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Posts Tagged ‘Elliot Davis’

King of the HillIn an earlier post about composer Cliff Martinez, I mused about the (seemingly long-shot) potential of a release of Steven Soderbergh’s King of the Hill, writing “one of my dream projects for a film restoration would be for Steven Soderbergh to recut and remaster his film King of the Hill.  This movie from 1993 features superb performances by Jesse Bradford and the rest of the cast, striking cinematography by Elliot Davis (whose trio of films with Soderbergh are all visually stunning, the other two being The Underneath and Out of Sight), and pitch-perfect direction by Soderbergh; it is a sorely under-appreciated movie.”  Well, the news is very good indeed: King of the Hill is going to be released in a Criterion edition along with The Underneath as a bonus.  I mention this for the mediateacher.net blog because King of the Hill is a fitting movie for use with certain units of Moving Images (and it will certainly be incorporated into the instructor’s resources materials in upcoming revisions) and it is also an exceptional film for social studies curricula because of its unique and compelling depiction of the Great Depression.  And The Underneath is a perfect contemporary counterpoint to classic film noir, quite suitable for use in university film studies courses; for me, it is one of the most underrated movies of the past couple decades (and particularly by Soderbergh himself!).

Alison Elliott in The Underneath

Alison Elliott in The Underneath

My title for this post is one that I use for programming and lectures focusing on one of the most important themes of Soderbergh’s work: the pursuit of wealth and its importance in American culture.  Starting with King of the Hill, Soderbergh has returned again and again to the exploration of pressures and moral issues associated with “achieving the American dream” and the illusion of fulfillment through affluence, in such movies as The Underneath, Out of Sight, The Limey, Ocean’s Eleven (and Twelve and Thirteen), Erin Brockovitch, The Informant, and Magic Mike, among others, as well as in his writing and lectures.   

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Cliff Martinez playing the Baschet crystal

It was very exciting news to hear that Cliff Martinez would be collaborating again with Steven Soderbergh for the score of Contagion.  Martinez is having a very busy season with the additional release of Nicholas Winding Refn‘s Drive.  Here is one recent interview with Martinez, whose biography and approach are quite unique; two of his finest scores are both for Soderbergh films: the haunting score for Solaris and the Oscar winning Traffic.  

I have to add that one of my dream projects for a film restoration would be for Steven Soderbergh to recut and remaster his film King of the Hill.  This movie from 1993 features superb performances by Jesse Bradford and the rest of the cast, striking cinematography by Elliot Davis (whose trio of films with Soderbergh are all visually stunning, the other two being The Underneath and Out of Sight), and pitch-perfect direction by Soderbergh; it is a sorely under-appreciated movie.  Along with the recut, Cliff Martinez can rerecord some of this score with acoustic ensembles — like the woodwind parts, which are particularly rich — and the resulting version of King of the Hill could be a true revelation.  Ah, dreams…

Update 2014: Here is another interview with Cliff Martinez.  And King of the Hill did get released on Criterion after all, along with The Underneath!  

Update 2015: Thankfully, the Martinez-Soderbergh collaboration has continued with the HBO TV series The Knick, starring Clive Owen.  Here is an excellent June 2015 interview with Cliff Martinez in which he discusses his ongoing collaborations with Soderbergh and Refn as well as the challenges facing contemporary composers— summed up in a particularly amusing description of submitting scores to advertising clients.

Update 2016: On his website, you can access a Cliff Martinez Composing Masterclass with BAFTA.  Listen to it through Soundcloud!

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