Archive for June, 2015

Patrick McNee is dead

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

john_steed__185410

Patrick McNee the actor famous to most of us for playing John Steed on the original Avengers television show, passed away today. From Variety:

Patrick Macnee, famous for his role on “The Avengers” British TV series, died Thursday of natural causes at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He was 93.

Macnee, who played John Steed in the spy-fi show, died with his family at his bedside.

“Wherever he went, he left behind a trove of memories,” a statement on the actor’s website read. “Patrick Macnee was a popular figure in the television industry. He was at home wherever in the world he found himself. He had a knack for making friends, and keeping them.”

“The Avengers” initially focused on Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry) and his assistant (Macnee), but Macnee’s famously bowler hat wearing, umbrella-wielding intelligence officer (he never used a gun) became the protagonist when Hendry exited the series. Macnee played the part alongside a succession of strong, female partners, including Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Joanna Lumley. The show ran from 1961 and 1969 and was reprised in the 1970s.

Condolences to his family. I’m sure he will be missed.

I never watched the show myself, but it is on my list and I appreciate the actor’s contribution to our popular culture and our niche culture.

 

The All-Important Soundtrack

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

An excellent soundtrack will work so well that you aren’t aware of how it’s manipulating you.  Oh, you’ll hear it and perhaps enjoy it, but you aren’t truly cognizant of how essential it is to the experience until you see raw footage and realize most of the emotional thrust of a moment was the music.  Without that, and a good sound effect engineer, you just have uncomfortably awkward moments with Chewbacca screeching like a cockatiel.

Good Lord!  How pivotal were John Williams and Ben Burtt?!!!  Yeesh!

In Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, there’s a…

Okay, I know it’s not a great movie.  It’s a good movie, and at the time we all appreciated that it gave everyone  in the cast a moment or two to shine, but the ending is a snoozer.  Still, it’s got some great moments.  One of the highlights is “Stealing the Enterprise,” mainly due to the soundtrack by James Horner.

Why the soundtrack?  It’s not just the thrill of the soaring horns once the doors open, it’s the entire piece…and how it plays you.  Because this scene shouldn’t work at all.

How much tension is there, really, in Scotty’s trouble getting the doors to open?  Is the Enterprise going to smash into the doors?  Are they going to fail in their attempt and all go to prison?  So how can there be tension in this scene?

But James Horner pulls it off.

James Horner composed the sountracks to 125 films, many of which played a big part of my life,  including many hours spent listening to them on CD.  He died Monday in a plane crash, only 61 years of age.  R.I.P.

 

 

Doctor Who is on Disney XD?

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

This strikes me as extremely wrong but I cannot place my finger on exactly why.

Just based on the clips this appears to start in the second season of the Welsh series with David Tennant. Perhaps they are just promoting it that way.