Original Soundtrack

All the King's Men

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In some reviews of Steven Zaillian's remake of All the King's Men, James Horner's score was cited as one of the many things -- along with the overheated tone, the overwrought acting, and the overdone accents -- deeply wrong with the film. Described as overblown, overbearing, and overloud, Horner's score was even said by some to have swamped the film itself. These criticisms, like most criticisms, may be a matter of opinion -- did John Williams' score to Star Wars swamp or enhance the movie? -- but one thing is certain: whatever its qualities, Horner's score is pretty much swiped from other movie scores. There's Alexander North's score for A Streetcar Named Desire that Horner uses in the New Orleans' scenes. There's Rachmaninov's score for Somewhere in Time that Horner uses in the nostalgic scenes. And, all too blatantly, there's Herrmann's main title theme from Taxi Driver -- the percussion's fast crescendo with a quickening pulse -- that Horner uses as his main title. Nor does Horner amalgamate these quotations into a unified score, but allows them to remain disparate aural symbols: A Streetcar Named Desire for power and sex, Somewhere in Time for home and family, and Taxi Driver for fate and destiny. Well played by the Hollywood Studio Orchestra, well recorded by Varese Sarabande, and well conducted by the composer, Horner's score for All the King's Men is musically less than the sum of its parts.

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