film music

color exterior photograph of Highclere Castle as "Downton Abbey"
Focus Films / http://www.focusfeatures.com/videos

The main theme of the hit television series Downton Abbey is as recognizable to the ear as Big Ben's iconic tower is to the eye, from its first pulsing eighth notes ticking away like the moments of a moribund way of life.

color photo of balloons lifting house in Up
Pixar, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / YouTube

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the animated film Up, directed by Pete Docter, produced by Pixar and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Set initially in Ohio, Up unfolds in dazzling visuals the outlandish adventures of an elderly widower and a young boy. 

color photo of Jim Graham watching the P-51 Mustang in flight in Empire of the Sun
Amblin Entertainment / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ekv_mUb3yuo

September 2019 marks the 80th anniversary of Hitler's invasion of Poland, which opened the floodgates to World War II. On this occasion, this episode of SoundReels looks at a film set in the later years of the war.

color shot of Megasaki City from "Isle of Dogs"
FOX Searchlight / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTfSg77jrJw

Writer, director and producer Wes Anderson’s 2018 stop motion animation film Isle of Dogs was first screened at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival.

Anderson won that festival’s Silver Bear award for best director. The film and its musical score, with original music by Alexandre Desplat, also received nominations for Golden Globe, Critic’s Choice and Academy Awards, among others.

André Previn, a celebrated musical polymath, died Thursday morning; he was a composer of Oscar-winning film music, conductor, pianist and music director of major orchestras. His manager, Linda Petrikova, confirmed to NPR that he died at his home in Manhattan.

Janus Films / janusfilms.com

It’s the kind of drama that, well, drama is made of.

Before Joan of Arc was immortalized as a saint, she was an illiterate peasant mystic who heard the voice of God, led the French army to victory against the English during the Hundred Years’ War and was condemned as a heretic by the Catholic Church and burned at the stake – all before age 20.

United Artists

Even if you’ve never seen the 1957 hit musical West Side Story, I'll bet you can hum the tune from "Tonight," "Maria," "America" or any number of the show's signature songs and dance pieces on command.

Odeon Films / Lionsgate

A violin with a past is fated to keep dooming the present.

The Mirisch Co. and Alpha Productions / United Artists Corp.

John Sturges' 1960 Western remake of Akira Kurosawa's classic film Seven Samurai features an intense musical score by one of the great composers of film music, Elmer Bernstein. 

Pxhere

Ah, the joys of summer — sunshine, long days, grilling on the patio — and movies.

color photo of people sitting in a dark movie theater watching a bright white blank screen
Kenneth Lu / Flickr

Ah, the summer blockbuster. It’s a great American tradition—all those stars, all that action, all that popcorn.

But why deal with larger-than-life price tags and sticky movie-theater floors when you can stay home and take your ears to the movies on The American Sound?  

requiemformymother.com

Veteran Hollywood composer Stephen Edwards has seen a lot of drama, death and destruction on the silver screen but, until his mother passed away, he had experienced very little of it in his own life.

“I was kind of left not knowing what to do with myself,” Edwards said in a recent phone interview. "It was a feeling of helplessness, like I couldn’t do anything to bring her back, and I couldn’t do anything to help her."

olor photograph of a half-opened gate outside the old Ohio State Reformatory
Tom Hart / Creative Commons/Flickr

There’s an extraordinary scene midway through The Shawshank Redemption that illustrates the power of music to free the soul. It's a good message to remember when times get tough. And in case you haven't noticed yet, times have a tendency to do just that.