Scoring The Man from U.N.C.L.E. with Intrigue

Director Guy Ritchie wanted to avoid any ’60s cliches in his Cold War rendering of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (starring Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin), and composer Daniel Pemberton was happy to oblige. In fact, there are as many musical twists and turns as you’ll find in the plot to save the world from nuclear war. Pemberton called it a “kaleidoscope of international color” because of its dense, unpredictable blend of styles.

“The ’60s thing is fun from a musical point-of-view because music was such a strong aspect in culture and in films, so you had a lot more license to be very bold, which as a composer, is very enjoyable,” said Pemberton (The Counselor, The Awakening). “In some ways, it’s my favorite kind of music from film scores back then. They were a lot more striking and unusual. This is a nostalgic, retro kind of score, but, I think, actually very modern. It’s so different from what’s coming out in the cinema.”

Where else would you find such inspired use of cimbalom, harpsichord, bass flute, electric guitars, mandolin and bongos, let alone the Hammond B3 organ and Jennings Univox?

The iconic siege went from a rock number driven by a distorted bass line to a more percussive sound combined with an orchestral tension. A party went from bossa nova to spy theme to Henry Mancini-like.

“The whole thing with this film was to get as many unusual sounds as possible. I like ‘Escape from East Berlin’ with great flute by David Heath that’s a different way of scoring a chase.”

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Clips, Crafts, Movies, Music, Tech

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