John Williams

1941

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With the World War II comedy 1941, filmmaking wunderkind Steven Spielberg suffered the first box-office disaster of his career, but composer John Williams escapes better than unscathed -- in fact, the score represents one of the most imaginative and daring of his career, combining the edgy wit of his early efforts with the orchestral splendor of his post-Jaws blockbusters. Drawing heavily on the pomp and pageantry of military music, Williams employs dive-bombing brass and marching band percussion to lampoon the melodic fanfare of Hollywood's golden age -- no stranger to bombast himself, the composer deftly navigates the thin line between acerbic and absurd, creating a score of uncommon depth and savage intelligence.

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