Fort Worth — Wonderful to relive a comedy classic that still holds up 35 years later. Even better to experience a live symphony accompanying the silver screen. Both delights brought spooky laughs to Bass performance Hall on Friday night for Ghostbusters Film with Live Orchestra.
The blockbuster hit starring and written by Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis featured Rick Moranis, Sigourney Weaver, and the nothing if not comically consistent Bill Murray. Though those stars and their one-liners still shone it was the cinematic music that took center stage. Above the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra hung a large screen which played, complete with subtitles, the movie just as remembered — minus the score written by Elmer Bernstein. His son Peter Bernstein, who orchestrated the film, conducted his dad’s music in time with the film overhead.
The effect was part film scoring session and part movie-going plus. When an orchestra is recorded for a film, the musicians assemble in a studio with a large film screen and are directed in sync to the footage needing musical support. That simulated session in Bass Hall merged with that of a movie theater with all the darkened auditoriums and whispering strangers. Watch a scene with the music taken out and its blood is washed away. So integral to the art of cinema is its life-giving sound. To see and hear live music played as the moving images play by is to realize a score’s true impact. A fair trade off for no popcorn.
Coloristic effects like a dissonant violin shwink and a clumsy double bass glump added just the right subtle emotion to the eerie apparitions and Murray’s smirks. Spacey synthesizers and brass commentary highlighted Bernstein the elder’s highly successful touch in this and other comedies like Animal House and The Three Amigos not to mention his other scores for classics like The Ten Commandments, The Great Escape, and Cape Fear.
A festive attitude one weekend away from Halloween brought some in ghostbusting costume and everyone ready to enjoy a zany flick in a unique way. The rudeness rating is a gentle PG aside from a few politically incorrect moments. Those indelicacies and rudimentary special effects show how far we’ve come. Advice to those choosing to bust ghosts on Saturday or Sunday: don’t cross the streams unless, of course, Gozer the Destroyer takes the form of the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man.