December 2006 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Michael McLennan
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster: Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings/ December/

Halliwell’s Top 1,000 – The Ultimate Countdown  
By John Walker
572 pages, paperback
  Harper Entertainment - ISBN  0-00-718165-5

Part of the  title of this book – …’the Ultimate Movie Countdown conjures up visions of all those fashionable TV shows based on lists of 100 best films, advertisements, songs, cars, yo-yos whatever - all cheaply put together with scissors and paste but all conveniently taking up hours and hours of prime TV time. But maybe I am growing cynical in my old age.

Anyway, the point being that such a list of 1,000 films is obviously a personal choice and clearly controversial. It’s one of those books, too, when despite yourself you simply have to turn to the end to find which films have been chosen as the Top Ten. At this point I am going to be a dirty rotten spoil sport and name them.  Why, because it is interesting to note that so many have been distinguished by award-nominated or winning scores.

Walker’s Top Ten turn out to be:
1) Tokyo Story (music: Kojun Saito)
2) La Regle du Jeu (music: Joseph Kosma)
3 Lawrence of Arabia (music by: Maurice Jarre) 4) The Godfather Trilogy (music: Nino Rota)
5) The Seven Samurai (music: Fumio Hayasaka)
6) Citizen Kane (music by: Bernard Herrmann)
7) Raging Bull (music: library sources)
8) Vertigo (music by Bernard Herrmann)
9)Some Like It Hot (music: Adolph Deutsch)
10) Eight and a Half (music: Nino Rota)

Interestingly, the book also has alternative favourite top ten listings by such luminaries as: Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton, Sam Mendes, Milos Forman, Norman Jewison and Alan Morrison (contributing editor, Empire Magazine). Their choices will make you cheer or groan according to your disposition.

Of course the order and inclusion of the thousand films will be controversial and everybody will smile at some and grimace at others. Exclusions will also cause some dismay. Instead of that Chainsaw entry why not include, for instance, those two enchanting films of Marcel Pagnol: La Gloire de Mon Père and Le Château de Ma Mère – both of which, for me, would figure highly in my top 20, never mind 1,000. And if I might air one or two more personal preferences I would place The Leopard in my Top Ten (530 in Halliwell) and The Adventures of Robin Hood in a much higher position than 509th.  Both films, of course, had outstanding scores.  It is good, however, that those superb clowns Laurel and Hardy, figure so highly in the list. 

The entries are counted down, forward, from 1,000th position (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre- yuck) to Tokyo Story (but I wonder how many film fans will have had the opportunity of seeing it? - since the DVD is only Region 1.)

The entries include information on cast and crew; the awards the films have won; key critical comments on the film’s release; DVD soundtrack and availability; and other information such as original film titles, gossip from behind the scenes and quotes from the director’s and stars.

A fascinating, but often frustrating, even infuriating listing.

Ian Lace

Rating: N/A

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