little misleading, and may be conveying the wrong impressions.
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davytriumph
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« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2003, 01:09:09 AM »

I have said before on the board That I don`t care too much for Mr. Niehaus`s music and I also was shot down.
So Walt,  you`re not alone!
I agree, give us Schifrin, Morricone or even Horner, Zimmer, Trevor Rabin.  The list goes on.
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KC
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« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2003, 01:58:01 AM »

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But that would be with some other director.

 ;)
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AKA23
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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2003, 02:15:47 AM »

For anyone (like myself) who had absolutely no concrete idea what a diegetic or non diegetic sound was, I've done a little bit of research for you. This appears to not be an actual word because I looked in several dictionaries both online and in dictionary volumes that I have and nowhere could I find a mention of diegetic or nondiegetic. If you're confused like I am, I offer this definition that I found on the Internet. I'm sure that KC can give a much better explanation:

Quote


Non Diegetic
 
Definition
 
Any element, usually sound, that has no pinpointable origin within the film frame; for example, background music.
 

From reading a bit more about it, I took it to also convey in a film context embellished scores that don't reallly connect with or originate from the film itself, but from some other source. The fact that the score is embellished and doesn't compliment the film is exactly what KC was trying to convey with the usage of the word I would imagine.

In the future KC, I don't think that I was the only one that wasn't exactly clear as to what this word was, and as it seems to not even be in the dictionary, would you mind perhaps offsetting a simple definition (especially for these film terminologies that many of us are probably very unfamiliar with) so that the rest of us who have not studied film extensively will be better able to understand your argument. The word was very aproppriate for what you were trying to convey, but I wasn't exactly sure what that was, and I don't consider myself a stupid person. I don't think that's a very common word, and in the future, I think it would be helpful to me if you were to explain a little bit about it. :) Would you mind doing that in the future if you feel that there might be a word that the majority of non film scholars would not understand or be able to appreciate?  ;)
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Daisy Abigael
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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2003, 04:58:47 AM »

Hmm.  AKA - just because it is obscure does not mean diegetic is not "an actual word"! It is film criticism jargon - just like all professions and areas of interest, film criticism has its jargon.

Here is a site that defines it all very nicely:http://www.filmsound.org/terminology/diegetic.htm


BTW:

Sergio Leone and Morricone were especially fond of mixing diegetic and non-diegetic sound in their collaborations:

The chimes of Indio and Col. Mortimer's watches are diegetic - there they are on screen, they exist in the world of the film.   But then they get swept up into the score of the film and are used as a theme - they become non-diegetic and sometimes it is hard to tell whether they are real sounds in the world of the film - that the characters can hear - or part of the musical score which only the audience can.

This reaches its absolute peak in Once Upon A Time In America:  the endless telephone ringing over several different scenes and decades.  We see a hand pick up a phone and the ringing continues!  The sound effect diegetic in one time/scene but non-diegetic in another!

In most films it boils down to whether the music you can hear has a source in the story or is external to it.  So if a band on screen strikes up a song - diegetic.  If the music is accompanying the action but is unheard by the protagonists of the movie - non-diegetic.

Woody Allen - amongst many others - has fun with this in Bananas:  The mood music that accompanies him in his hotel room turns out to be being played by musicians hiding in his wardrobe!  The apparantly non-diegetic score that we are all used to as a part of the grammar of film turns out to be surrealistically diegetic after all!

Another famous example of playing with this convention comes in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles:  As the new black sherrif comes riding over the range to the accompanyment of a big band number he actually encounters Count Basie and his entire orchestra anachronistically present in the middle of nowhere!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2003, 05:10:31 AM by Daisy Abigael » Logged

Daisy Girl!
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« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2003, 05:17:43 AM »

Mel Brooks did a similar gag in Blazing Saddles: the first reveal of Cleavon Little's Bart as Sheriff, where the familiar strains of Duke Ellington can be heard, eventually revealing Duke and his orchestra on a bandstand in the middle of the desert. Good times, good times.

*DRAT, YOU EDITED IN THE Blazing Saddles REFERENCE, DAISY!

Decades later, Keenan Ivory Wayans did a variation on this bit in his Blaxploitation parody I'm Gonna Git You Sucka!, where Bernie Casey's John Slade tells Keenan that every good action hero needs a themesong, and reveals a traveling band that follows behind him with his.


KC and I had an opportunity to talk to longtime editor Joel Cox a couple years back. Among many other pearls, Mr. Cox said that because Spielberg had been attached as director before Clint came onto The Bridges of Madison County, and since he and Amblin were continuing to produce, Spielberg suggested Clint should use a John Williams score Steven had already comissioned (Williams has scored all of Spielberg's flicks). Clint politely but firmly let him know he was going in another direction. And thank goodness.

The music in The Bridges of Madison County, which is mostly diegetic with the exception of the quiet "Doe Eyes" theme, and like all of Eastwood's subtle and perfectly underplayed touches on that movie, miraculously turned a horrible book into a very effective and moving film. Even with the exact same excellent adaptation for a script, in Spielberg's hands and with another John Williams emotions-by-numbers obtrusive score, I fear what Bridges the movie may have become.


Ummm, in case you couldn't tell, definitely count me in on the fans of Lennie side.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2003, 07:30:44 AM by Holden Pike » Logged

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Daisy Abigael
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« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2003, 05:40:33 AM »

Quote
*DRAT, YOU EDITED IN THE Blazing Saddles REFERENCE, DAISY!

LOL!  Sorry 'bout dat, Peck! ;D

And it was Count Basie!

« Last Edit: January 28, 2003, 05:45:15 AM by Daisy Abigael » Logged

Daisy Girl!
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« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2003, 06:47:18 AM »

D'oh! I knew dat. The song is "April in Paris", one of Basie's signature tunes!
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Walt
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« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2003, 06:50:11 AM »

Nice to see my thread has provoked such discussion ( I thought it might )
Some of you seem to have the wrong idea however .
I don't want the music in Clints films to be " overpowering and bombastic " that's not it at all .
Let's me honest , Clint and Lennie are old friends . They have a love of jazz music , a good working relationship and it's probably very easy and comfortable for both .
That does not mean to say it produces great soundtracks because , in my opinion , it does'nt .
There are dozens of composers in the industry today who could , and would compliment these movies in ways Niehaus could only dream of . As I said earlier....... does anyone else employ him , not many .
I have a great love for all kinds of music as well as movies and I pride myself in a large soundtrack collection . I used to look forward to buying an Eastwood soundtrack if I could find them but with Lennie at the helm , no longer .
Take Jerry Fieldings work from The Outlaw Josey Wales and The Gauntlet as examples of near perfect Clint soundtracks . The genius that is Lalo Schifrin almost goes without saying and I'm not even going into the amount of hard working composers in Hollywood at present .
Everything in life is down to personal taste and , I'm afraid , I don't care for Niehaus' music . Someone mentioned Absolute Power  , well try listening to the music that accompanies the scene at the outdoor cafe as the sniper is lining up his shot . It's terrible , no more so , it's disgraceful .
I could go on but I think you get the picture . I'm amazed to see that quite a few people here claim to like the mans work but hey , one mans meat is another mans poison .
« Last Edit: January 28, 2003, 06:54:30 AM by Walt » Logged
gwb
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« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2003, 07:37:09 AM »

.... Someone mentioned Absolute Power  , well try listening to the music that accompanies the scene at the outdoor cafe as the sniper is lining up his shot . It's terrible , no more so , it's disgraceful . ....

That's actually one of the reasons I did not like that film....
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Christopher
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« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2003, 08:28:15 AM »

Wow, this has been a very educational thread. I didn't know the terms "diegetic" and "non-diegetic."
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