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July 1997, Week 3


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Alan Bell <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 12 Jul 1997 09:01:42 -0700
text/plain (47 lines)
"D. R. Smith" wrote:
>Another trailer tactic that (slightly) bothers me, although I
>understand it, is the use of another movie's music as the soundtrack
>to the trailer.
Yes, of course, as you undoubtedly know, it's because the trailer is being
finished before the music for the film is finished. One of the continuing
pastimes on the newsgroup and the FILMUS-L list is
identifying trailer music from previous films.
>Do the soundtrack composers get credit for
>this type of use?  Is this type of tactic unethical? I don't really think
>so, but it still seems a little underhanded to me.  What do you think?
Once a score is finished, it belongs to the company that commissioned it.
Therefore, there doesn't seem to be anything unethical about it. Of course,
back in the old days, studios used to reuse music all the time. One of my
favorite examples is the music in GUNGA DIN which plays behind the Tuggee
(sp?) chief (Eduardo Cianelli) while he explains how his cult will take
over all of India. It later turns up in the faux-newsreel at the beginning
of CITIZEN KANE. There are numerous other examples.
But that's a discussion for another group, I suppose...
Still, using music from another film seems a bit different from using
dialog or action that does not appear in the film. You like to think that
what you see is what you're going to get. Where does one draw the line?
I just recalled a particularly egregious example from television a long
time ago. ABC was promoting the film ZORBA THE GREEK. In the promo there
was a shot of a woman nude to the waist, shot from behind. But the movie as
actually shown cut that scene out! Apparently it was all right to show that
scene all during the broadcast schedule, but considered too risque for
prime time. Go figure. Again, I assume the trailer was being cut
idependently from the the programmers who cut the movie.
ALAN BELL                             Santa Rosa, California
Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
                                -- Actual newspaper headline
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