Musicologist Nathan Platte and undergraduate researcher Anastasia Scholze explore how film music and sound transport us, building worlds beyond what we see on screen. A laboratory for listening hosted by the University of Iowa, Sounding Cinema draws together research, interviews, and archival discoveries to show how soundscapes sculpt our relationship to characters, story, and film itself.
Jack Curtis Dubowsky on the Legacy of Easy Listening in Film Music
Cecilia Kryzda and Nathan Platte talk with Jack Curtis Dubowsky about his recent book, Easy Listening and Film Scoring, 1948-1978 (Routledge, 2021). A composer, performer, and scholar, Jack illuminates the vast and underappreciated opportunities easy listening provided film composers and how certain styles and habits shaped later music and film practices. Jack also explains the process of writing the book, including his inspiration behind the project and how his vision for the book changed over time.
Jack's book spotlights an array of fascinating albums and films. His recommendations for listeners are:
Michel Legrand, I Love Paris (preferably the original mono record)
Michel Legrand, Archi-chordes
Cecil Holmes, The Black Motion Picture Experience
Charlie Parker, Charlie Parker with Strings
Wendy Carlos, Sonic Seasonings
Stu Phillips & The Hollyridge Strings (all the albums)
Films and TV
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961, music by Henry Mancini)
Peter Gunn television series (1958-61, music by Henry Mancini)
Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964, music by Michel Legrand)
Partir Revenir (1985, music by Michel Legrand)
Mahogany (1975, music arranged by Lee Holdridge)
Battlestar Galactica (1979, music by Stu Phillips)
Watership Down (1978, music by Angela Morley)
The Lawrence Welk Show (1951-1982)
The Liberace Show (1952-1969)
The musical excerpts heard in the episode are discussed in Jack’s book. In order of appearance, they are:
Michel Legrand, I Love Paris, “La Vie en rose” (Édith Piaf, Louiguy)
Quincy Jones, Quincy Jones Explores the Music of Henry Mancini, Theme from Charade (Henry Mancini)
Hollyridge Strings, The Best of the Beatles, vol. 2, “Ticket to Ride,” (Lennon-McCartney)
Ramsey Lewis, The Movie Album, Theme from The Pawnbroker (Quincy Jones)
Swingle Singers, Jazz Sebastian Bach, “Fugue in D Minor” and “Wachet auf” (J. S. Bach)
Henry Mancini, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “Moon River (Original Main Title)” (Mancini)
Henry Mancini, Encore, “Foreign Film Festival” (theme from Legrand’s Umbrellas of Cherbourg)
Charlie Parker, Charlie Parker with Strings, “Laura” (David Raksin)
Michel Legrand, Archi-chordes, “Di-gue ding ding” (Legrand)
Shades of Quiet in Sound of Metal
Rebekah Erdman, Cecilia Kryzda, Anastasia Scholze, and Noah Zahradnik return to Sounding Cinema to discuss Sound of Metal (2020), a film that challenges its central character--a musician-- to listen differently to the sounds and silences that define daily life and the relationships within it.
The Unceasing Melodies of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Sounding Cinema welcomes Rebekah Erdman, Cecilia Kryzda, Anastasia Scholze, and Noah Zahradnik to discuss The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) and Sound of Metal (2020), two titles that push film sound to its extremes. In the first of a two-part series, we consider how director Jacques Demy and composer Michel Legrand unsettle a strikingly realistic story by having the characters sing all their lines.
West Side Story, Part II: Capturing the Sounds of (Ghost) Singing and Dancing
Many of the songs in West Side Story feature the dubbed voices of uncredited ghost singers. We illuminate how West Side Story's use of "ghosts" differs from other musicals of the era and alters the screen-sound relationship. We also turn our ears toward the people responsible for giving WSS's dance sequences their distinctive sonic textures.
West Side Story and the Extraordinary Sound of Robert Wise's Films
Nathan Platte and Anastasia Scholze embark on a two-part exploration of the 1961 film adaptation of West Side Story. After surveying the extraordinary career of WSS director Robert Wise, they welcome Ernesto Acevedo-Munoz (author of West Side Story as Cinema) to talk about how the film’s story and sound make it an enduring cultural touchstone.
Introducing Sounding Cinema
Join Nathan Platte and Anastasia Scholze as they explore how music and sound draw us closer to film. First stop: the shifting soundscapes of Robert Wise's films (West Side Story, The Haunting, The Andromeda Strain, Odds Against Tomorrow, and many more).
What you don’t realize
Everyone enjoys watching a great film, but the sound of a great film can set the stage behind the scenes. This enlightening podcast goes behind the scenes to reveal the director’s intent for, not only what you see, but what you hear. I suggest you give it a listen.