Continuing on with the ReSCORE project, I thought for my second time out, I would tackle something that is (a) a little more recent, and (b) is scored by one of my heroes, Hans Zimmer. Zimmer has written a truly staggering number of film scores, and while he receives a bit of flak for reusing ideas between projects, I’ve found that when he’s presented with an interesting challenge, he invariably comes up with highly original music that adds a great deal to the film. One such challenge was the score for “Sherlock Holmes” – after writing a jangly, highly recognizable theme for the first Guy Ritchie film, and populating that score with wild fiddle playing and broken pianos, he was presented with the unenviable task of creating something new, but sort-of the same, for the second film, “Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows”.
Since gypsies play such a big role in this outing, Zimmer’s score head’s east – Eastern Europe, that is – to great effect. One of the funniest scenes in the film involves Sherlock’s dislike or horses, and the necessity to make good time (ergo, on horseback) through the countryside into Germany. While the scene itself was hilariously funny, I found that the music that came with it bothered me a little, because it was so completely out of character with the rest of the film. After a little digging, I discovered the reason – Zimmer didn’t write this particular piece of music … in fact, it was purloined whole-cloth from a 1970’s spaghetti western named “Two Mules for Sister Sara”, and scored by Ennio Morricone! No wonder it sounded out of place! Here’s the original scene:
For my version, I decided to try and stick a bit closer to the sonic landscape that Zimmer had so lovingly created for the rest of the film, so I used, for example, lines of running fourths, that give a fairly strong “gypsy” feel. Despite that, the music had to be up-beat, and carry the humour of the scene along. Toward the end, there needed to be a bit of “triumph” in the music, as despite looking somewhat ridiculous, in the end, Sherlock and his “never-say-die” little burro ended up winning out in the mountainous terrain over the supposedly faster horses. I’m fairly happy with the result – it seems to flow well with the scene, and, when taken in concert with the remainder of Zimmer’s score, doesn’t stand out like quite such a sore thumb.
Here’s my version, hope you like it! I should note, that this scene in particular had the original music mixed with the dialog very strongly, so it was a very painstaking process to try and preserve the original dialog as much as possible, while “subtracting” the original music from it (and, as sound design, vocal extraction, and foley sound replacement are not my area of expertise, it was not, unfortunately, an entirely successful process). So you will notice that there are several places where the original dialog sounds odd (somewhat “squashed” because of my attempts to remove the original music), and others where I just couldn’t rescue the dialog entirely, so some of the original score bleeds through momentarily.
Please feel free to leave comments letting me know what you think of my version! Until next time….