Bring back the classic Monty Norman theme

I think thay should never have stopped using it in the first place

Comments

  • Golrush007Golrush007 South AfricaPosts: 3,098Quartermasters

    Are you referring to the original Dr No recording of the James Bond Theme? If I remember correctly the last use of that was in the climax of OHMSS or did it also pop up in DAF?

    There's something about that first recording that is quite special - as if they were never quite able to recreate the energy and urgency of it again. I do also feel that it sounds of its time - a distinctly 1960s version of the Bond theme that when used in later years is normally used in a parodic or nostalgic way in film and TV etc. So if they were to use that version in a modern Bond film I think it would feel like a nostalgic move rather than the music actually belonging in a new Bond film.

    I remember when Casino Royale's soundtrack was released (just before seeing the film for the first time) I was so pleased to hear a relatively traditional sounding arrangement of the Bond theme after so many years of electronically enhanced versions (although not necessarily enhanced in a positive way) and before that the rather different Kamen version and the many years of Barry's more symphonic sounding arrangement. It had more of a 1960s feel while still being a modern sounding recording. I think that sort of approach remains the best way to use the Bond theme ... however, I am a bit bored of Arnold's CR arrangement now, after even Newman continued using it. It worked really well in Skyfall during the DB5 scene. I wish other films would use it in the body of the film rather than just adding it on at the end over the credits.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,542Chief of Staff

    You're correct, Golrush007. The last use of the original recording was in OHMSS and it doesn't appear in DAF (though of course JB did make contemporary recordings of parts of it during the score).

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,201MI6 Agent
    edited July 29

    Editor Peter Hunt would insist on it being in on certain key action scenes, much to John Barry's chagrin who fancied he'd penned something more appropriate. This included the autogyro scene in YOLT and the Piz Gloria shootout in the next one. Once Hunt was done with the series, so was the old style theme it appears. In any case it wouldn't fit with the new Moore years, as they were opting for a different style.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,223MI6 Agent

    I must admit I never liked it when the '62 recording popped up in later films... somehow it felt a bit cheap to me.

  • RevelatorRevelator Posts: 295MI6 Agent

    Did Barry have music written for the Piz Gloria shootout that Hunt discarded? If so, is it available for listening to? I have to admit that I liked the use of the Norman Bond theme in OHMSS--it felt like the reappearance of an old friend. And since a new Bond was being introduced, linking him to the original Bond theme was appropriate. Lastly, it was neat bit of classic traditionalism in a score that' otherwise futuristic in its use of synthesizers.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,542Chief of Staff
    edited August 18

    Yes, he did and yes, it is: listen to "Battle At Piz Gloria" on the album (preferably the 2003 edition). Only part of this is heard in the film, since Hunt replaced it with the James Bond Theme.

  • Golrush007Golrush007 South AfricaPosts: 3,098Quartermasters

    Battle at Piz Gloria is a smashing cue, I really like the faster version of the OHMSS theme.

    Somewhere I have a version of OHMSS with the unused music put back into the film. I'd quite like to revisit that and see if I prefer not having the JB theme in that Piz Gloria attack sequence.

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,201MI6 Agent

    How did you come by that. @Golrush007 ? That would be an interesting listen. Personally I feel the insert of the original Bond theme detracts from the suspense of the action scene, it's a bit - oh this is nice, here we go again.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • The Domino EffectThe Domino Effect Posts: 3,215MI6 Agent

    I have been fortunate enough to had attended "Skyfall Live" and "Casino Royale Live" with the full orchestra and on both occasions they absolutely just rocked the Bond Theme at the veryend. Just goose-bump stuff to hear it live, with a good guitarist, and an orchestra that's really enjoying playing it and who played it on and on. It just sounds fantastic live and I was sat close enough to the front to see the pleasure on the musicians' faces as well. Clearly they enjoyed it as much as I did.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,542Chief of Staff

    Totally agree, it's wonderful live.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,223MI6 Agent

    I wish they’d do a Barry film live. I know it’d be Goldfinger, but I’d take that.

  • Golrush007Golrush007 South AfricaPosts: 3,098Quartermasters

    It was sent to me by The Cat, who used to be a regular here. Unfortanately I was unable to find the disc when I looked for it at home yesterday, which suggests to me that it is probably in storage about 2000km from where I am at present.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,223MI6 Agent

    I've got that somewhere too. It wasn't quite worth what he charged for it: he made out like it contained unreleased music from the film but it was just the tracks from the soundtrack release edited in.

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,201MI6 Agent

    He wasn't meant to charge for it - as with Blofeld's Cat, who promoted his version of Never Say McClory Again, the way to go is you're expected to make a donation or offer a token of your esteem!

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,223MI6 Agent

    Pretty sure he did though.

  • Golrush007Golrush007 South AfricaPosts: 3,098Quartermasters

    It was 15 years ago...I must admit I've completely forgotten the circumstances around payments etc for the OHMSS 'composers cut' (as The Cat referred to it).

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,201MI6 Agent

    Bloody cats!

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,309MI6 Agent
    edited August 23

    I got (and get) a real kick out of the uses of the '62 recording during YOLT's Little Nellie sequence and OHMSS's attack on Piz Gloria, even though Hunt may have been displacing other excellent Barry cues or arrangements. That '62 Bond theme recording seemed to inject a raw and exciting sense of 'authentic' Bond into YOLT - just when excessive fantasy elements were risking pulling the series too far away from its cinematic origins - and again in OHMSS, a film fronted by a new, 'Carnaby Street' Bond who benefited from some of that '62 sound, on the rocks, as an added layer of validation for the climax of his outing.

    It's sad to think that (the odd trailer excepted) the '62 recording has been retired since '69. It might even have been fun if Arnold, during his tenure, had just gone ahead and pulled a Hunt, for the hell of it, once or twice. (If Newman had done this, though, it would have put his own scoring to shame!)

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,309MI6 Agent
    edited August 26

    @emtiem: "I must admit I never liked it when the '62 recording popped up in later films... somehow it felt a bit cheap to me."

    I got (and get) a real kick out of the uses of the '62 recording during YOLT's Little Nellie sequence and OHMSS's climax, even though Hunt may have been displacing other excellent Barry cues or arrangements. That '62 Bond recording seemed to inject a raw and exciting sense of 'authentic' Bond into YOLT - just when excessive fantasy elements were risking pulling the series too far away from its cinematic origins - and again in OHMSS, a film fronted by a new, 'Carnaby Street' Bond who benefited from some of that '62 sound, on the rocks, as an added layer of validation for the climax of his outing.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 50 years.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,254MI6 Agent

    Oh, Shady, Shady, Shady, I love your comment. Critics you don't need.

    I also love the inclusion of the Monty Norman recording in YOLT and OHMSS.

    It's particularly good in the Little Nellie sequence as this is the first time that the theme is heard from start to finish, without fading, stopping, repositioning, etc etc. The theme is never even used properly in DR NO, the movie it's most associated with. Hunt's editing of the battle scene choreographs the action to the music, raising the standard of the on screen entertainment at least another two or three notches. When you watch this in a cinema - as I have done twice - it is a scene which blows you away with tension, excitement and fun and the theme ices the confection.

    The Piz Gloria battle sequence isn't quite so successful, but here I enjoy it because it's an identifiable tune which seems to say "James Bond to the rescue."

    I wouldn't however necessarily want to have it used extensively on a modern Bond soundtrack. I loved Moby's reworking for TND. That's one of the better cover versions IMO. A sadly missed opportunity is including the interpretation given by The John Barry Seven which pounds even harder than the Norman version.

  • HowardBHowardB USAPosts: 2,589MI6 Agent

    I like most of the different arrangements of the Bond Theme.

    My favorite is the original '62 version. It might be considered "retro" these days but IMO, it has stood the test of time.

    Barry took Monty Norman's basic composition and reinvented it into the perfect melding of jazz/swing and instrumental rock.

    IMO, no one has ever topped Vic Flick's fat, twangy, Duane Eddy style guitar tone on the '62 recording.

    David Arnold actually played the lead guitar part himself on the recording done for the end scene of CR and did a nice job of it.

    I am very curious to hear/see what Hans Zimmer and guitarist Johnny Marr have done with it in NTTD.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,542Chief of Staff

    Just for clarity-

    (1) There isn't and wasn't a "Monty Norman Orchestra" whatever misleading album credits may say. There were two versions recorded in 1962: one for the film, and one for the single. Both versions were arranged and conducted by John Barry.

    Here's the single- The James Bond Theme - John Barry Seven - 1962 45rpm - Bing video

    And you all know the one from the film. As can be heard, they sound very similar but are not identical. Over the many years since, both versions have been used on compilations

    (2) The version used for the Little Nellie scene isn't simply the usual version. It was edited and looped by Peter Hunt.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,254MI6 Agent
    edited August 27

    Thanks for that tip Barbel. I wasn't aware of that. However, I would still attest unlike all previous films this scene at least allows a full and uninterrupted listen to the Bond Theme as action - and suitable action at that- unfolds on screen.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,413MI6 Agent

    Barbel said:

    Just for clarity-

    (1) There isn't and wasn't a "Monty Norman Orchestra" whatever misleading album credits may say. There were two versions recorded in 1962: one for the film, and one for the single. Both versions were arranged and conducted by John Barry.

    thanks for the clarification, boss, cuz I was getting confused!

    I love that original version, love the twangy guitar sound, and the sound of the other early singles John Barry 7 were putting out in those early days.

    But in most of the examples given, I find its use on later soundtrack sticks out to the point of distraction. Barry's musical pallette had evolved by the time of You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty's Secret Service. I believe his score tells the story, the choice of instrumentation is unique to the tone of each movie, and all of sudden the story is disrupted by this incongruous sounding blast from the past.

    Even in From Russia with Love its appearance is distracting. I cant remember it particularly from Goldfinger or Thunderball, so if its there he must have integrated it more subtly somehow.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,542Chief of Staff

    Yes, it's integrated as you say. Even the gunbarrel for those is a new recording, not the original.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,223MI6 Agent

    Here’s a little clip of Mr Marr playing it in the latest version:


  • HowardBHowardB USAPosts: 2,589MI6 Agent

    Thanks to emtiem for the clip. Not surprising that Marr is being very deferential to Vic Flick's original guitar work with plenty of reverb and twang.

    I actually like Zimmer's arrangement; sounds like a melding of the '62 original and the later orchestral arrangements. From what little I have heard from the actual soundtrack of NTTD, I think there is reason to be optimistic about what Zimmer has done.

  • LoeffelholzLoeffelholz The United States, With LovePosts: 8,864Quartermasters

    Agreed! And thanks emtiem for sharing that. I like Zimmer's arrangement as well, and am hopeful about Zimmer's score. He's quite a brand name of his own, and hearing his take on Bond will be fun.

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