News & Views

Portland Bands Share Their Favorite Film Soundtracks

Favorite Movie Soundtracks

Portland Bands Share Their Favorite Film Soundtracks

Six bands from Portland list their favorite movie soundtracks.


Thomas M. Lauderdale's Top Five Movie Soundtracks


Bernard Herrmann
This is the score which made me consider musical worlds outside of classical music in concert settings. Up until then, I had generally pooh-poohed all forms of popular music. Without this score – beautiful from start to finish – this Alfred Hitchcock film wouldn’t be half as successful.


Ascenseur pour l’echefaud

Miles Davis
The movie is also known as Lift to the Scaffold, Elevator to the Gallows and Frantic. A lot of names for Louis Malle’s first film, starring Jeanne Moreau. Miles Davis recorded this score in less than three days in Paris.


Breakfast at Tiffany's

Henry Mancini
Mancini did so many great scores – including Charade, all the Pink Panther films, and The Party, but the one I never tire of is Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg)

Michel Legrand
Years ago, maybe 1995 or so, Bruce LaBruce came to Portland, and among things, gave me a cassette tape of this soundtrack. I didn’t actually see the film for another 10 years … but when I finally did, I was staggered at the unbelievable marriage of song and film … and cried for several days after.


La Dolce Vita

Nino Rota.
A Fellini film without a Rota soundtrack is like Hitchcock without Herrmann or Blake Edwards without Henry Mancini. In some cases in their three decades of collaboration, Fellini edited to fit the music, not the other way around. Isn’t that amazing?

And if I could have a few more : Lawrence of Arabia by Maurice Jarre, Harold and Maude by Cat Stevens and 5000 Fingers of Dr T by Frederich Hollander.

Thomas M. Lauderdale
Thomas M. Lauderdale of Pink Martini - LEADPHOTO

Pink Martini’s Thomas Lauderdale was raised on a plant nursery in rural Indiana, and moved with his family to Portland in 1982. Active in politics since his youth, Lauderdale founded the ‘little orchestra” called Pink Martini in 1994 to play political fundraisers for progressive causes such as civil rights, the environment, affordable housing and public broadcasting. Through the years, Pink Martini has grown from four musicians to its current twelve and has performed its multilingual repertoire on concert stages and with symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Australia, Canada and the United States. Recent collaborations include performances with Jimmy Scott, Henri Salvador, Jane Powell, Georges Moustaki, DJ Dimitri from Paris, Carol Channing and several drag queens from New York City.

At first, this question seemed overwhelming because there is so much music I like in film. And having just scored my first film (Our City Dreams by Chiara Clemente), I am acutely aware of how much the music effects the whole experience.

For me, a score should be beautiful and be able to stand on its own, outside of the film. At the same time, the music shouldn’t ever take center stage (unless it’s a film about music). It shouldn’t call too much attention to itself … or worse, send an opposite message than the image. (Sinister violins shouldn’t accompany a romantic interlude; similarly, a trumpet fanfare isn’t generally appropriate music for a villain skulking around in the darkness.)

And there are all kinds of films with great songs in them. Ones I keep coming back to include “Everybody’s Talkin” by Nilsson in Midnight Cowboy;  “The Concerto Macabre for Piano and Orchestra” by Bernard Herrmann in the film Hangover Square (the finale alone, with the final chords of the piano concerto accompanying the beams of the burning building crashing down on the composer/murderer, is priceless); “Bring Down the Birds” by Herbie Hancock in Blow-Up (which later became the bassline for Deee-Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart”); “Samba Saravah” sung by Pierre Barouh in Un Homme et Une Femme (A Man and a Woman); and almost any of the songs in Pedro Almodovar’s films.

However, these songs are not the whole soundtrack. They are the highlights of the soundtrack … but I don’t necessarily love the other pieces next to them. That said, here are 5 of my favorite soundtracks – from start to finish (for today, at least):

Share This:



More Favorite Things