Hollywood Composer Ennio Morricone Dies Aged 91
Academy Award-winning movie composer Ennio Morricone has died aged 91.
The Hollywood legend produced the all-time compositions for a wealth of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns, as well as Days of Heaven, The Mission, Cinema Paradiso and Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight among others.
The Italian composer, known as ‘the Maestro’ who scored more than 500 films, passed away in Rome last week following complications from a fall in which he broke his femur.
His work pervades the classics, old and modern, a testament to the perennial legacy of his music. Look at the themes of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: both the infectious whistle of Il Buono, Il Cattivo, Il Brutto and booming orchestra of The Ecstasy of Gold have been rehashed and reused across popular media.
Morricone’s collaboration with Leone, whom he met back when they were kids in school, yielded film scores that will be cherished far, far into the future.
Leone, who passed away in 1989, previously said as per The Hollywood Reporter:
The music is indispensable, because my films could practically be silent movies, the dialogue counts for relatively little, and so the music underlines actions and feelings more than the dialogue. I’ve had him write the music before shooting, really as a part of the screenplay itself.
In total, he produced six compositions for Leone: Eastwood’s Dollars Trilogy with A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Once Upon a Time in the West; A Fistful of Dynamite; and lastly, Once Upon a Time in America.
Of course, his work stretches across multiple genres and moods, whether it be on John Carpenter’s The Thing, Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables or William Friedkin’s Rampage. ‘All kinds of sounds can be useful to convey emotion… it’s music made up of the sound of reality,’ he once said.
Of all filmmakers, Tarantino is particularly fond of Morricone. Before they finally worked together on The Hateful Eight – which features the director’s only fully original score to date – he cherry-picked tracks from the composer’s oeuvre for the likes of Kill Bill, Django Unchained, and best of all, Inglorious Basterds.
Check out Inglorious Basterds’ most iconic scene: the ‘Bear Jew’, featuring Morricone’s The Surrender:
On working with Tarantino, Morricone told The Guardian in 2016: ‘I wrote the score without him knowing anything about it, then he came to Prague when I recorded it and was very pleased. So the collaboration was based on trust and a great freedom for me.’
While he won an honorary Oscar in 2007, he won his first ever Best Original Score award for The Hateful Eight.
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The Hollywood Reporter