This article contains narrative spoilers. From its very earliest occurrences, electronic instrumentation and music has been used in cinema to signpost various aspects of mental health problems and issues within diegetic characters. Alongside its uses in creating alien worlds, electronic instrumentation seems to, at least in the eyes of the films’ creators, have an ability to go deep within the human psyche as well as … Continue reading Electronic Music And Mental Illness In Cinema.
One of the best and most underrated moments from Charles Laughton’s The Night Of The Hunter (1955), the scene that captures the murder of Willa (Shelly Winters) after a prolonged period of brainwashing by Preacher Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum), is not only one of the most important and powerful moments in the film but one that sums up the more interesting end of thematic audio-visual … Continue reading The Night Of The Hunter (1955) And The Death Waltz – Charles Laughton.
Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Nondiegetic Musical Themes And Textures. “Indeed, the celestial voices of film music do resemble a phantom in several significant ways. They are ephemeral, they are not ‘substantial’ or do not constitute part of what audiences cognise as important in the film, and have an effect that is not apparent.” – Donnelly (p.8, 2005). Though looking at nondiegetic scores for … Continue reading The Aural Aesthetics of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 4 (Music).
Part 1. Part 2. The Dramatisation of History in The Debussy Film (1965). For a film relatively early on in Russell’s portrayals of classical composers, The Debussy Film is surprisingly knowing about the director’s position as story-teller in the relaying of history to the viewer. The history of the French “impressionist” composer, Claude Debussy, is one of the more dramatic that Russell chooses to recreate … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 3 (The Debussy Film).
Part 1. BBC Monitor and the Use of Audio-Visual Form as Musicological Comment. The medium that Russell first gained traction in was not in fact film but in television documentaries. The flop of his first feature film, French Dressing (1964), marks the advent of his daring creativity entering into his work as television director; a role he had begun at the BBC for their documentary … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 2 (Monitor and Bartok).
Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Musical Avant-Garde and Overt Anachronisms in Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971). “I think the other thing that appealed to me was the rural setting. The nooks and crannies of woodland, the edges of fields the ploughing, the sense of soil was something I tried to bring into the picture” – Piers Haggard (Gatiss, 2010, BBC). … Continue reading The Music of Folk Horror – Part 6 (Blood on Satan’s Claw).
The Russell Prism: How Ken Russell’s Auteuristic Aesthetics Presents a Reception Study of Classical Music and its Composers. The following essay was a dummy-run dissertation for my Masters course before realising that the subject had already been covered thrice in audio-visual academia. Though none of three essays analyse or go into the depth of the work (instead choosing to shoehorn their own subject matter through … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 1 (Introduction).
It must have come as a political shock to see a film in 1965 highlight, with such casual brutality, the privilege of the male patriarch. Agnès Varda’s third feature, Le Bonheur, is such a contradiction in its conveyance of a happiness, ignorant of morality, that its shock is rarely diminished. The film is a colourful, seasonal evocation of a very unusual ménage à trios which … Continue reading Mozart in Le Bonheur (1965) – Agnès Varda.
Part 1. Part 2. Tradition Through Folk Aesthetics in the Music of The Wicker Man (1973). The first case study film for this essay is Robin Hardy’s 1973 film, The Wicker Man. Though it is the latest of the films to be looked at, it has the most complex relationship with its music, formed entirely of its own accord rather than on folk horror practices … Continue reading The Music of Folk Horror – Part 3 (The Wicker Man’s Folk Aesthetics).
Part 1. Thematic Material of the Folk Horror Chain. “Grendel was the name of this grim demon, haunting the marches, marauding round the heath and the desolate fens; he had dwelt for a time in misery among the banished monsters, Cain’s clan, whom the creator had outlawed and condemned as outcasts.” (Heaney, p.6, 1999). Though the historic and cultural factors around why folk horror was … Continue reading The Music of Folk Horror – Part 2 (Folk Horror Chain and Witchfinder General).