Some of the greatest film directors and composers working today, including Francis Ford Coppola, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, John Barry, Gustavo Santaolalla and David Shire, celebrate the impact music has on our movie-going experience in "Lights! Action! Music!", a new television documentary premiering exclusively on WLIW New York Public Television tonight at 9:30pm ET. On August 14, Capitol/EMI will release a new 2-CD companion titled "Hollywood's Greatest Hits," showcasing 45 classic compositions featured in "Lights! Action! Music!". Following tonight's premiere, WLIW will distribute the program to public television stations nationwide throughout August (check local listings).
"Hollywood's Greatest Hits" is a unique recording achievement. Produced by Dan Lieberstein, the project was crafted with the purpose of preserving the legacy of these great film scores. Since the written scores for many of these films have been lost through the decades, each composition included on "Hollywood's Greatest Hits" was first painstakingly transcribed by expert musicians around the world before it could be recorded. The project was then taken to the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra and recorded using the latest audio technology. "Hollywood's Greatest Hits" is a recording that will enrich any film lover's library and impress any audiophile.
"In Lights! Action! Music!", using classic examples of unforgettable scores from films such as "The Great Train Robbery", "Rocky" and "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three", many of today's top filmmakers and composers reveal their inspiration and let movie-goers in on the creative process that makes motion pictures emotional. Movie audiences might not take conscious note of the music in a movie that is not a musical, but these passionate interviews about the art of scoring for film will spark a new appreciation for the role just a single note in the opening scene can take on. Director Mira Nair ("Monsoon Wedding"), points to the score's ability to tell audiences "from the first tone, the first note, that you're going to have a bloody good time at this movie."
Composer John Barry, whose work includes "Out of Africa" and ten James Bond films, describes how music is often an "emotional signpost" in movies. Francis Ford Coppola marvels at a composer's ability to "come up with a musical expression of the entire movie in just a few notes," as David Shire did with the opening notes for "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three". And Spike Lee, whose frequent musical collaborator Terence Blanchard also appears in the program, explains, "As a director, you've seen the film a million times. For me, the film never really becomes a film until the score is put in."
As demonstrated in "Lights! Action! Music!" and "Hollywood's Greatest Hits," a great movie score helps make that world real and unforgettable, and makes you want the movie not to end. Try imagining Rocky Balboa climbing those steps in Philadelphia without Bill Conti's heroic theme and one starts to understand.