Allied: The Longstanding Relationship Between Composer Alan Silvestri and Director Robert Zemeckis

Marshall, Kingsley ORCID logoORCID: (2020) Allied: The Longstanding Relationship Between Composer Alan Silvestri and Director Robert Zemeckis. In: A Critical Companion to Robert Zemeckis. Critical Companions to Popular Directors . Lexington Books, Lanham, US. ISBN 9781793623454 (In Press)

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Abstract / Summary

“I'm standing there in this Calvin Klein white sweater, and all of a sudden Bob walks in wearing the exact same sweater. Right then, we knew that we were connected for life" (Silvestri, 1995).

The collaboration between composer Alan Silvestri and director Robert Zemeckis began with Romancing the Stone (Zemeckis, 1984) and has continued through to the present day, with their eighteenth collaboration The Witches due in cinemas 2020.

In order to better understand the relationship between Silvestri and Zemeckis, this chapter draws an alignment of the creative practice of these film with a detailed, intrasoundtrack analysis of the scenes they discuss. I will make use of interviews to explore their working relationship and use these to contextualise the close reading of specific scenes selected from four live action films of their relationship – including Flight (2012), The Walk (2015), Allied (2016) and Welcome to Marwen (2018). These four recent films have been chosen as they represent the well-developed relationship between composer and director, and each articulate genre, space, place and character subjectivity in a complex manner through the combination of musical and moving image

Vicki Mayer observes that this analysis of cultures of production, when applied to specific productions, speaks not just to the film under examination, but can offer “larger lessons about workers, their practices, and the role of their labors in relation to politics, economics and culture” (2009: 15). I argue that such longstanding collaborative relationships, and a practice of involving music composers within the development stages at the initiation of film projects, can serve to privilege sound more broadly within a film and commonly results in a greater integration of music within the films themselves than is common in film production.

Amy McGill argues that a “contemporary” narrative mode of sound and music within cinematic storytelling emerges in the 1970s (2008), a development of film sound born of “the industrial realignments that led to flexible production processes, technological developments and emerging trends in storytelling technique and generic style, all of which have contributed to the diverse and complex character of the contemporary soundtrack” (2009: 289). Silvestri’s work with Zemeckis over a thirty-year period offers an opportunity to consider the manner with which this mode manifests itself in their work, and offer commentary on the manner with which this use of sound can be sound to demonstrate the blurring of distinctions between international art cinema, American independent filmmaking and US studio productions occurring during that period (2008: 293-294).

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Item Type: Book Section
ISBN: 9781793623454
Subjects: Music > Digital Music
Film & TV > Film > Hollywood Film
Music > Miscellaneous
Music > Popular Music
Music > Sound Design
Courses by Department: The School of Film & Television > Film
Depositing User: Kingsley Marshall
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2019 10:01
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2023 16:47


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