Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Chell, Samuel L. "Music and Emotion in the Classic Hollywood Film: The Case of The Best Years of Our Lives." Film Criticism 8, no. 2 (Summer 1984): 27-38.

The "suture effect," adapted from psychoanalytic theory by Jean-Pierre Oudart, identifies the relationship of the spectator to the chain of signifying images, while also accounting for the subject's connection with the film score. Once becoming aware of the absence of vital information presented visually, the spectator unconsciously closes the gap between the seen and unseen, simultaneously sealing the spectator within the film. Music serves as an off-screen signifier, replacing the absence of corresponding affect, and the spectator is freed to claim the imaged emotion as his own. The film score permits the spectator to impart human depth to the flatness of photographed images by using programmatic music or music which carries off-screen meaning. Hugo Friedhofer's 1946 score for The Best Years of Our Lives draws stylistically from neo-classicism in its employment of numerous leitmotifs; the opening notes of the theme suggest somber memories of war, corresponding directly to the opening intervals of "Taps." Hoagy Carmichael's "Among My Souvenirs" is borrowed as a sentimental relic from the popular songs of the 1930s, as well as "Up a Lazy River" and "Chopsticks."

Works: Hugo Friedhofer: score to The Best Years of Our Lives (27-28, 31-38).

Sources: Taps (32); Traditional: It's Raining, It's Pouring (33); Hoagy Carmichael: Among My Souvenirs (33), Up a Lazy River (35); Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, From the New World (33).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Film

Contributed by: Kathleen Widden

Except where otherwise noted, this website is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
Creative Commons Attribution License