Thursday, February 09, 2006

A giant passes on...

Monster Zero reports that one of the greatest of film composers, Akira Ifukube, has passed away at the age of 91.

Fan of Japanese fantasy films will need no introduction to his work, which was most prominently featured in a slew of Tojo Dai Kaiju movies, including the original Godzilla, King of the Monsters (aka Gojira)in 1954. It was in this film that the classic Godzilla Theme was first heard.

Obviously personal preferences will reign here, but I also particularly love his music for The Mysterians and the Ghirdah theme from Ghidrah the Three Headed Monster. In all, Mr. Ifukue scored nearly three hundred movies, and returned to the Godzilla series in the '90s with updates of his old themes in such films as Godzilla vs. Mechagodilla II (1993).

Aside from the indeliable contributions to the Godzilla series referenced above, Mr. Ifukube himself actually created the classic sound effect used for Godzilla's roar. "For the roar of Godzilla, I took out the lowest string of a contrabass and then ran a glove that had resin on it across the string. The different kinds of roars were created by playing the recording of the sound that I'd made at different speeds."

I always wonder whether people really appreciate who vital a good score is to a movie. So many great films have great scores--Jaws, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, etc.--and you have to wonder if they'd be as well remembered if they lacked them. And the opposite is true, too: How many good films failed to become classics because they didn't have the exact perfect score?

We'll never know, but it's hard for me to believe that Mr. Ifukube's music didn't have a lot to do with creating a film series that has lasted over 50 years.



At 3:16 PM, Blogger Henry Brennan said...

You're absolutely right, Ken. Imagine "Star Wars" or "Indiana Jones" with a weak score.

At 8:00 AM, Blogger thanoseid said...

Aww, man, that sucks. I can listen to that Toho monster music for hours. War of the Gargantuas? I love that soundtrack.

At 2:00 PM, Blogger BeckoningChasm said...

Man, I love the music to The Mysterians. Even before the DVD, I remember those battle themes perfectly from just watching that as a kid.


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