Todd Stadtman from Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill! has written a fantastic piece tracing the secret life of 007 composer John Barry’s music in soundtracks around the world.
The recently departed John Barry scored a lot of movies, and a surprising number of those without his knowledge or consent. During the first half of the 1960s, the James Bond films — with their internationalist flavor and emphasis on speed, power, technology, and style — modeled the ideal of consumerist modernity, and Barry’s soundtracks to those films captured that mood to the extent of becoming an inextricable part of the overall package. Thus it shouldn’t be too surprising that, during that period, commercial filmmakers in developing countries utilized those soundtracks as a shorthand means of hitching their more rickety cinematic wagons to James Bond’s supercharged engine, while at the same time reflecting their own countries’ global aspirations.
Meanwhile, Keith Allison at Teleport City, looks at “Variations on a Bond Theme”:
There were a lot of really great albums made to cash in on the popularity of music from the James Bond movies and other espionage related shows and films. There were even more passable but forgettable albums, and more than one or two terrible ones. And then there were a few that were, for one reason or another, completely weird. A lot of the people working in the field of cash-in albums were legitimately talented musicians, so the urge to tweak the formula and get a little bonkers must have been overwhelming.
See all the power of tweaking on the formula and getting a little bonkers, here.
This post originally appeared at the 2011 ActionFest Film Festival Blog on Feb. 2, 2011)