Perhaps among the most surprising bits of news that flew under the radar at San Diego Comic-Con this year was that Italian composer Ennio Morricone will score Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming western “The Hateful Eight.” Tarantino shared the news at the end of the panel for “The Hateful Eight,” which comes out this Christmas.
This is huge for many reasons, given that Tarantino doesn’t normally use an original score for his films, instead relying on an eclectic mix of old movie soundtracks and pop songs. Meanwhile, Morricone once stated publicly that he never wanted to work with Tarantino. This shows just how significant it is that Tarantino will be working with Morricone.
At the age of 86, Morricone has a long and storied career in the film industry. His claim to fame is his collaboration with director Sergio Leone. With Leone, they invented the Spaghetti Western genre, a wave of westerns made by Italian filmmakers in the 1960s and 1970s.
Morricone scored Leone’s Dollars Trilogy, which consists of “A Fistful of Dollars,” “For a Few Dollars More,” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” It was these films that turned Clint Eastwood into an international movie star. Morricone’s music is as big of a star in these films as Eastwood himself. It is his score that brought epic scope and tension to the incredible final showdown in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” which has now become one of the most famous scenes in cinematic history:
Those who are longtime fans of Tarantino know that his films are basically cobbled together tributes to all of his favourite films. One of his biggest influences is the Spaghetti Western genre.
One of the many ways he pays influence to the genre is by sampling Morricone’s music.
He sampled “L’Arena” from “The Mercenary” excellently when depicting The Bride’s (Uma Thurman) escape from a coffin in “Kill Bill: Vol. 2”:
Meanwhile, in “Inglourious Basterds,” he used a sampling of “The Verdict” from “The Big Gundown” to indicate the imminent showdown between self-proclaimed “Jew Hunter” Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) and farmer Perrier LaPadite (Denis Menochet):
“The Hateful Eight” isn’t technically the first time Tarantino and Morricone will work together, as Tarantino has used a lot of Morricone’s music in his films. However, after Morricone publicly trashed Tarantino, it seemed unlikely that there would ever be an actual collaboration between the two of them, which makes this weekend’s news all the more surprising.
There might be no more fitting film for the two of them to work together than “The Hateful Eight.”
“The Hateful Eight” will be the first time Morricone first time working on a western in 40 years. Meanwhile, this is the first true western Tarantino will direct.
Tarantino’s genre-bending oeuvre usually bend towards the wild west, and it seems like over the years he has been slowly building up to making his own true entry in the genre. In 2003 and 2004, The “Kill Bill” films mixed in western elements with samurai and kung fu. In 2009, “Inglourious Basterds” depicted World War II like the wild west. Meanwhile, 2012’s “Django Unchained” could qualify as a western for the Texas scenes alone.
It might have been hard for Tarantino to make a “real” western, given the long-standing myth that the western is dead in Hollywood, despite the success of such recent genre entries as “True Grit” (which grossed $US252.3 million worldwide) and “Slow West.” Tarantino is clearly an expert on the genre, and having Morricone on board will add a touch of authenticity to “The Hateful Eight.”
Morricone’s music remains legendary to this day, and gets used and parodied all over the place. However, it has been a while since he has commanded the music for another classic. Tarantino is known for reviving the careers of actors from John Travolta to Bruce Willis. Perhaps he can do the same for a composer and an entire genre.
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