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Anachronistic Music in Film, TV & Trailers

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Kylee Peña
Anachronistic Music in Film, TV & Trailers
on Apr 18, 2013 at 11:50:24 pm

I was watching the trailer for Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby (specifically the second trailer, not the one that was just released, because I think the second one is stronger) and pondering the use of music. I love intentionally anachronistic music used effectively, diegetic or not, and I really love all the musical choices in the Gatsby trailers. It doesn't fit the era at ALL (and it's funny to see people get their panties in a bunch over it), but it really fits somehow.



I wonder if the film itself will use more modern music like this. It's not out of the question, since the first film I'd think of as an example of anachronistic music is Moulin Rouge, also directed by Luhrmann.

Another one I can remember from recent TV is Game of Thrones, near the end of season two. It's hard to say the song is purely anachronistic since it's not entirely clear when or where this world is, but music like this is not otherwise found in the series. It plays over the credits immediately following an hour of awesome warfare that had been building the entire season, and it worked really well.



On the other hand, they tried this again after last week's episode -- a modernish song to punctuate some crazy stuff that happened at the end of a really fantastic episode. Did NOT work at all for me.

When it's used right, it can be powerful and surreal. Otherwise, it's kind of weird and takes you out of the story.

What are some other good examples? Again, INTENTIONALLY anachronistic. Not like "this 1990 film was set in 1982 and the song they used actually came out in 1984." That's a whole 'nother thread, but I also think IMDB has that covered pretty well.

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Tim Wilson
Re: Anachronistic Music in Film, TV & Trailers
on Apr 19, 2013 at 3:41:13 am

I like the first trailer for Gatsby, back when it was going to open at Christmas. The second half used Jack White singing U2's Love Is Blindness. So intense I thought I was going to have a heart attack.




The one that always jumps out at me is A Knight's Tale -- fun, but not great, starring Heath Ledger, Paul Bettany and Rufus Sewell. (I love that guy.) It's actually kind of goofy, but it has some fun with anachronistic music. I can't possibly explain this, even after watching the movie a dozen times, so I'll just play the clip, maybe one of you can explain it to me. Bonus points if you can do it without using the phrase "on c r a c k."




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Kylee Peña
Re: Anachronistic Music in Film, TV & Trailers
on Apr 19, 2013 at 12:48:11 pm

I loved that Gatsby trailer as well. I think I liked the second one better because the structure feels a lot more crazy than a typical trailer. And Filter's cover of You and Me is such a weirdly perfect choice for it. Anytime a trailer makes me say WTF out loud, I'm gonna go see the film.

I've never seen Marie Antoinette but I heard a lot of stuff about its use of music when it came out. Has anyone in this forum seen it and hold an opinion?

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com


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Jeff Breuer
Re: Anachronistic Music in Film, TV & Trailers
on Apr 19, 2013 at 3:46:49 pm

[Tim Wilson] "The one that always jumps out at me is A Knight's Tale -- fun, but not great,"

Glad you mentioned this film, as it is the one on this subject that always comes to mind for me. As a "fun, but not great" film it's a good popcorn movie for me to go back to from time to time, but more than the dance sequence I always have to get over the squeezy opening sequence where they try to force "We Will Rock You" into the character's space in the movie.



The other instance that comes to mind, which is a good one, is the classic Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.



Correct me if I am wrong, but I was thinking that The Graduate started the trend of moving away from traditions scores in the intro credits (Using Simon & Garfunkles "Hey, Mrs. Robinson") and BC&SDK introduced contemporary pop songs into period piece movies.


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Kylee Peña
Re: Anachronistic Music in Film, TV & Trailers
on Apr 19, 2013 at 6:33:21 pm

[Jeff Breuer] "I was thinking that The Graduate started the trend of moving away from traditions scores in the intro credits"

I think when I was reading about the end of the film after we were talking about film endings a few weeks ago that I came across this same thought. So yeah, I think you're right on there.

blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
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Scott Roberts
Re: Anachronistic Music in Film, TV & Trailers
on Apr 19, 2013 at 8:21:20 pm

Inglourious Basterds has a few moments that fit well into this discussion. Or, I suppose you could say the entire film is anachronistic because even the orchestral tracks are from mainly 60s and 70s Italian films... But low-and-behold, about two hours into a WWII revenge film; Tarantino found it necessary to start the fifth chapter of his movie with an awesome David Bowie song (for the record I'm not complaining, Bowie rules):








Django Unchained had a lot of anachronistic music as well. Between juggling his Morricone and Bacalov tracks, he also threw in a Johnny Cash song AND two rap songs! Side note: did you know that four of the songs on the Django soundtrack were original compositions created specifically for the film? How did they not receive any original song praise around awards time?!

This John Legend song dominates:







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Kylee Peña
Re: Anachronistic Music in Film, TV & Trailers
on Apr 24, 2013 at 4:43:05 pm

Tarantino probably has the best stuff to answer this topic. I love how it strikes you as wrong, but that's somehow right.

Another television example would be the title sequence for Boardwalk Empire. They also have a tendency to use new music in the closing credits. This isn't as interesting since it doesn't play into the story at all. I'll alo mention I actually really don't like this title sequence at all, and I don't think the music helps set up the show at all. I'm obviously not a purist about this stuff, but there's just nothing about it that works for me.



I thought of a scene where anachronistic music is used as a plot device instead of just a thing. Back to the Future! Of course.



blog: kyleesportfolio.com/blog
twitter: @kyl33t
demo: kyleewall.com


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