Analyzing the Themes in the Films a New Life, To Kill a Mockingbird, on the Waterfront and Cinema Paradise

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In the film “A New Life”, we can notice that the plot circles around a depressing theme: divorce. However, the movie portrays this dark and macabre subject with comical dialogue, scenery, and music. The scores in this movie emphasize the fact that this movie was made as a comedy disguised by the serious themes of divorce and desperation. I can recall from lecture that there was music intended to be in a scene; however, it was removed last second. We can note the scene was really highlighted and effective due to the fact that there was little music. The ability to understand where to and to not put music really made this film enjoyable to watch. Although the film circles around the idea of divorce and the concept of self worth, the musical themes in this film almost make the film more comical than one would think.

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Out of all the films that we viewed, the music that had the biggest effect on me was “To Kill a Mockingbird”. The film revolves around the idea of childhood innocence and the scores in the film exaggerate this fact. The solo piano later accompanied by strings and various other instruments composed by Elmer Bernstein really make us feel the theme of this movie is innocence. This score, like many other original scores in this film, are extremely emotional and one can feel attached to the film by solely watching the opening credits with the film’s main theme. These scores in the film paint the child-like image by utilizing soft, yet powerful, instruments such as the strings, various horns, and piano for the solo facets in the scores.

It does not take much time to notice that New Jersey’s own “On The Waterfront” is a rather dark film. We can classify this film as a Noiresque due to the film’s dark images and music. “On The Waterfront”, with music composed by Leonard Bernstein, can be classified as a noir film due to the fact that music is very bleak which coincides with the theme of the corruption of power. We can notice at this point that the music is written to reflect the theme. We can also notice the use of brass in this film gives us the feeling that the tone is dark. This film definitely possesses a bit of the Jazz-like music that really make the viewer feel like that he/she is watching a noir film. “On The Waterfront” is a perfect example of a 1950s dark noir film; moreover, it is imperative to note that the numerous scores in this film helped to elucidate the dark and gloomy sentiment.

“Cinema Paradiso” is a difficult film to analyze due to its complexity in themes. One of the more prominent scores throughout the movie is “Toto’s theme”. When Toto revisits his old room in Giancaldo, his theme plays which makes the viewer feels as if the he/she is reflecting on the entire movie, which I imagine is the theme’s purpose. It makes sense that a movie that is in a flashback scene to have a nostalgic type of theme for the protagonist. This theme also plays when Toto initially begins to flashback to his childhood; therefore, we should note the importance of this theme because it sets the tone for the entire movie. We also should note that Ennio Morricone has written very peaceful scores for the themes for this film and the plot of the story is enriched by these beautiful orchestrated pieces. As I mentioned before in another essay, I stated that I prefer films that have a lot of emotion. This film story itself is very emotional; moreover, the scores integrated into this fantastic work of cinema completely enhances the viewer’s entertainment.

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