Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


To Serve man - From www.scifi-universe.comFrom
I have to say it again, a great score by a great composer can raise a film to a whole new level. Just watched yet another Twilight Zone episode, "Nightmare as a Child" (there's 156 or so of them, so I still have a lot to get through). Right from the opening you notice the music, very reminiscent of Ennio Morricone's works. Just like Morricone (remember 'Once Upon a Time in the West' or 'Once Upon a Time in America'), it used a childhood style and theme to put the past into the present, very much in keeping with the story. And who was it? Jerry Goldsmith, of course! Though he wrote only a handful of scores for the series, you notice every one. Excellent!
A day or two back too, I watched 'Little Girl Lost'. You know it's a classic when 'The Simpsons' use it as the basis for an episode (like 'The Shelter' or 'To Serve Man'), and 'Little Girl Lost' serves as the basis for Homer's experience in the Third Dimension. It's also written by Richard Matheson, which helps, although the father's immediate response when his daughter disappears is to 'call a physicist'. Hmmmmm! Perhaps not the most realistic of responses, Richard. Traditionally the third season of The Twilight Zone opens with a 'Produced by' credit, 'Written by', and 'Directed by'. In this episode though and very unusually, the main credit after Producer is 'Music by'. Rightfully so too, for the score is by none other than Bernard Herrmann, frequent collaborator with Hitchcock, composer of the theme and a lot of music for the first season, and one of the all time greats. The score itself is very like earlier scores by Herrmann, it must be said, but it lends a gravitas to the episode that raises it far above the ordinary. Another point: quite apart from The Simpsons, this particular episode obviously inspired 'Poltergeist', right down to the little girl. Excellent!!!!!
And while I'm at it, 'To Serve Man', based on a story by Damon Knight, again a story I read as a child (and loved), I watched the other night too. I must have seen it before, but the punchline is such a good one that it deserves repeated viewing. Richard Kiel as a nine foot tall alien with a huge forehead is also worth the watch. Excellent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(There's a bit of trivia relating to 'Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear' mentioned on the wikiepedia entry for 'To Serve Man'. If you know the punchline, it's a good one. If you don't, read the story!!!!!!!! And someone's put the episode on Google! I want to scream out the punchline!!!!!!!!)

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