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Author: Hubai, Gergely| Date: 01. 04. 2011. | Type: Article, Essay | Subject: Hollywood Renaissance | Published: Metropolis - 2010 / 3. - Hollywood Renaissance

The King and the Court Jester
Changing Film Music Traditions in New Hollywood

The essay presents a musical turning point in the American film industry which happened in the late 1960s, early 1970s. The titular expression was used by Elmer Bernstein from one of his 1972 essays in which the “king” denoted the classical Hollywood film music traditions while the “court jester” stood for a musical world, where thematic underscoring was substituted with popular music and songs acting as score.

To understand this paradigm shift, “The King and the Court Jester” gives a background about traditional Hollywood film scoring and explains the film historical turning points which lead to the fall of an era. These include internal conflicts (such as the 1958 AFM strike), but the most important reason is the schism between European film music and the American trends. This new approach eventually made its way to America at the end of the 1960s.

In contrast with the appearance of European-style film music in America, a different group of directors returned to the early thematic film scoring traditions, helping old works get new releases, hire great masters who were neglected for a long time and get work to a new generation who were interested in scoring with the thematic/orchestral vernacular. Certain directors of the age were equally enthusiastic about both musical traditions, finally establishing a balance between the two.

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