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The Hollywood Soundtrack Story

By interviewing filmmakers, composers, musicians and record execs, the smartly organized "Soundtrack" traces the history of film music -- from silent-pic accompaniments, through groundbreaking scores by the likes of Max Steiner, Miklos Rozsa and Alex North, to the marketing of compilation albums that began with "Easy Rider."

With:
Host: Randy Newman. The Hollywood Soundtrack Story" is an excellent primer on an aspect of showbiz that's too rarely tackled, film music. The only disadvantage is that there is so much material to cover, and it's covered so well, one wishes AMC had made it a mini rather than a one-hour spec.

By interviewing filmmakers, composers, musicians and record execs, the smartly organized “Soundtrack” traces the history of film music — from silent-pic accompaniments, through groundbreaking scores by the likes of Max Steiner, Miklos Rozsa and Alex North, to the marketing of compilation albums that began with “Easy Rider.”

“Soundtrack” benefits from the insights of premier scorers like Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith and Leonard Rosenman, who discuss the creative process, the business and technical hurdles, andtheir solutions to problems.

Bernstein, for example, talks about his creating urgency and “raw energy” by going against the slow tempos of “The Magnificent Seven.” David Raksin speaks of “Laura,” which helped create the phenomenon of title tunes.

Docu, which intersperses film clips with the interviews, also provides a brief look at a scoring session, and peek into technology and instruments used by scorers.

All the key points are touched upon, but each of the topics could be explored more deeply.

High praise to AMC, producers Eric Bersh and Barry Simon and writer/co-producer Tony Thomas for organizing a wealth of material into an enjoyable and informative hour.

Randy Newman — a member of the Alfred/Lionel Newman musical dynasty, and a composer of two all-time great scores (“Ragtime”

and “The Natural”) — is the eminently qualified and likable host.

The Hollywood Soundtrack Story

Production: American Movie Classics Filmed by Simon Bersh Entertainment for American Movie Classics. Exec producer, Lewis Bogach; producers, Eric Bersh, Barry Simon; writer/co-producer, Tony Thomas; director, Simon.

Crew: Camera, Lee Grover; editor, David Mower; theme music, Peter Davison.

With: Host: Randy Newman. The Hollywood Soundtrack Story" is an excellent primer on an aspect of showbiz that's too rarely tackled, film music. The only disadvantage is that there is so much material to cover, and it's covered so well, one wishes AMC had made it a mini rather than a one-hour spec.

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