From trailer to historic legacy: Approaches to analyzing music in film

The panel brings together four scholars actively doing research in film music, each with a distinctive perspective. As a collection, the four papers provide a comprehensive overview of current scholarly approaches in film music studies. Kevin Clifton draws extensively from the field of semiotics with the goal of unraveling meaning in the movie trailer for Hitchcock's Rope (1948). His analysis suggests that the use of music in the trailer helps create a psychologically complex world that contributes in seducing the viewer/voyeur to return to the cinema to see the entire film. Since his monograph on Ennio Morricone's score for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A Film Score Guide (2004), Charles Leinberger has continued to research this prolific composer. His presentation focuses on the musical cue "L'Estasi dell'Oro" and offers a concise account of the process that Morricone refers to as his "micro-cell" technique. James Buhler undertakes a critique of topic theory as it has been deployed in analyzing film soundtracks to reconsider some of its basic presumptions. Sarah Ellis combines archival research with score analysis to discuss how, despite his significant efforts, producer David O. Selznick could not control the semiotic meanings created in the score for his film Portrait of Jennie (1948). She shows how the music, both used and not used, in Portrait of Jennie becomes an artifact displaying a clash of ideological values concerning high and low art, which bleed into the soundtrack.