Sunday, March 29, 2009

Maurice Jarre, 1924-2009

The great Maurice Jarre, who passed at age 84 today, started his movie career in 1952, composing a whopping 164 film and TV scores.

He is perhaps best known for his work for director David Lean - "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) and "Doctor Zhivago" (1965) in particular. But my own hands-down favorite Jarre score was the tinkling, harpsichord-dominated piece that he wrote for William Wyler's "The Collector" (1965).

Totally singular.

"The Collector" is followed - but not too closely - by his music for two Georges Franju's titles, "Les Yeux sans visage"/"Eyes Without a Face" (1960) and "Judex" (1963); René Clément's seriously underrated "Paris brûle-t-il?"/"Is Paris Burning?" (1966), and Karel Reisz' fab "Isadora"/"The Loves of Isadora" (1968), the biopic starring Vanessa Redgrave.

Speaking of the Clément film, is any movie moment more blissfully euphoric than Jarre's swoony "Paris Waltz" played over that movie's finale as it turns from black-&-white into color? I can't think of one.

Jarre composed his final feature-film score - for Hugh Hudson's "I Dream of Africa" - in 2000. I'd like to think that he's out there, somewhere, with the likes of Jerry Goldsmith, Georges Delerue, Basil Poledouris, John Barry, Elmer Bernstein and Bernard Hermann, comparing notes.


Tom said...

Jarre and Delerue were the best. But no one can touch Hermann.

Malcolm said...

I recall reading in passing about the death of Maurice Jarre. One of my favorite movie memories as a kid is getting to stay up to watch "The Collector" on the late show one Saturday night.