Great Film Composers: The Music of the Movies

The Beginnings

Series 1 - Episode 1 The Beginnings

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Review

Quite an undertaking as, in 12 episodes, Sky attempts to tell the story of film music from its earliest days, right up to date with such masters of the medium as John Williams and Hans Zimmer.

The first edition looks at the decades before the first “talking picture”, 1927’s The Jazz Singer, with Al Jolson in dubious blackface. Movies were silent — or were they? If you were watching a Chaplin comedy in a “fleapit”, perhaps. In a fancier picture house you might enjoy a live pianist ad-libbing to what he saw on screen, and, by 1915, DW Griffith’s blockbuster The Birth of a Nation was distributed with a full score to be played by a live orchestra. 

Summary

Documentary charting the evolution of the movie soundtrack, beginning with the silent era when pianists would be employed to ad lib music to the on-screen exploits.
Music Arts