He Shoots, He Scores! #4: The Man with the Movie Camera

For those not familiar, He Shoots He Scores is a fortnightly feature here at Southern Vision where I look at a great film score or soundtrack and highlight its excellence. This week’s score is The Cinematic Orchestra’s specially written soundtrack for the 1929 silent film masterpiece The Man with the Movie Camera.

Now this score is one of the best I’ve ever heard in a silent film, because it’s different to what we’re expecting. It’s modern music, slyly mixed with the sounds and feelings of industrialism and adventure that the film highlights in the 1920s. The score starts approximately four minutes into the movie and lasts the whole film, nonstop. It is sometimes soft and mournful, sometimes excited and bursting with energy. It is one of the top five film scores I’ve ever heard.

Written in 2003 for the film, the score is one of many made to complement The Man with the Movie Camera, but none of the other scores capture the vitality and movement of The Cinematic Orchestra’s. If you see the film, it is recommended you see it with this score playing (the entire film is available on YouTube with this score here).

Below I’ve included clips of various tracks from the score on YouTube. Give them a listen, and let me know what you think.


Posted on May 13, 2012, in He Shoots He Scores, Movies, Music and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Ah, no! I’ve definitely seen Man with the Movie Camera (and loved it) but now I’m not so sure that I watched it with this score. I’m listening to Melody/Dawn as I write this and it’s giving me chills – amazing!

  2. Christian Hallbeck

    I think musical modernism works well in this type of experimental film. The effect would have been far less convincing in say a Chaplin film. In my opinion modern music would have ruined a film like “City Lights”. It would even have ruined the factory scenes in “Modern Times”. But in “The Man with the Movie Camera” the modern score is very much in spirit with the “modern” editing of the film, and thus works.

    • I agree, there are only certain films for which a score like this would work. I think it makes The Man with the Movie Camera even more fascinating to watch (if that were possible).

  3. I have lost count of the amount of times I have watched this amazing film, listened to this phenomenal score. On Youtube – Part 2 is fucking amazing. Great choice.

    • I know, right? A fucking fantastic film. One of my favourite silent movies of all time… actually fuck that, one of my favourite movies of all time. Just a stunning accomplishment and groundbreaking cinematic stepping stone.

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