Submitted by ehh246 t3_11df679 in movies

I love when musical films use the songs as leitmotifs in the score. A great example of this is Mary Poppins. Irwin Kostal did a great job making motifs for all the Sherman Brothers' songs like using "A British Bank" for Mr. Banks himself. In fact, he took a deleted song for Admiral Boom and used it as his motif in the score anyway.

Can you think of other great examples, be they by the original composers of the songs or others?



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jthanny t1_ja8e9rp wrote

The use of tritone and minor 7th motifs all over West Side Story. Once you start noticing them, they are everywhere. Tritones signaling tension, incompatibility, hatred, and strife with the 7ths contrasting with hope, peace, and a chance to escape the fate. And just how discordant they feel when in medleys really emphasizes the struggle, and the option to how to resolve the finale can literally change how the entire show feels.


ehh246 OP t1_ja8efyw wrote

The original or Spielberg?


jthanny t1_ja8gxg9 wrote

They use the same score written by Bernstein. The order of songs is slightly different, but that doesn't change the musical motifs


mayorodoyle t1_ja89mwg wrote

Not sure if this counts but "Man Of Constant Sorrow" in O Brother Where Art Thou?


Chen_Geller t1_ja8umwz wrote

Those are not leitmotifs. Those are reminiscence themes. There's a difference...


BEE_REAL_ t1_ja8abxj wrote

The best use of leitmotifs in any movie imo is Vertigo, even though it's not a musical


JustinDuck t1_ja8bwkn wrote

Sweeney Todd, if I'm not mistaken/I understood the question right.


ehh246 OP t1_ja8ei8w wrote

Yes, this is what I am looking for.


MrsMaiselsBrisket t1_ja8doh1 wrote

Casablanca uses “La Marseillaise”, and of course “As Time Goes By”, quite a bit in the score. Are the characters more important in this scene, or is the war? The score will tell you.


fart-debris t1_ja8ghp8 wrote

Should be most musical films, right?

I can’t remember ever seeing a musical that didn’t do this.


ehh246 OP t1_ja8gnzp wrote

Well, yeah. I'm just wondering if there were times you thought it was used to great effect.


ZorroMeansFox t1_jabah11 wrote

I'll cite the Coen Brothers' True Grit --which uses the 1888 hymn "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" as Mattie Ross's theme; and over a quarter of the film's original score draws from this hymn (often almost erupting into the melody, only to pull back), which makes its final use in the film more grandly spiritual and elegiac and satisfying.