Misc. Reviews

BASIL POLEDOURIS – HIS LIFE AND MUSIC

By • Apr 19th, 2001 •

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A Vineyard Haven Video production for Film Score Monthly
Running time 50 mins. approx.
Format VHS only – Both PAL (Europe) and NTSC (U.S.) available.

Rating: Recommended

Produced in 1997 this is a very ‘up close and personal’ interview with the composer, featuring contributions from his college sweetheart, now wife, Bobbie and his daughter Zoë.

Actually, to be more precise, it’s not an interview at all, but Basil Poledouris and his family simply talking (consequently I don’t really see what the talented and knowledgeable John Burlingame had to write to get a credit. If you’re reading this John, let me know. Would that I could write so little and get a credit). We tour his home, visit his studio, his sailing boat (a great passion) and we hear the recollections of his upbringing, his late father, his student days in southern California, how he met his wife and their ‘hippy’ wedding day, his daughter’s memories of growing up in a film composer’s home and plenty of family snapshots. Pleasant as all this is, and albeit giving you a reasonably rounded, if simplistic, impression of the man and his lifestyle, I would have liked to hear more about his actual film work.

We do hear a little of his experiences whilst composing the scores for STARSHIP TROOPERS, FREE WILLY, FLESH & BLOOD, LONESOME DOVE, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, his composition for the Centennial Olympic Games, and of working with directors like Paul Verhoeven and John Milius, but I personally could have done with a whole lot more of this, rather than some lingering shots of the Poledouris’s living room.

Don’t look for any film clips either (apart from some grainy shots from TROOPERS on a studio monitor), as, by FSM’s own admission, they would simply be too expensive to include, but we do get some nice, raw if you like, piano renditions of some of his most famous themes, performed by Poledouris himself, which demonstrate what his ‘first drafts’ sounded like before they were orchestrated.

All in all though, not a bad first attempt by FSM (this is Volume 1 of a proposed Film Composer Interview series) and it is rare to get this close to a filmusic composer. Having said that, considering (at the time of writing) it’s now seven years since this was produced, they’ve so far obviously not felt the need, or the demand, to pursue the project further with other composers, which is a shame.

To quote their own publicity:
‘To many fans, a film composer is this disembodied name on a CD, or maybe words in an interview. We want to bring the experience of meeting and hanging out with an A-list composer like Basil Poledouris to fans everywhere’

They’re right of course, and this video does precisely what it says on the can. Now, when I listen to a Poledouris score, I do find myself listening to a man and not just a film score.

More please FSM.

You can visit the Film Score Monthly website at http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/


Produced by Nick Redman and Michael Rosendale
Directed by Michael Rosendale
Written by John Burlingame
Executive Producer Lukas Kendall

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