Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh
chris_walsh

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Basil Poledouris in His Own Words Part Nine: Looking back, at the end

Film Score Monthly concludes its series Basil Poledouris: In His Own Words with Part Nine, covering the last films of his career, including the last real chance for him to go "big" musically: the baseball film For Love of the Game (1999), his one time working for Sam Raimi:
[Raimi and I] met and he asked me if I liked baseball, and I said not particularly. And he asked what sports I liked and I said I really liked fencing and yacht racing. But the film isn't about baseball; it's about the relationships he has with his teammates and the woman, and himself. Those were the main points -- it could have been a bridge builder or an architect. There's also a very strong element because he's making a decision, and the way Sam shot it, every scene is loaded with the icons of baseball. I didn't realize it until very near the end of the scoring...it just has an incredible cumulative effect that exploded in my head that this is about a hundred years of baseball. All these images are adding up to something that isn't nostalgia because it's very much alive, but it certainly feeds into this character's love of the game. You get these snatches of this and that...at one point he smells his glove. It's very subtle but he sniffs it, and there's an incredible sense of nostalgia there.

I mentioned to Sam that one of the more important aspects of the score would be to represent the Americana aspects of baseball itself. Not making it retro or making it The Natural set in the '30s, but giving it a sense that goes back 100 years. We had talked about Lonesome Dove and about how it had such an American sound and a strong relationship between the male characters. He wanted that as well as a sense of bittersweet melancholy, because [the character]'s making all these major life decisions.
Thank you for these words and your work, Mr. Poledouris. I'll be presumptuous enough to give some of my own words:

You know what I wish Poledouris had been able to score? Spider-Man. Even though I'm a Danny Elfman fanatic, I didn't immediately think he was the right choice to score that film, and Poledouris came to mind instead, since he'd worked with Raimi before. My feeling was reinforced when I saw Spider-Man, which had an Elfman score I never warmed to. I wish Poledouris had gotten more opportunities like that. (I think about such stuff. When a movie of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy seemed possible in the mid-1990s -- when Douglas Adams imagined Amanda Donohoe would make a good Trillian, for example -- I had the feeling that a score co-written by Michael Kamen and Dire Straits's Mark Knopfler would've been a good choice: the orchestral wittiness of Kamen plus the guitar brilliance of Knopfler (an Adams favorite) seemed a good fit in the film I saw in my head of that story.)

I came up with what I think is a valid Basil Poledouris comparison: he became to the '90s what Dmitri Tiomkin was to the '60s. In both cases, the sorts of films those two composers were well-suited for simply weren't being made anymore. And that had to be dispiriting.

But Basil Poledouris was here, did good work, raised good kids, and performed good music. And since he deserves a happier send-off than the one life granted him, here is a tribute video from one of his last public performances, in Spain.
Tags: music, sport!
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