- - Monday, January 31, 2011

Composer dies

John Barry, who composed the score for 11 James Bond films, has died aged 77. Barry won five Oscars and was awarded an OBE in an illustrious career that saw him work on a number of other acclaimed film scores, including ‘Born Free,’ ‘Midnight Cowboy’ and ‘Out of Africa.’ He died of a heart attack, having suffered from poor health for some time. …

“On leaving the army he first found fame with the John Barry Seven, a band he founded that went on to have a number of hits. He then started working on music for the movies and his career took off when he arranged Monty Norman’s score for the first 007 film, ‘Dr No.’ It led to Barry working on other films in the series, including ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘You Only Live Twice.’

“While he will forever be associated with his Bond films oeuvre, he worked on many other scores and his Oscar wins were for ‘Born Free’ (for best song and best score), ‘The Lion in Winter,’ ‘Out of Africa’ and ‘Dances With Wolves.’”

Haroon Siddique, writing on “John Barry, Bond films’ man with the golden musical touch, dies aged 77,” on Jan. 31 at the Guardian

In defense of 3D

“Last week, Boxoffice offered an editorial rebuttal to Roger Ebert’s publication of a letter from Oscar-winning editor and sound designer Walter Murch about ‘why 3D doesn’t work and never will.’ On Saturday, James Cameron, executive producer of the new movie ‘Sanctum,’ said that Murch and Ebert’s objections were not only purely subjective to their 3D viewing experience, but largely unfounded scientifically. ‘I think that argument is 180 degrees going the wrong direction,’ Cameron told Boxoffice in an interview in Los Angeles, Calif. …

“Famously, Cameron spent seven years pioneering the Cameron/Pace 3D camera system that he eventually used to shoot ‘Avatar,’ and which he lent to the production of ‘Sanctum’ to offer audiences another demonstration of the potential for 3D storytelling. Reacting to Ebert’s recent blog post, Cameron said, ‘I think you’ve got to ask yourself a couple of questions. One, can these guys actually experience 3D? It’s a little bit like a colorblind critic suddenly having to deal with Technicolor, and saying, “I don’t see what all of the fuss is about.” Now, I don’t know for sure whether they can see it or not, Roger and Walter, if they can see it or experience it, but here’s what I know: 95 percent of people put on the glasses, watch something in 3D, and they love it. They’re hooked, just as I was hooked.’”

Todd Gilchrist, writing on “James Cameron Defends 3D,” on Jan. 31 at Box Office magazine

First Oscars

“The [first Oscar] awards were held in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on May 16, 1929, when awards were being delivered for the years 1927-28. The business understood that the top Oscar, for Best Production, had to be for a hit that made Hollywood feel good about itself. Hadn’t the Academy Awards been invented primarily as a public relations act? But there was another hope at work: an award for the best piece of what was called ‘artistic quality of production.’

“Who is sure of the gap between those two categories, then or now? The production Oscar went to William Wellman’s ‘Wings,’ a spectacular account of the air struggle from the Great War; it had dog-fights, heroism, exciting air footage … It had Clara Bow and Gary Cooper, vivid in a small role. …

“In the ‘artistic’ area, there was a closer contest, between King Vidor’s ‘The Crowd’ and Friedrich Murnau’s ‘Sunrise.’ They are both daring, beautiful, and inspired by the thought of extending film’s reach when the medium was still (for a moment) silent. ‘Sunrise’ beat ‘The Crowd,’ but you could do worse than run the two films and argue it out yourself.”

David Thomson, writing on “The Last Command: The movie that should have won the first ever Best Picture Oscar,” on Jan. 22 at the New Republic

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