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Hymns for the FallenCombat Movie Music and Sound after Vietnam$
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Todd Decker

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520282322

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520282322.001.0001

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Soundtracks and Scores

Soundtracks and Scores

(p.35) 2. Soundtracks and Scores
Hymns for the Fallen

Todd Decker

University of California Press

This chapter describes the large-scale narrative and musical patterns of serious Hollywood combat films made after Vietnam. Two larger narrative shapes are identified: two-part forms (such as training camp followed by battlefield) and alternating action-reflection forms. Then, the overall shape and content of combat film musical scores are described in a comparative context. Four strategies for the use of music in war films are described: films with very little music of any sort, films which alternate between scored and unscored scenes (Saving Private Ryan), music-laden films with music noticeably present much of the time (Born on the Fourth of July), and films with almost continuous music. The frequently blurry distinctions between sound effects and music, the role of popular music (Full Metal Jacket), the importance of diegetic silence, the ambiguous authorship of some film scores (Apocalypse Now, The Hurt Locker), and the shifting nature of the soundtrack mix are also considered.

Keywords:   Apocalypse Now, The Hurt Locker, Born on the Fourth of July, film music, combat films, narrative forms, diegetic silence, soundtrack, mix, Full Metal Jacket

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