Film Music Review
The Sammy awards








The 10th Annual

Best Film Music

CDs, DVDs and Books

For 2007


Selected by Roger Hall

Introduction and Top Film Composer of the Year

Best Golden Age Soundtrack CDs

Best Silver and Bronze Age Soundtrack CDs

Best New Soundtrack CDs

Best New Compilation CDs

Best Record Labels and Album Producers

Best DVDs With Isolated Music Tracks

Best Film Music Books




Selected by Steven A. Kennedy

Best of 2007

Best Golden Age Soundtrack CDs

Best Silver and Bronze Age Soundtrack CDs

Best New Soundtrack CDs

Best New Compilation CDs

Read the 20th Annual Sammy Awards for Film Music here


Best of 2007

Selected by Roger Hall




When reviewing film music, a writer can only express his or her opinion based on what they hear.

So this annual survey is subjective and based on what I rate as the best film music of the year on CDs and DVDs.

My choices are based on the music I have heard and not necessarily the film too.

This year I felt it was once again a very lean year for exceptional new soundtracks so I have chosen only three CDs for this category. In the past it was much easier to pick the outstanding soundtracks and compilations.

FMR has a star rating system to reflect how a soundtrack or compilation is judged based on its performance, production and art design. Some CDs were designated as Special Merit for their excellence in overall production. The highest honor is reserved for those CDs that I've selected as Best of the Month.

Besides the new soundtracks and compilations released in 2007, there are three time periods from the past listed in my survey:

The Golden Age -- from the 1930s to 1950s
The Silver Age -- from the 1960s and 1970s
The Bronze Age -- from the 1980s and 1990s

Fortunately, there remains a steady flow of excellent restorations and re-recordings that receive first class treatment by such labels as: FSM, Intrada, Naxos, Silva Screen, Varese Sarabande and several others. This past year there was also the debut of a promising new label: Tribute Film Classics.

Here is my list for CDs, DVDs and Books, beginning with the...

Top Film Composer of the Year:
James Newton Howard

This is the third time for this extremely talented film composer. He was selected as Top Film Composer for 2000 and again for 2006. Over the years he has continued to produce memorable scores. In 2004, his score for THE VILLAGE was chosen for a Sammy Award. In 2007, he had another very busy year with several outstanding soundtracks, including: CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR, MICHAEL CLAYTON, and THE WATER HORSE: LEGEND OF THE DEEP.


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Best Golden Age Soundtrack CDs

AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS -- music by Victor Young [Best of the Month for February]

THE BIG COUNTRY -- music by Jerome Moross [Best of the Month for June]

QUO VADIS and BEN HUR -- music by Miklós Rózsa (Special Merit)

RAINTREE COUNTY -- music by Johnny Green [Best of the Month for March]

THE SEA HAWK and DECEPTION -- music by Erich W. Korngold [Best of the Month for August]


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Best Silver and Bronze Age Soundtrack CDs

ALIEN -- music by Jerry Goldsmith

THE BRIDGE AT REMAGEN (Elmer Bernstein) and THE TRAIN (Maurice Jarre)
[Best of the Month for July]

FAHRENHEIT 451 and WALKING DISTANCE -- music by Bernard Herrmann
[Best of the Month for December]

MYSTERIOUS ISLAND -- music by Bernard Herrmann [Best of the Month for December]

[Best of the Month for April]



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Best New Soundtrack CDs

ATONEMENT -- music by Dario Marianelli (Special Merit)

LUST, CAUTION -- music by Alexandre Desplat

THE WATER HORSE: LEGEND OF THE DEEP -- music by James Newton Howard (Special Merit)


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Best New Compilation CDs

AMAZING STORIES: ANTHOLOGY THREE -- music by Alan Silvestri, Craig Safan, Michael Kamen, Bruce Broughton, Billy Goldenberg, Fred Steiner, John Addison, Pat Metheny, and John Williams
(2 CDs - Special Merit)

[Best of the Month for October]

Best Record Labels and Album Producers


Film Score Monthly -- Lukas Kendall

Intrada -- Douglass Fake

Tadlow -- James Fitzpatrick

Tribute Film Classics -- Anna Bonn, John Morgan, William Stromberg

Varese Sarabande -- Robert Townson


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Best DVD with Isolated Music Tracks



JANE EYRE (1944)
music by Bernard Herrmann
commentary by Julie Kirgo, Nick Redman,
Steven Smith
isolated score & F/X track





music by Jerry Goldsmith
isolated score track with commentary by
Jon Burlingame, Len Dobbs, Nick Redman
Disc Two: The Music of VON RYAN'S EXPRESS




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Best New Film Music Books






A Composer's Notes:
Remembering Miklós Rózsa --
A Personal Recollection by Jeffrey Dane






Hitchcock's Music by Jack Sullivan



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Best of 2007

Selected by Steven A. Kennedy


Though I have been keeping track of “new” releases, Film Music Review has really had a banner year to focus on classic film music. In the past couple of weeks alone there have been announcements for original soundtrack releases of music by Korngold and at least two awesome Tiomkin scores.

As to new soundtracks, there were not very many to get that excited about this past year. Doyle’s exquisite score for the direct-to-cable (HBO) version of AS YOU LIKE IT is truly one of his best scores, and a great companion to another 2006 score MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA. Both of those scores represent interesting takes on contemporary film scoring in Asian musical styles. Shire’s score has the feel of ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, though ZODIAC works far more deeply in the film and lifts the material to an amazing tension without really overwhelming the scenes. The score is really one of Shire’s best. Giacchino continues to impress with his malleable scoring skills, but RATATOUILLE is truly one of his finest efforts (you just have to love that wonderful scurrying flute idea). Marianelli is back to what worked in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, but it is less successful I think here. Desplat’s work is also interesting and in a mediocre field of new scores just peaks ahead of the crowd. Such can be said for Shore’s EASTERN PROMISES which, while interesting, kind of fades from memory rather quickly.

Fans of Golden Age music are very broke after a banner year of fantastic releases that came from all sides. Some years we have had a hard time coming up with 10 releases of any older score, this year there are plenty to choose from and many winners in the bunch. I have chosen here two “original” releases and two re-recordings all of which are important releases.

While decrying the current state of film music, Intrada helped us honor the memory of Jerry Goldsmith with two fantastic double-disc sets of two 1970s scores that have been on everyone’s want lists and we were reminded that he was the master…we miss you Jerry. (How good is ALIEN? Well, listen to the recent ALIEN VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM for Brian Tyler’s loud and busy score—probably the only good thing to come out of the film— and you will begin to appreciate “the good old days.”) I have never been a big Jerry Fielding fan, but thanks to Aleph’s release of THE ENFORCER (and a few Film Score Monthly releases) that is beginning to change. It may not be a must-have, critically-acclaimed, Oscar-nominated film score, but it is a great example of Fielding’s technique and capability as well as being one of his more accessible scores. Also “big” news last year was La-La Land’s release of David Arnold’s GODZILLA, a guilty pleasure that younger fans can now enjoy in its entirety.

On to the compilation choices and here we have a great mixture of old and new. Murray Gold is fast making a name for himself with his music to the new DOCTOR WHO series and Silva’s first disc, one of many to come, is really a wonderful way to get to hear this music. The label even found a way to make Hans Zimmer’s synth music into larger-scale orchestral excerpts that honored the material while not slipping into muzak. Erich Kunzel’s Pops release is one of their best though with a badly edited accompanying booklet. And Varese Sarabande’s set of Rosza re-issues was a great tribute to the composer. My final pick is from the Chandos film music series and is a late entry. John Addison’s music needs to be heard more often here in the states and the release here is a great overview of his music. Chandos does not send these out for review, unfortunately, but their film music series (which has covered Shostakovich, Chagrin, Korngold, and Goodwin, to name a few) is really superb.

I could not pick a Worst of the year. It’s a bit hard when so much of what we are getting tends to be ambient sound design that sounds cut and pasted like a badly edited word document.

Labels like Intrada and La-La Land, and even BSX Entertainment, have a lot of buzz building for what is coming and some recent Film Score Monthly releases suggest that perhaps the Paramount Vault may soon be available.

In the meantime, film music is now entering an opportune time where more of the music is becoming readily available to more people.

What an amazing time to be a fan of great film music!


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Best Golden Age Soundtrack CDs


AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS – music by Victor Young (Hit Parade Records)

RAINTREE COUNTY– music by Johnny Green (Film Score Monthly)

THE SEA HAWK and DECEPTION– music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold ( Naxos)

SPELLBOUND -- music by Miklos Rozsa (Intrada)


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Best Silver and Bronze Age Soundtrack CDs


ALIEN– music by Jerry Goldsmith (Intrada)

THE ENFORCER– music by Jerry Fielding (Aleph Records)

THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES– music by Miklos Rozsa (Tadlow)

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY– music by Alex North (Intrada)

THE WIND AND THE LION– music by Jerry Goldsmith (Intrada)

GODZILLA – David Arnold ( La-La Land Records)


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Best New Soundtrack CDs


Listed in alphabetical order:

AS YOU LIKE IT– music by Patrick Doyle

ATONEMENT– music by Dario Marianelli

EASTERN PROMISES– music by Howard Shore

LUST, CAUTION– music by Alexandre Desplat

RATATOUILLE– music by Michael Giacchino

ZODIAC – music by David Shire


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Best New Compilation CDs


DOCTOR WHO (Series One and Two) – music by Murray Gold (Silva Screen)






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9th Annual Best Film Music (2006)

8th Annual Best Film Music (2005)




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