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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 10.18.17] book scifi music dystopic



The legacy of Eurythmics' embattled 1984 score, and the nasty public conflict that erupted over it at the time, has been well documented, so suffice it to say director Michael Radford famously hated it, calling it "crass rubbish" and even released a version of the film that excised it in favour of a more traditional score composed by Dominic Muldowney.

And Radford was wasn't alone. The film's producer, Simon Perry, was also publicly critical at the time, calling the band's New Wave sound "ruinous to the film's purposes and absurdly inappropriate".

Wow. The score must be pretty bad, right?


I recently screened a this French, region free blu-ray of 1984 that retains Eurythmics’ score and I was immediately taken by the band's hypnotic, dreamy, sometimes experimental approach to the music.

I also couldn't disagree more that the score is "ruinous to the film's purpose". I feel quite the opposite, in fact. Some of the cuts are downright oppressive, hissing with industrial sounds evocative of the film's dire dystopian nightmare. And when juxtaposed with the score's gentler meanderings - meant to represent Winston's internal yearning for a time of freedom - the themes of the film shine in my opinion.


For your listening pleasure, the isolated Eurythmics' score for 1984 can be streamed below. To these ears it's gorgeous and grotesque in equal measures and one of the more nuanced synth score of the era.





As for Eurythmics, they emerged from the 1984 conflict fairly undeterred, though the resulting LP 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother) faced some ironic challenges. While it rose in the charts in Europe, it struggled stateside due to many radio stations refusing to play the punchy, politically charged single, Sexcrime, due to, one assumes, the provocative title. Thought police, indeed.







In an interview at the time, David A. Stewart laughed the whole 1984 debacle off saying, “At least the 1984 experience has taught us a few basic things about the movie business; for a start, it makes the music business look like Sunday school in comparison.”

Amen, David.


Recommended Release: 1984





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LurkerKurt (4 weeks ago) Reply

I had this soundtrack as a teenager and LOVED it!!

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Kenray (2 weeks ago) Reply

OMG..."Julia" has never been off my hit list. just a wonderful, beautiful, touching piece of music, and Annie's vocal just rips through the heart like a spear...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buGo4dm5xGI

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Christopher (2 weeks ago) Reply

Amazing song.


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