Picture Perfect with Ross Amico

Friday at 6 pm

A weekly survey of film music, from the Golden Age of movies and current-day movies.

Experience the Power of Alfred Newman – TYRONE Power, that is.  It’s music from Power swashbucklers made at 20th Century Fox, where Newman served as music director for 20 years.  Romance and swagger characterize these selections from “Captain from Castile,” “The Black Swan,” “The Mark of Zorro,” and “Prince of Foxes.”  Catch some Z’s with Zorro.  Alfred Newman makes his mark, this Friday at 6 pm.

The path to salvation is narrow and as difficult to walk as the razor’s edge.  Journey through breathtaking vistas in India and Tibet, even as we feel our way to the inner realms of spirit and psyche, with music from “Black Narcissus” (Brian Easdale), “Seven Years in Tibet” (John Williams), “The Razor’s Edge” (Alfred Newman), and “Lost Horizon” (Dimitri Tiomkin).  We can’t guarantee that you’ll find enlightenment, but there will be plenty to awe and inspire, this Friday at 6 pm.

In this season of long shadows, revisit the world of film noir, with music from “The Big Sleep” (Max Steiner), “Chinatown” (Jerry Goldsmith), “Miller’s Crossing” (Carter Burwell), and “Brute Force,” “The Killers,” and “The Naked City” (Miklos Rozsa).  Don your rumpled linen suit, draw the Venetian blinds, and play the sap for nobody, this Friday at 6 pm.

Picture Perfect: December 28 - Toys Everywhere

Dec 28, 2018

With the grand cacophony of Christmas still fresh in everyone’s ears, we’ll hear music from movies in which toys play a pivotal role, including “Citizen Kane” (Bernard Herrmann), “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” (Danny Elfman), “Toccata for Toy Trains” (Elmer Bernstein), and “Toy Story” (Randy Newman).  Keep popping those aspirin.  It’s an hour of noise for toys, this Friday at 6 pm.

Think inside the box, with music from “The Snowman” (Howard Blake), “The Homecoming” (Jerry Goldsmith), “A Christmas Carol” (Bernard Herrmann), and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (Vince Guaraldi).  For once, the snow on your television screen is wholly intentional, this Friday at 6 pm.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Louisa May Alcott’s magnum opus, we’ll enjoy music from film adaptations of girls’ literary classics, including “The Secret Garden” (Zbigniew Preisner), “A Little Princess” (Patrick Doyle), “Heidi” (John Williams), and, naturally, “Little Women” (Thomas Newman).  Steal away to a secret garden of musical delights, this Friday at 6 pm.

It may seem like odd timing to drop a program about war right into the middle of the holidays, but I can’t change the timing of Pearl Harbor.  Revisit some of John Williams’ music for films set during the World War II.  Two of them take place in the Pacific theater (“Midway,” “None But the Brave”).  One of them is a comedy, believe it or not (“1941”), set in Los Angeles.  We’ll also hear a solemn hymn to those who sacrificed everything for a greater good (“Saving Private Ryan”), this Friday at 6 pm.

Do the holidays already have you feeling a little disoriented?  This week, on “Picture Perfect,” we’re literally seeing double.  Tune in for music from “Vertigo” (Bernard Herrmann), “La double vie de Véronique” (Zbigniew Preisner), “Dead Ringer” (André Previn), and “The Prince and the Pauper” (Erich Wolfgang Korngold).  Double your pleasure with movies about mirror images, this Friday at 6 pm.

At the very dawn of color television, the National Geographic Society began its successful run of eagerly anticipated specials.  These specials really were special, with breathtaking images and real-life adventures unlike anything previously experienced in American living rooms.  Episodes were scored by some of top film composers of the day, including Elmer Bernstein (“Yankee Sails Across Europe”), Ernest Gold (“The Last Vikings”), Leonard Rosenman (“Dr. Leakey and the Dawn of Man”), and Jerome Moross (“Grizzly!”).  Travel the world with National Geographic, this Friday at 6 pm. 

There’s more to Thanksgiving than turkey and football.  We’ll hear music from movies reflective of what’s best in human nature and most admirable in the American character, including selections from “The Cummington Story” (Aaron Copland), “Field of Dreams” (James Horner), “The Best Years of Our Lives” (Hugo Friedhofer), and “Lincoln” (John Williams); then count our blessings and aspire to do better, this Friday at 6 pm.

Picture Perfect: November 9 - Morricone at 90

Nov 9, 2018

Ennio Morricone, author of over 500 film and television scores, is perhaps the most prolific movie composer of all time.  November 10 will mark his 90th birthday.  Celebrate this extraordinary artist by revisiting some of his most indelible inspirations, including selections from “Cinema Paradiso” (1988), “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966), “The Mission” (1986), “Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968), “Navajo Joe” (1966), “The Untouchables” (1987), and his Academy Award winning music for “The Hateful Eight” (2015).  Stick a feather in your cap and call it Morricone, this Friday at 6 pm.

With a time change imminent (tomorrow night, we “fall back”), shun the darkness with music from movies inspired by Jules Verne’s novels of science, progress, and adventure.  Enjoy selections from “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (Paul J. Smith), “In Search of the Castaways” (William Alwyn), “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (Bernard Herrmann), and “Around the World in 80 Days” (Victor Young).  Verne takes us to some very strange places, yet manages to overcome all obstacles.  Still, it’s always a good idea to bring a harpoon, just in case, this Friday at 6 pm.

October 30th marks the 80th anniversary of the notorious “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast that brought the Martians to Grover’s Mill, outside Princeton, NJ, and set off a national panic.  2018 also happens to be the 120th anniversary of the publication of H.G. Wells’ novel.  We’ll wrap up our “Hear the Difference” fundraiser with a special live double-celebration, featuring music from films inspired by Wells’ classic and other cinematic Mars-Earth exchanges.  Watch out for that heat ray, this Friday at 6 pm!

(Note: This program aired live and was not recorded as webcast.)

Long week?  Feel like you’re coming apart at the seams?  Kick off your elevator shoes and relax with an hour of music from Frankenstein films!  To mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s novel, enjoy selections from “The Bride of Frankenstein” (Franz Waxman), “Frankenstein Created Woman” (James Bernard), “House of Frankenstein” (Hans J. Salter & Paul Dessau), “Young Frankenstein” (John Morris), and “Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’” (Patrick Doyle).  Jump-start your weekend with revivifying music straight to the neck-bolts, this Friday at 6 pm.

Perhaps in an attempt to subvert our fears, or to generate laughter from tension, filmmakers have frequently juxtaposed humor with the supernatural – or at any rate death.  Get into the Halloween spirit with music from four macabre comedies, including “Arsenic and Old Lace” (Max Steiner), “The Trouble with Harry” (Bernard Herrmann), “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” (Vic Mizzy), and “Beetlejuice” (Danny Elfman).  It will be a mishmash of horror and humor, this Friday at 6 pm.

Corn and tomatoes from the New World!  Spaghetti and fireworks from the Orient!  Snow cones and frostbite from the Antarctic!  Defy sea serpents and the flat earth with music from “Christopher Columbus” (Sir Arthur Bliss), “The Adventures of Marco Polo” (Hugo Friedhofer), “Lewis and Clark: Great Journey West” (Sam Cardon), and “Scott of the Antarctic” (Ralph Vaughan Williams).  There’s still much to discover, this Friday at 6 pm.

The game is afoot!  Tune in for an hour of music from movies inspired by the world’s greatest detective, including “Sherlock Holmes” (Hans Zimmer), “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” (Miklós Rózsa), “Young Sherlock Holmes” (Bruce Broughton), and “Without a Clue” (Henry Mancini).  Enjoyment is elementary, my dear Watson, this Friday at 6 pm.

Idyllic communities can cast some long shadows.  Explore the dark underbelly of small-town life and the consequences of bucking conformity with music from “Peyton Place” (Franz Waxman), “Far From Heaven” (Elmer Bernstein), “Edward Scissorhands” (Danny Elfman), and “Kings Row” (Erich Wolfgang Korngold).  Good fences make good neighbors, this Friday at 6 pm. 

Nick sat down against the charred stump and smoked a cigarette.  He lit a match and watched it burn and as it burned he thought of boxers and marlins and the Spanish Civil War.  The stories were brave and strong and good.  He thought about selections from “For Whom the Bell Tolls” (Victor Young) and “Islands in the Stream” (Jerry Goldsmith) and “The Killers” (Miklós Rózsa) and “The Old Man and the Sea” (Dimitri Tiomkin).  He ordered a mojito and prepared to face the music, this Friday at 6 pm. 

Venture very far from Turner Classic Movies territory with selections from “The Beastmaster” (Lee Holdridge), “The Sword and the Sorcerer” (David Whitaker), “Clash of the Titans” (Laurence Rosenthal), and “Conan the Barbarian” (Basil Poledouris).  If the playlist serves to illustrate anything, it’s that the overall quality of a film (or lack thereof) need not hinder a composer.  Slip on your man-flops and release the Kraken, this Friday at 6 pm.

Picture Perfect: August 31 - School Days

Aug 31, 2018

Time again to hit the books, with selections from “Dead Poets Society” (Maurice Jarre), “Back to School” (Danny Elfman), “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” and “Tom Brown’s School Days” (Richard Addinsell), and “Mr. Holland’s Opus” (Michael Kamen).  Minds will be sharpened and buttons pushed, this Friday at 6 pm.

Although Leonard Bernstein’s concert suite for “On the Waterfront” is fairly well known, the original cues as they appeared in the film were long believed to be lost.  But the audio was preserved on acetate discs used for playback during the film’s recording sessions.  We’ll hear some of it, alongside Aaron Copland’s original recordings for “The Red Pony,” dances from Virgil Thomson’s “Louisiana Story” – so far, the only film score to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music – and Elie Siegmeister’s “They Came to Cordura,” which provides the now-familiar signature tune for “Picture Perfect.”

The Arabian Nights, traditional folk stories from the Orient, have come to us filtered through the sensibilities of Western translators.  Further translation was required to get the stories from page to screen, so it’s hardly surprising to find Sinbad, for instance, fighting a giant walrus.  Tune in for an hour of movie enchantments, with music from “The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad” (Bernard Herrmann), “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger” (Roy Budd), “Aladdin” (Alan Menken), and “The Thief of Bagdad” (Miklós Rózsa).  Discover an Aladdin’s Cave of cinematic delights, this Friday at 6 pm.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, it’s music from “Beneath the 12-Mile Reef” (Bernard Herrmann), “Creature from the Black Lagoon” (Henry Mancini), “Jaws” (John Williams), and “The Swimmer” (Marvin Hamlisch).  Expectations of aquatic refreshment are all wet, this Friday at 6 pm.

Picaresque novels are generally characterized by having rogues or anti-heroes as protagonists, episodic, wayward structures, and, not infrequently, low humor.  Prepare to revel in some freewheeling lack of judgment, with music from “The Reivers” (John Williams), “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (Jerome Moross), “Anthony Adverse” (Erich Wolfgang Korngold), and “Tom Jones” (John Addison).  We’re up to no good, this Friday at 6 pm.

What’s your hurry?  Defy weekend traffic with music from “The Road Warrior” (Brian May), “Grand Prix” (Maurice Jarre), “Bullitt” (Lalo Schifrin), and “Back to the Future.”  We put the pedal to the metal, this Friday at 6 pm. 

Prepare to get “lost.”  It’s an hour of music from fantasy films set in lost worlds, including “King Kong” (Max Steiner), “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (Bernard Herrmann), “One Million Years B.C.” (Mario Nascimbene), and “Jurassic Park” (John Williams).  The music will be larger than life, this Friday at 6 pm. 

Go down to the sea in ships, with music from “Captain Horatio Hornblower” (Robert Farnon), “Botany Bay” (Franz Waxman), “Mutiny on the Bounty” (Bronislau Kaper), and “Windjammer” (Morton Gould).  Get ready to “taste the cat” and prepare to be keelhauled, this Friday at 6 pm.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a radio host in possession of a weekly film music show must be in want of a good theme.  Tune in for selections from “Emma” (Rachel Portman), “Sense and Sensibility” (Patrick Doyle), and two versions of “Pride and Prejudice” (Carl Davis and Dario Marianelli).  A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of – at least according to “Mansfield Park.”  The next best is a playlist assembled from Jane Austen movies.  Know your own happiness, this Friday at 6 pm. 

Picture Perfect: June 22 - Confidence Games

Jun 21, 2018

It’s the equivalent of a cinematic shell-game, with music from movies about charlatans and hucksters, including “The Magician” (Erik Nordgren), “The Flim-Flam Man” (Jerry Goldsmith), “Catch Me If You Can” (John Williams), and “Elmer Gantry” (André Previn).  Listen with confidence, this Friday at 6 pm.

Pages