Ennio Morricone, an Italian composer whose wildly inventive soundtracks — indigenous the electrical guitar, whistle, whip crack and also coyote howl that “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” come the dramatic choral and also orchestral score that “The Mission” — made that a revered figure in international cinema, passed away July 6 in ~ a hospital in Rome. He was 91.
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The reason was complications after a autumn in which he damaged his leg, his longtime attorney, Giorgio Assumma, told the linked Press.
One of the most prodigious and also successful composers the his generation — through well end 400 movie and TV credits — Mr. Morricone won an honorary Academy award in 2007 the cited his “magnificent and also multifaceted contribute to the art of film music.” He to be nominated six times because that competitive Oscars, triumphing with one of his last original scores, for the Quentin Tarantino western “The Hateful Eight” (2015).
Mr. Morricone to be a boldly adventurous composer that saw himself together a complete partner in telling stories on-screen. He thrived with directors well-known for their visual excess, including Tarantino, Sergio Leone and Brian De Palma.
But Mr. Morricone, whose scores can be gritty, unstable or exquisitely gentle, was impossible to categorize. His portfolio seemed to span every conceivable tendency genre, consisting of comedy, drama, romance, horror, politics satire and historical epic.
In addition, his movie scores have been recorded and performed in concert by entertainers together disparate as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, soprano Renée Fleming, jazz pianist Herbie Hancock and the rock band Metallica.
Mr. Morricone’s output encompassed the sinister march he wrote for “The fight of Algiers” (1966), director Gillo Pontecorvo’s gripping story about the Algerian war for independence, and the nostalgia-laden design template to “Cinema Paradiso” (1988), manager Giuseppe Tornatore’s wistful ode to movie worship.
Jon Burlingame, a historian of film composition, dubbed Mr. Morricone’s Oscar-nominated score because that “The Mission” (1986), a drama about 18th-century Jesuit missionaries in southern America and also the occurring conflict, “an unmitigated masterpiece” for its smooth blend the indigenous and European liturgical music.
Mr. Morricone stated his job was to evoke the “soul” that a movie by interweaving the director’s scan vision and also the driving pressures of the central characters.
In De Palma’s “Casualties that War” (1989), Mr. Morricone said, the horrific killing of a Vietnamese girl by U.S. Army soldiers felt come him choose “a small bird shoot in flight, fluttering and finally crashing to the ground.” He supplied pan pipes come express the girl’s innocence and her sorrowful fate.
Mr. Morricone forged his most essential working connection with manager Leone, the visionary behind the most influential “spaghetti westerns” ever made: “A Fistful that Dollars” (1964), “For a couple of Dollars More” (1965), “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966) and also “Once top top a Time in the West” (1968).
The very first three films, which make a star of the little-known TV actor Clint Eastwood together the secret unnamed antihero, lugged Mr. Morricone wide attention. His unorthodox soundtracks, menacing and mischievous, perfectly suitable the operatic violence that Leone’s pacing.
“You might be over-the-top with Leone due to the fact that his films were over-the-top,” Mr. Morricone called the Australian newspaper in 2011.
The “ah-ee-ah-ee-ah” design template of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” which ended up being one the the most recognizable sound in movie history, recorded the film’s sting and the fierce solitude of Eastwood’s male With No Name. The ghostly and intense harmonica wail that infused “Once ~ above a Time in the West,” starring Charles Bronson together an enigmatic gunman, is powerfully attached to the character’s past.
The scores were a startling rest from timeless Hollywood westerns, which had offered grand and heroic evocations that the frontier or robust-voiced popular music singers such together Frankie Laine rendering the location tunes.
Leone dispensed with most of the genre’s trappings come emphasize the brutality of the American West, with characters who are rapid to love, rapid to hate, fast to laugh and also quick come die.
“The music wasn’t just eerie, it to be grotesque and also ironic,” Mr. Morricone told etc Player newspaper in 1997. “There are elements of irony, taunting and meanness in those movie characters — a bit harsh, but likewise comical, even picaresque. Thus I didn’t take right into account the sort of westerns the were being made in America at the time. I wanted to do my personal kind of music and a music that belonged come Leone’s movies.”
The Leone-Morricone westerns were originally dismissed together drive-in fare. They prospered in imaginative stature since of a dedicated following that consisted of such significant directors together Martin Scorsese and also Tarantino.
Tarantino repurposed some of Mr. Morricone’s older tracks because that the “Kill Bill” franchise the the early 2000s and “Inglourious Basterds” (2009). For Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” (2012), Mr. Morricone detailed an initial song, “Ancora Qui.”
Westerns comprised a small section of Mr. Morricone’s calculation — around 8 percent, he said — and he to be dismayed that many English-speaking audiences figured out him so carefully with the genre.
Besides “The Mission,” Mr. Morricone received Oscar nominations because that director Terrence Malick’s “Days the Heaven” (1978), v a score the referenced the romantic style of French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, and “The Untouchables” (1987), through its pulsing rhythm expected to conjure what he called De Palma’s “dramatically comic” take on criminal Al Capone.
Mr. Morricone additionally was nominated for director Barry Levinson’s gangster film “Bugsy” (1991) and also for Tornatore’s “Malèna” (2000), a coming-of-age story.
The website Alt Film overview once listed that Mr. Morricone “has been commonly the lone savior of poor films make bearable — at times also memorable — merely due to the fact that of his compositions.”
They consisted of such projects as “Exorcist II” (1977), De Palma’s “Mission to Mars” (2000) and also director Adrian Lyne’s 1997 work again, please again of “Lolita,” based on Vladimir Nabokov’s mordantly witty novel about an older man’s obsessive quest of a 12-year-old girl. The latter film earned blended reviews, but Mr. Morricone’s score — plaintive, haunting and also subtle — to be lauded through movie and music critics alike.
Mr. Morricone often used the instance of his work-related with Lyne to highlight the creative chemistry and tension involved in crafting a score.
“He pertained to Rome to listen to the themes the I had written,” Mr. Morricone called the composer and author Andrew Ford. “He told me, ‘They space beautiful, these themes. However they are not immortal.’ ns replied, ‘For lock to be immortal, you have to wait a couple of years. It takes a bit of time. You can’t say this particular day if other is immortal.’ however I composed the theme again. It ended up being immortal and we placed it in the film.”
Ennio Morricone to be born in Rome on Nov. 10, 1928. His father was a nightclub trumpeter, but his vulnerable health led the younger Morricone, who showed early promise ~ above the instrument, come substitute for him frequently.
He studied music composition in ~ the national Academy of St. Cecilia, a venerable conservatory, however classical music did no pay the bills. And also his broadening family, ~ his 1956 marriage to Maria Travia, led him come focus more on arranging because that Italian TV, radio, record companies and film. He acquired a call for perfect meticulous occupational — from pop to irradiate opera — in ~ a quick clip.
Not everyone was impressed. Once he started to work-related with Leone in the at an early stage 1960s, the director dismissed Mr. Morricone’s previously movie scores as derivative — watered-down Hollywood fare. He to be far more impressed through a 1962 pop setup of “Pastures of Plenty,” a Woody Guthrie tune to which Mr. Morricone had added bells, whip sounds and also a compelling electric guitar line.
It to be this sound — filled with mysterious approximately noise — the dazzled the filmmaker. ~ their run of westerns, Mr. Morricone and also Leone rejoined on the gangster saga “Once ~ above a Time in America” (1984).
Over the decades, Mr. Morricone developed music for filmmakers the radically different styles. Among his many unnerving scores to be for manager Elio Petri’s Oscar-winning “Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion” (1970), around an Italian police inspector who murders his mistress and then investigates the crime. Mr. Morricone provided a Jew’s harp and a synthesizer to produce “a kind of music the the grotesque.”
His various other credits consisted of Dario Argento’s “The Bird with the crystal Plumage” (1970), Bernardo Bertolucci’s “1900” (1976), Pedro Almodóvar’s “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” (1989), Oliver Stone’s “U Turn” (1997) and also Warren Beatty’s “Bulworth” (1998).
Starting in the 1980s, Mr. Morricone returned an ext regularly come classical and choral functions for the concert room while preserving his prolific movie career.
Once asked just how he maintained up such a hectic pace, the quipped the “compared v the output of Bach, that composed a cantata a week, i am practically unemployed.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version the this story incorrectly reported the armed forces branch the the company members in “Casualties the War.” They were in the Army, not the marine Corps. The story has been revised.
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