Thursday, September 2, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks: Oscar Winner's Edition-Best Original Score and Best Original Song.


I apologize for not visiting or commenting on my last post. Joel I love your picks as always and really loved the book but I still think Mary did it. He was killed while hugging someone.... OK This week is another double hitter and let's get to it. I'd love if you visited Wandering Through The Shelves to find out the other scores and songs that were chosen. Here are mine..


1. WIZARD OF OZ-1939

If someone doesn't know this film, they have been living under a rock. Harold Arlen (composer) and E.Y. "Yip" Harburg wrote the songs for this classic that is played on TV every year for decades. Actually, Herbert Stothart, who underscored the film took home the Oscar for the score. I remember when this film always played around Easter time and I watched it (along with The Ten Commandments and Ben Hur) until I could sing every song. I loved her ruby slippers. 

2. NOW, VOYAGER-1942

"Oh Jerry, Don't lets ask for the moon. We have the stars." Love that schmaltz that is done to perfection by Bette Davis with Paul Henreid. It is a classic film of a mousy woman, dominated by Mommie dearest until she goes to a sanitarium, a weak-willed mouse, and comes out a stunning beauty full of strength. The music is classic and was composed by Max Steiner, known for his brilliance at creating great musical works and was part of the factory of Hollywood. 


Joel, I know you hate this trilogy(what a shame) but the score is just brilliant, in my mind's eye and Howard Shore deserved the Oscar for this epic undertaking of the Ring cycle. I love the whole work and want to get the soundtrack. "May It Be" by Enya was robbed of an Oscar that year. 



I love this song by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields which was featured in the musical, "Swing Time" starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I thought this scene was sweet, romantic and funny.


Nobody does it better than Judy Garland and this is the first time one heard this song, from The Wizard of Oz." It was composed by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg that, now, has become such a classic, it is sung by almost everyone. Funny, the dumbnut, Louis B. Mayer initially cut this song from the film thinking it slowed down the picture but thankfully Victor Fleming (credited director), Mervyn LeRoy(producer), Arthur Freed (Associate Producer) and Roger Edens(Garland's vocal coach and mentor) fought for the song to be reinstated and it was. King Vidor directed this scene and the barn scenes. 

3. QUE SERA, SERA-1956

Who would have thought a famous song like this comes from an Alfred Hitchcock film...but it does! This is from his own remake, "The Man Who Knew Too Much" with James Stewart and Doris Day and was integral to the plot. Like Garland and "Over The Rainbow", this song became Doris Day's signature tune. It was written by Jay Livingstone and Ray Evans published in 1955 but shot to stardom in this movie. I always liked this song.

So which 3 would you pick?


  1. Hi, Birgit!

    I hope your hubby is receiving the care and treatment he needs by now and that things are trending upward on your side of the screen, dear friend!

    When it comes to these two categories, I am the weakest link. I can tell you that our little granddaughter used to beg Mrs. Shady to play the DVD of The Wizard of Oz whenever she visited us in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Today, she doesn't even remember how much she loved the movie. Whenever I watch that scene of Dorothy singing "Over The Rainbow" on her farm with Toto looking on, I am reminded that we named our dog Toto for our granddaughter's benefit, so that she would think of her favorite film (now forgotten) whenever she visited us and played with our pet.

    I especially liked that music from Now, Voyager. On the Best Song list, I have been familiar with the song "The Way You Look Tonight" ever since the 1970s when I started my record collection and obtained a copy of the song by The Jaguars, a Los Angeles doo-wop group. Only a modest regional hit at the time of its release, The Jags' version of the 1936 chart-topper by Fred Astaire is today regarded as a gem of the genre. In the Swing Time clip, it was a great idea to have Fred sing the love song to Ginger, not while holding her in his arms as you might expect, but while she washed her hair in the sink in an adjacent room, elevating the scene to classic status, I think. I also want to observe that, even while standing still, Fred's body appeared to be ready for motion. He had dance inside him, there was no denying it. A few months ago, I posted that clip of Doris Day singing her sig song in the Hitch movie in a volume of my series "That Was Then - This Is Now."

    I needed to cheat and look up lists to make my picks, and they are based simply on having watched and liked the films. Scores I would name include E.T., Schindler's List, Midnight Express, Jaws, Summer of '42, Love Story, Dances With Wolves, Brokeback Mountain and Joker. Looking over my cheat sheet of Best Songs, I'd pick "Chuck Berry's "You Never Can Tell" from Pulp Fiction, Deniece Wms' "Let's Hear It For The Boy" from Footloose, S&G's "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" and "The Sound Of Silence," both from The Graduate, John Barry's title tune/song from Goldfinger, ABBA's "Honey, Honey" from Mamma Mia, Matt Monro's title tune from From Russia With Love and Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally" from The Commitments.

    I wish you a good day and a happy, peaceful, restful and uneventful weekend, dear friend BB!

  2. Fellowship of the Ring! Excellent choice. Return of the King won as well. Plus a song from Return won best song.

  3. Birgit,

    I love good entertainment but I know nothing about awards given to any films. Our youngest daughter was a huge fan of the LOTR series. She first fell in love with the books and then the movies. She even went so far to have the line "One ring that rules them all" (or however it goes) tat on her shoulder/arm years ago. It makes me shutter that she's defiled her beautiful skin with ink but anyhow, I'm not a huge fan of the series but we did see the trilogy. The Wizard of Oz is a classic. The story, the music, everything about it is fantastic! I didn't know Que Sera Sera was from an Alfred Hitchock film. I believe we saw that movie playing one night on broadcast TV but didn't know what it was. I need to see if I can find it to stream. Thanks for sharing your picks!

  4. Hi Birgit hope you're having a better week than last.

    LOVE most of your choices (I understand the LOTR pick so I'll just leave it alone).

    Love Wizard of Oz and Judy's version is inimitable and the gold standard no matter what anyone else says. The score is a perfect complement to set the mood of each scene. Golden Age filmmaking at its peak.

    The same can be said of Now, Voyager and its swoony iconic score. The train sequence alone wouldn't be nearly as impactful or important without it.

    The Way You Look Tonight is a lovely piece of music and the staging in the film just an ideal way to present it without laying on the romanticism too thick. It's more or less a singer proof song but Fred's rendition captures a certain sweetness that allows him to make the song his own.

    It funny with how central it became to her career that Doris Day was indifferent to Que Sera Sera when it was presented to her to sing in the film. In her autobiography she said she thought the song was fine and slotted into the plot well but that was it. Once it caught on though she looked at it again and eventually came to love it. I can't say I LOVE it but it is a charming little tune.

    I stuck to original song and considered both Over the Rainbow and Que Sera Sera when I was prepping this, thinking about theming it out as all Judy songs to win or all Doris films but both only had two that took the prize so that wouldn't work. I did however come up with a theme within the theme. All mine share the title of their winning song as the film's title (#3 is a stretch but I love the song) plus they were successful independent of their film. I left off "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" because though I adore the song the film is a wretched pile with a painfully bad Jennifer Jones performance at its core.

    The Way We Were (1973)-Fiery, opinionated Katie Morosky (Barbra Streisand) meets handsome goyish guy Hubbell Gardiner (Robert Redford) in college during the 30’s. While he admires her moxie and she his writing talent they move in different circles. As WWII is winding down, they meet again and despite their vast differences they fall in love and marry but those very differences eventually tear their relationship asunder. Both the film and the title tune by Marvin Hamlisch, Alan & Marilyn Bergman were gigantic hits, the Streisand’s recording of the song going to # 1 on Billboard as well as winning the Grammy as Record of the Year.

    The Days of Wine and Roses (1962)-Gut wrenching chronicle of young couple Joe & Kirsten Clay’s (Jack Lemmon & Lee Remick-both Oscar nominated) descent into blackout alcoholism. Fittingly for something so dark the title song by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer has a mournful quality but a soulful lilting beauty. Recorded by many artists it reached # 9 on the Billboard charts.

    The Joker is Wild aka All the Way (1957)-Joe E. Lewis (played by Frank Sinatra) was a rising singer on the Chicago nightclub scene of the Roaring Twenties until he angered a mob boss by switching clubs. In retaliation the mobster has Lewis’s throat cut, slashing his vocal cords and therefore his career. He slowly worked his way back as a comic over the next decade. Sinatra’s recording of All the Way written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn was so popular (# 2 on the Billboard charts) the film was retitled to match it upon re-release.

  5. I like that you went with Now, Voyager! I really liked that movie.

  6. Can't go wrong with a song by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields. All of these look great. My picks:

    Original Score: 1. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) - Ray Heindorf and Heinz Roemheld; 2. An American In Paris (1951) - Saul Chaplin and Johnny Green; 3. Gigi (1958) - Andre Previn

    Best Song: 1. "Swinging On A Star" from Going My Way (1943) - Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke; 2. "Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing" from the movie of the same name - Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster; 3. "Moon River" from Breakfast At Tiffany's - Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer

    There are so many great songs from the movies... a source of standards if there ever was one...

  7. Great picks, my dear. I agree ~ Nobody does it better than Judy Garland. This Wiz keeps my number one spot.

  8. Hi Birgit, I love movie scores, and Lord of the Rings is up there amongst the best in my opinion. My mum used to sing the Doris Day one, infact the movie was on our TV a few weeks ago. Not a lover of The Wizard of OZ, I've never seen it right through. Hope all is well with you, Kate x

  9. I love Over the Rainbow. I also love the music from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. God choices.

  10. I'm probably the only person in the world that didn't care for Wizard of Oz. Loved the song Que Sera, Sera.
    YOU take special care.

    1. Nope. There are two of us, even though I like the song.

  11. I do love Now, Voyager. I'm not a fan of The Wizard of Oz. The music's good, though. Same with Lord of the Rings.

  12. I'm still kind of on vacation, but I'll take time to comment on this.

    Your picks are excellent. "The Way You Look Tonight" is indeed a lovely song.

    For score I'll go with La La Land though I really think Greatest Showman should have been at least nominated.

    Best song? I think "Falling Slowly" from Once is a very nice song. Also liked "What a Feeling" from Flashdance and "All the Way" from Joker is Wild which I remember being entranced by when I first saw that film in the theater when I was a kid. But so many good songs with a whole lot of not so hot ones.


  13. I'm actually familiar with two of your picks. Of course, I know the Wizard of Oz and Over the Rainbow. I live in Kansas, so I HAVE to know it.

    I've heard the Doris Day song, but never saw the film.

    I hope your husband is doing well, dear. I hope his stone has passed or he has been operated on by now.

  14. original score. I always loved the scores for Legends of the Fall and Gladiator. Also the love theme from St. Elmo's Fire--terrible movie, gorgeous music.

    Best song? Hard to beat Whitney Houston belting out "I will always love you" in The Bodyguard. (Terrible movie, gorgeous music.) Or the role of Stand By Me in...well, Stand By Me. I've always loved Against All Odds, but I never even saw the movie it was in. Philadelphia has got to be in there too. :)

  15. For me, Fellowship of the Ring is the undisputed best of that trilogy, including its score.

  16. BIRGIT ~

    Great choice with 'Wizard Of Oz' -- that would be one of my top choices, also.

    But my #1 choice for both categories is a no-brainer:

    Song: 'MOON RIVER'

    I own the movie soundtrack on compact disc, and it is without a doubt one of my very favorite and most frequently played albums. I love every single track on the recording - and some of them I adore more than words can explain. 'Holly', 'Sally's Tomato', and 'Breakfast At Tiffany's' -- they are a part of me.

    I think Henry Mancini was a genuine musical genius, and the soundtrack of 'Breakfast At Tiffany's' is one of my 10 'Desert Island' albums!

    ~ D-FensDogG

  17. Birgit, remember how I used to tease you for watching Wizard of Oz every year when it played on TV. That's because I was way too cool for the movie at that point in my life. Eventually, I grew to respect it and then love it, especially after I took a freelance job to create a Wizard of Oz trading card set. I literally had to study every scene in great detail and do a lot of background research for this project.

    The only other thing I'll comment on is the mention of Howard Shore. I always like to point out how his first big music success was in the Canadian rock band "Lighthouse." Howard did all the horn arrangements and was an important part of the band's sound. No wonder Lighthouse's music has held up so well over time.

  18. For best score, the Star Wars franchise is without peer. The Empire Strikes Back is the best one for introducing both the Imperial March and Yoda's Theme. But it didn't win the Oscar. So, must go with...

    Star Wars (1977)

    The Right Stuff - generally under-appreciated film

    Up - Pixar has its own brand of music magic and Up is the masterpiece.

    Ones that should have won: The Empire Strikes Back (see above), The Magnificent Seven, Cinema Paradiso, Raiders of the Lost Ark (though Chariots of Fire was tough competition), Superman, Hoosiers


    "Over the Rainbow" is #1 and it's not close, one of the great musical moments in cinema. Judy Garland had such a troubled life but for two minutes in 1939, she was perfect.

    "Falling Slowly" - Once. Arlee Bird mentioned that one above. Such a lovely little film and the song itself drives the plot. Hard to leave it off the list.

    "Glory" - Selma. Such power in that song.

    Should have won: "A Hard Day's Night," "Help!" Without a doubt, two of the great songs of the 20th century. Weren't even nominated. And if "Let It Be" counts as a movie song, it should have won, too.

  19. I had no idea Que Sera, Sera came from a Hitchcock movie and that it won an Oscar. Wow!