Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Maurice Jarre and mood music

Ever since reading earlier that Maurice Jarre had died I have had the music to "Dr. Zhivago" on my brain. So we may as well get that out of the way and play it.

When I was in California with Leonard Pennario going to movies with him all the time we used to talk about movie music and he did not like Maurice Jarre. I am not sure why. I will have to look in my notes. But I like Maurice Jarre and his music.

"Dr. Zhivago" owes a lot of its magic specifically to Maurice Jarre's score. I remember vividly the first time I saw that movie, when I was 16 and my sister and I sat through it two and a half times. That scene where the little boy looks up from his mother's casket into the tree branches. The brooding Russian chants. The marvelous dances. I can hear the themes in my head.

I know this, that "Dr. Zhivago" would not be "Dr. Zhivago" without the music.

Just like "Spellbound" would not be "Spellbound" without the music by Miklos Rozsa.

And "Wuthering Heights" would not be "Wuthering Heights" without the music by Alfred Newman. Leonard and I agreed on that anyway. That music! That is why I can never watch a remake. Just the 1939 version for me, thank you very much.

There are movies like that. Without the music, they would be not nearly as good.

They are the best movies.


  1. Let's not forget Bernard Herrmann...I wonder if Pennario knew him or liked him.

  2. Alfred Newman, uncle of singer/songwriter/composer Randy Newman, was also the person whom Alfred E. Neuman (the MAD magazine boy) was named after.

  3. That is hilarious trivia! I did read that somewhere but you know what, I must have repressed the memory. That is an odd form of immortality, to have Alfred E. Neuman named after you...