Movies at SAAM: The Art of the Score

Ryan on November 5, 2018

Elizabeth Olds' Harlem Musicians

Think of your favorite scary movie. Got it? Okay, now imagine watching that movie without the sound. Do you think it would have been as scary? Probably not. Movie scores are a vital part to bringing a film to life. Whether it’s a song, an extended musical note, or a full-orchestra composition, film scores offer the movie more texture, feeling, and direction. Just image a movie like Jaws or Lord of the Rings. What would those movies be without their iconic blasting trumpets and orchestra accompaniments?

Score is a 2017 documentary that goes behind the scenes to show us how composers, directors, and editors have created some of the most iconic musical scores. From John Williams, composer of such films as Star Wars, Schindler’s List, and Jurassic Park, to Danny Elfman, who composed Mission Impossible and The Avengers, Score interviews the top twenty composers in Hollywood today.

Not only is this the first full-length documentary about movie scores, but it also shows us the history of the genre and offers viewers a detailed look at what it takes to imagine and create these compositions. It’s harder than it sounds!

Film scores often go unnoticed by most people, and often not accepted as legitimate genre of music, but thanks in part to Score, audiences will have a greater appreciation for the art of the score. As Hans Zimmer, composer for Pirates of the Caribbean and Gladiator, says, “If you talk to any director, they’ll say music is fifty percent of the movie.”  Without a musical element a film is incomplete. Music is a language that uses an incredible amount of creativity and insight to articulate a film's story.

Come see (and hear) for yourself! Score will be shown this evening, Monday November 5 at 7 p.m. in the Smithsonian American Art Museum's McEvoy Auditorium. Be sure to stay after the film for a conversation with the film’s director Matt Schrader and producer Robert Kraft.