Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March Madness March of the Day: "Main Title" from Spartacus by Alex North

Now that's what's missing from the Starz channel's Spartacus: Vengeance: crew cuts.
Spartacus--the film version with Kirk Douglas in the arena, not the Starz show with a frequently topless Xena--isn't a perfect epic, but I prefer it over the 2000 Best Picture Oscar winner Gladiator. Plus, the more dully scripted and much less politically intriguing of the two Roman epics didn't put an end to the Hollywood blacklist, and it doesn't open with killer Saul Bass opening titles accompanied by a riveting and slightly discordant march by Alex North. The main title theme and much of the rest of North's Spartacus score seemed to be, as Jonathan Z. Kaplan theorized in the 2000 "101 Great Film Scores on CD" issue of Film Score Monthly magazine, an attempt to go against the grain of Miklós Rózsa-style epic scores (not that there's anything wrong with the stately Rózsa school of scoring from the '50s, but it wouldn't have belonged in a downbeat and cerebral epic like Spartacus).

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