Classic soundtracks in celebration of Hollywood’s golden age

Caption: ** ADVANCE FOR FRIDAY, March 23 ** FILE ** This studio publicity file photo shows actors Humphrey Bogart and Swedish-born actress Ingrid Bergman in a scene from the 1943 classic film "Casablanca." Bergman is the subject of the new biography, "Ingrid," by Charlotte Chandler. (AP Photo)
Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in a scene from the 1943 classic “Casablanca.” (AP Photo)

Hollywood just isn’t what it used to be. Social media has supplanted the studio system, and the girl next door replaced the 1940s on-screen siren. That permanent shift in cinematic age was keenly felt on Tuesday when actress Lauren Bacall, one of the last grande dames of Hollywood’s golden age, died at age 89.

“When I first got into film I started with the golden movie star era because it just felt like Hollywood,” explained Dominic Griffin, the house manager at E Street Cinemas in Washington. Dominic, an admitted film buff, curated this week’s mix of classic film soundtracks in honor of the era when “Humphrey Bogart didn’t have a Twitter account so he could be a thing you see on screen. It was a different relationship.”

1. “The Third Man” –  music by Anton Karas

“It’s almost annoying how much Karas used the zither instrument in this score, but it added such a strange element to the movie. The zither makes the whole movie feel off kilter.”

2. “Out of the Past” – music by Roy Webb

“The film feels kind of like the stuff Humphrey Bogart was doing, but Robert Mitchum’s character is a sleazier version of Bogart. Somehow, though, the score feels elegant.”

3. “Notorious” — music by Roy Webb

“‘Notorious’ is just this weird Hitchcockian take on the spy movie, and the music really brings out the offbeat quality.”

4. “Casablanca” – music by Max Steiner 

“”As Time Goes By’ is the most famous song in 1940s movies. It’s probably one of the smartest uses of music in a non-musical film because the song represents what Bogart is hiding about his past.”

5. “Double Indemnity” — music by Miklós Rózsa

“The entire movie just feels so smokey and hazy. The movie implies a lot of intimacy, and the score subverts that classic orchestral sound to remind you there’s a real passionate connection underneath. The score manages to be sly and to imply all of those things without being really over the top.”

6. “The Red Shoes” — music by Brian Easdale

“‘Red Shoes’ has that ballet thing going on, but the music is still really dynamic and colorful and vibrant. It always makes me want to go back and watch the movie again.”

7. “Citizen Kane” – music by Bernard Herrmann

“Bernard Herrmann’s score is so much of what makes ‘Citizen Kane’ work as a movie. It pushed the boundaries. It’s all over the place, and it makes everything you’re seeing on the screen feel bigger than the images.”

8. “His Girl Friday” — music by Sidney Cutner and Felix Mills

“This is an unconventional choice. The music is really zippy and fun, and normally I’m really not into that sound. But the music has that same light and bouncy feel as the movie. The ’40s were such a big time for really clever zippy dialogue, and in ‘His Girl Friday’ the words interplay with the music.”

 

More from The Reliable Source:

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Did Sally Quinn just say what we think she said about actress Lauren Bacall?

Which celebrities has President Obama eulogized?

Helena Andrews is the co-author of The Reliable Source. Follow her on Twitter @helena_andrews, and send your hot tips, sightings, and gossip to reliablesource@washpost.com.
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Helena Andrews · August 13