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Danny Elfman recently opened up about his displeasure concerning how his score to Batman was used in the film. The iconic composer addressed the rumor while he was a guest on the Premier Guitar podcast.
The Oscar-nominated Elfman explained that he was greatly disappointed at the premiere of Batman in 1989 when he heard for the first time how his score was used in the Tim Burton classic. Elfman said he was “reasonably happy” with the mix of the score, his 10th, but disappointed with the dub, or how the music was transferred into the film.
“I was terribly unhappy with the dub in Batman,” Elfman said. “They did it in the old-school way where you do the score and turn it into the ‘professionals’ who turn the nobs and dub it in. And dubbing had gotten really wonky in those years. We recorded [multi-channel recording on] three channels — right, center, left, — and basically, they took the center channel out of the music completely.”
Elfman said that was done so there was more room for sound effects.
“It didn’t have any care put into it. I’ve had many scores play in big action scenes that really propelled the scene. And in the end of the [Batman] dub, I realized I could have had the orchestra play anything. I could have scored the film with some percussion, a harmonica and a banjo because all you hear are some percussion hits in big moments, but you can’t really hear what the orchestra is doing.”
Added Elfman, “That was my first lesson in how so-called professionals can take a score and the soundtrack to a movie and just do their thing in a very noncommittal way that is easiest for them; plunk it off to the side and just get the dialogue.”
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