Saturday, 11 June 2011

Let's face the music - and talk (1. Ennio Morricone)

I highly react to film music. I can’t help it – and I won’t help it. :”)

But I will try and - if I can - establish a little series in which I will write about scores, composers – and ways more about my enthusiasm for these awesome pieces of music that we often hear but seldom realize. I might pick one composer or one movie or... - we'll see..

This is going to be quite personal – but you can avoid to read to much about "yours truly" because I will name every post LET’S FACE THE MUSIC – AND TALK - so you will know when to hide..

So let’s start with the music I grew up with:

Maybe you should know that I grew up with a father who is a great fan of western and adventure films and whatever. – Let there be some dirty “real men” who know how to use their fists and now and then spit out a sassy sound bite – my dad will love it.

Can’t imagine anything more lovable when thinking of my highly intelligent dad than this big man laughing about some silly jokes and a fat guy socking a bunch of meanies – yeah, my dad is great. We had some fights and not so very beautiful moments but I think we go along now. (Yes, I moved out years ago – how could you guess that? Well, it seems that I am starting to become nostalgic and forget things – don’t we all?)

Some of the films my daddy loves have the greatest score you can imagine. He and my mother also have a large collection of records – and some of them content the music of one man on whose genius my family agrees completely about. It is the Italian composer and conductor

Ennio Morricone.

I think his name is best know from several “Spaghetti Western” scores (though he wrote music for “only” 30 -40 of them).

2007 he received an Honorary Oscar for his life achievement – and he was nominated for several other awards of which he won a lot..

Hans Zimmer once called him his favorite composer in the world – and Hans Zimmer isn’t bad himself, is he?

Ennio Morricone worked also with Brian de Palma for THE UNTOUCHABLES (1987) and MISSION TO MARS (2000), with John Carpenter for THE THING (1982), with John Boorman for THE EXCORCIST II (1977) and with Wolfgang Petersen for IN THE LINE OF FIRE (1993) - to just name a few.

But for me - and presumably many others - he will always be the man who wrote music like these:

MY NAME IS NOBODY (1973) – one of my father's favorite films.. And - you know: there are Terence Hill’s famous blue eyes.. I am a fan of dark eyes.. - but this man.. well.. – let’s change the subject. This Nobody was pretty cool.. and this melody is one of the most cheerful I know:

THE BALLAD OF SACCO AND VANZETTI (1971) – which is quite political – read more about Sacco and Vanzetti and ask wiki.

The song was originally written for the Italian docudrama SACCO E VANZETTI (1971) but is also used for GERMANY IN AUTUMN (1978) and in Wes Anderson’s amazing THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU (2004).

This was one of my favorite songs – and I still love it very much. It has a wonderful melody – very powerful. When I was a kid I used to hear it over and over at night and cry a bit.. Though I had no clue what this song was about. I always was an odd chick.. Maybe it was the organ..

But let's listen to Joan Baez:

THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966). Okay - who of you still says he/she doesn’t know anything musical by Ennio Morricone?

How can you possibly have survived till this day and don’t know this tune?? I use this one rather often to tease my sister – whenever she starts to give me the evil eye (just before she is about to “explode”) and the strain becomes really hard for me I start to hum this melody – including some sounds which may remind you of a duck in change of voice.. In most cases I think this melody saves my live, because my sister starts to laugh – and if someday it won’t be working anymore – well, it’ll be the perfect score.. ;”)

A FIST FULL OF DOLLARS (1964) – I just love how this melody builds up: First you hear a soft guitar, then a whistle is added and after that this trill and so on – it’s just awesome!:

For the fans: ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968) – this one kills me. This is an unbelievable heavy piece of music – very dark and it is able to depress me. I guess that I couldn't possibly make a post about Morricone an leaving this one out..

And finally – you get a scene to see how Ennio Morricone’s music can make a scene quite impressiv which would be a bit dull ~ yeah! I said it. Just a bit, boys! Keep your shirt on! I don't say it's bad - I just say it's better with music. ;"p ~ :

It's from A FEW DOLLARS MORE (1965) and I post this scene in Italian – so you can completely concentrate on the music and the pictures. (Won’t work so good, if you’re able to speak Italian – but I just couldn’t find a version in “Elvish”..)

It's the finale - so you should be prepared of spoilers.. ;")

( I think this is kind of a favorite scene for mothers: “See? Even Clint Eastwood is able to clean up!”)

Tell me: Do you like Ennio Morricone's music? Have you got a favorite melody by him?

Just for fun I am adding a poll so you can vote for your favorite melody of those I presented here – quite interactive, eh? ;”)

Thank you very much for visiting this blog – and I hope you liked what you saw.

Yours (very well and) truly



  1. Ooh, really looking forward to this series, as I also love soundtracks. I love Ennio Morricone! I don't think I've heard a bad score from him. Personal favorites are "The Untouchables," "For a Few Dollars More," "Duck, You Sucker," and of course "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." I love his Western scores in general, but he excels in just about every area. It was great to listen to these cues here!

  2. Awesome post Irene. One of your best. Adding all the clips and your little history about your family was a nice touch. Also how you mentioned Hans Zimmer, who is one of the best modern film scorers out there. And having the poll on your sidebar asking about favorite Ennio piece is very nice too. I voted for The Good, The Bad and the Ugly..just ahead of Once Upon a Time. Fantastic job Irene.

  3. Hey, Deborah!

    Thank you very much - how nice saying you're looking forward for this series! And even nicer to meet someone who also likes soundtracks that much. :") I hope that I will be able to post a lot of good music here - well, music I like.. ;")

    thank you soo much! What more can I say? Just: Thank you.

  4. I really enjoyed your LET’S FACE THE MUSIC – AND TALK post. I voted for THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY.


  5. Aww - thank you Dawn! Always a pleasure to read your comments.

  6. Great post! He definitely did some great western scores and we so seldom focus on the composers.
    I'd say quite a bit of work went into this post. Thanks for the efforts!
    Wonderfully classic blog site too! Okay - maybe is my age - your blog is nostalgic. LOL

  7. Hihi - thank you Martha! I say: all the work is worth its effort if I'll earn such nice comments! :") Great to have you here!

  8. Thanks for sending me here -- this is right up my alley :-)

    The GBU theme is my ringtone right now, and Ennio Morricone's scores are the only movies soundtracks (sans-lyrics) that I have ever purchased.

    You're right that he has an amazing way of making a good movie unforgettable with his strange/beautiful music. In GBU, you couldn't have Tuco running through the graveyard without "Ecstasy of Gold" playing. Impossible.

  9. Whew, Perfect Number 6 - glad you liked it!

    And: Agree! Totally!! :")


I really appreciate your comments - I'll read them all and if I can think of an answer I'll post it. :")