Paramount Celebrates 100 Years of Movie Music at Hollywood Bowl

Craig T. Mathew/ Mathew Imaging

Jason Alexander hosts an evening of all-star composers and musical selections from 'Godfather,' 'Titanic', 'Star Trek' and more.

Paramount opened its vault for a high-energy celebration of movie music on Sunday night at the Hollywood Bowl in conjunction with the studio's 100th anniversary.

From Wings to Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, the program leaned heavily on action sequences, with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and conductor David Newman playing selections of notable scores against clips from hit Paramount movies projected on the Bowl's giant screens.

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A 10-minute selection from J.S. Zamecnik's score from Wings, the 1927 film that won the first best picture Oscar, focused on a high-flying aerial attack sequence. A Fred Astaire dance number showcased Irving Berlin's up-tempo music for 1942's Holiday Inn. Organizers chose John Williams' jaunty score of a motorcycle chase in 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Steve Jablonsky's intense music from a freeway battle in 2011's Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Skipping Titanic's well-known love theme, Newman and the orchestra instead played a pulse-pounding selection from the 1997 epic in which the massive ship strikes an iceberg. 

Other scores featured included Nino Rota's celebrated music for The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974); Henry Mancini's love theme from Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961); and Bernard Herrmann's score from Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958). The event was planned in conjunction with Paramount's 100th anniversary, which the studio has been celebrating in various ways throughout 2012. 

Hosted by Jason Alexander, who generated some laughs by noting he'd appeared in only one Paramount film (Coneheads), the program also featured some notable Hollywood maestros introducing their own work.

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Forrest Gump composer Alan Silvestri appeared on stage to explain how director Robert Zemeckis initially rejected several themes he wrote for the 1994 best picture Oscar winner before settling on the music that was used. "Forrest seemed to have a mind of his own, musically and otherwise," Silvestri joked.        

At the end of the program, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol composer Michael Giacchino appeared with Lalo Schifrin, who composed the original Mission: Impossible opening theme. Giacchino, who won an Oscar for 2009's Up and scored 2009's Star Trek, which also was featured in the program, said that when he was initially hired to score Mission: Impossible 3, he called up Schifrin and asked if there was anything specific he should do. "Just have fun," Schifrin said.

In introducing the selections, Alexander noted that Paramount is the only Hollywood studio still located in Hollywood."They'd love to get out," he joked. "They're looking for a deal."


Twitter: @THRMattBelloni