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Music In Film...Steven Spielberg

Updated on June 11, 2016

Welcome to the first in a series of hub articles dedicated to music in film. Each article will focus on one director, and the composers and songwriters he or she has collaborated with over the years.

"No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the rooms of our souls.” ---- Ingmar Bergman

Cinema is an all-embracing experience that synthesizes elements from various art forms. Since the days of silent film, music has played an essential role. At times taken for granted, music adds another dimension that enhances the film’s thematic ideas and artistic content. When utilized discriminately, it facilitates mood, invokes sense memories and threads the emotional context of the film. Music also advances the storyline, ties together characters and events, and serves as a signal to the audience that something is about to happen. Whether through song or orchestration, the composer creates a visual image of the culture and history of an era in the mind of the viewer.

Steven Spielberg is one of the most prolific directors, producers and screenwriters of our time. From the blockbuster adventures of Indiana Jones to the heart-rending masterpiece of Schindler's List, Spielberg’s films carry an emotional weight and classic humanism that are his trademark. The word, “jaded,” is simply not part of his cinematic vocabulary.

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

This famous line in Peter Benchley’s Jaws was improvised by Roy Scheider (Sheriff Brody) and not part of the original script. Improvisation was key in dealing with a host of unforeseen production problems, including shooting around the robot shark when it failed to function properly. Despite the mechanical great white’s reluctance to perform on cue, Spielberg intentionally kept the monster lurking in the depths until the climactic scenes at the end of the film.

Composer, John Williams, is superb at combining musical dissonance (harsh and discordant) with consonance (pleasing and harmonious). To signal the shark’s menacing approach, he utilized the ominous, alternating two-note patterns (for example, E to F, F to F sharp). We immediately identify these sounds with the image of the unseen and relentless “perfect eating machine.” These notes ultimately became as famous as Schieder’s ad-libbed line.

This two-note theme is carried throughout much of the scoring in the film. For example, if we listen closely in the following video, we hear them both anchor and punctuate some of the mounting tension and excitement in the music when Brody, Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and Quint (Robert Shaw) finally meet the shark -- up close and personal. (The man’s voice we hear on the marine radio talking to Quint is Steven Spielberg’s.):

“Einstein was probably one of them.”

Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind resonates with the playfulness, heart and wonder of the inner child we carry into adulthood. This UFO phenomenon in contemporary America focuses on that rare event when “us” finally meets “them.” The challenge Spielberg faced was in determining how humanity would communicate with the alien species once this encounter was realized. He reasoned that mathematics could be another way of conversing, and that mathematics is also music.(1) Thus, he and John Williams developed a singular “music math” and tonal vocabulary with the famous five-tone motif on which Williams based his extraordinary score: D, E, C,C lower octave, G. Each note corresponds to a specific hand gesture and color:


“Elliot, I don't think he was left here intentionally, but his being here is a miracle.”

A youthful Steven Spielberg once said, “Some people look at the ground when they walk, others walk straight ahead; I always look upward, at the sky.” The miracle and wonder in ET are not intended to convey a spiritual parable. Rather, they surround the inspiring relationship and emotional connection between a troubled young boy and a lost little alien, thereby challenging cynical adult speculations that all life forms beyond our ken are threatening. It was perhaps inevitable that despite this bond -- and an endless supply of Reese’s Pieces – the endearing extraterrestrial biologist could not survive for long on the surface of our planet. Elliot, (Henry Thomas), his siblings and friends help ET to find his way safely home. In the final, poignant scene, the importance of love and home are embraced by both ET and Elliott: “Commme.” “Staaay.”

The wonderful scoring for this film posed a different set of challenges for Williams and Spielberg:


“I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it.”

The Color Purple marked Spielberg’s first foray into serious dramatic themes and rare collaboration with a composer other than John Williams. Quincy Jones was the film’s composer, music arranger and producer. Adapted from Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, the film depicts the lives of several African American women living in Georgia from 1909 to 1949. It is a story of oppression and brutality told in a narrative style from letters written by the gentle and kind-hearted Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), the film’s central character. Unable to defend against those who have abused her for many years, Celie eventually finds courage and independence through the support and inspiration of the women in her life.

Although nominated for 11 Academy Awards, Purple was met with a certain level of criticism; for example, it was “so awash in music,” the impact was muted or overly sentimental. This writer disagrees. The music is simply brilliant…it is deeply personal, and deftly combines spiritual, classical, blues and jazz in a way that brings to life the story and images we see on screen with stunning texture and depth:

“It's Hebrew; it's from the Talmud. It says, 'Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.'”

One of the greatest films ever made, Schindler's List is regarded by many as Spielberg’s most stirring and profound achievement. This historical drama won seven Academy Awards, including Spielberg‘s first Oscar for Best Director, and Best Original Score for John Williams. Based on Thomas Keneally’s novel, Schindler’s Ark, the story centers on how the enigmatic German industrialist, Oskar Schindler (portrayed by Liam Neeson), saved the lives of over a thousand Jewish refugees during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories and securing their safety through bribes and gifts to Nazi officials.

Filmed in the black and white documentary style of that era, this harrowing film takes an unflinching look at the genocide and unimaginable cruelty inflicted by those who served as Hitler’s willing executioners.

Williams' soundtrack richly conveys the tensions and emotions in the film, and serves as a remembrance for the lives that were tragically lost, and those who survived. The most stirring is the main theme. Williams composed this beautiful and haunting masterpiece in a minor key which accentuates the soberness of the story. Like the film, it is literally impossible for this music to ever fade from relevance, or from the heart. When Williams first played this theme on a piano, Spielberg suggested that he hire virtuoso, Itzhak Perlman, to perform it on the violin as a solo for the soundtrack. (2):


“I can’t stop chasin’ you, Frank, it’s my job.”

A furtive cat and mouse game is the reverberating theme in Catch Me if You Can. A change of pace for Spielberg, Catch Me is a whimsical mix of comedy-drama inspired by the true story of Frank Abignale. (Abignale became one of the world’s foremost forgers and con artists by posing as an airline pilot, a doctor and a lawyer while still in his teens.) Passing a massive amount of forged checks, Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio), zig-zags across the globe as he tries to avoid capture by FBI bank fraud agent, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks).The story takes place in the 1960’s. Appropriately, the soundtrack is a creative combination of jazz and hit tunes from that era, and Williams’ orchestral scoring. The analogous music with the opening title sequence immediately reminds us of the entertaining and quirky, The Pink Panther:


“The greatest measure of the Nineteenth Century; passed by corruption, and aided and abetted by the purest man in America.”

Lincoln presents us with another of Spielberg’s Oscar winning historical dramas. What the viewer notices almost immediately is that music is absent from a number of scenes. This was intentional. The richness of the literate dialogue and superb acting convey the full gravity of the final phase of Lincoln’s life as he facilitates the passing of the 13th Amendment through the House of Representatives to become law, and the cessation of the civil war.

From this writer's perspective, Spielberg does not seek to deify Lincoln. Instead, he does greater honor to Lincoln’s memory and to history by portraying this truly remarkable man -- possessed of an extraordinary understanding of human nature -- in all that he was: pragmatist, consummate and indomitable politician, deep thinker and idealist, and family man. We are gifted with this fascinating paradox, which Daniel Day-Lewis personifies, brilliantly -- from his unassuming and amiable persona to his “thousand yard stare.”

John Williams’ scoring not only reflects the musical syntax of that period in American history, it treats with respect the solemnity of the full context of those times, and of Lincoln, himself. Out of corruption, tragedy and great sacrifice, there emerged an enduring triumph and grace of the human spirit.

Note: My apologies for omitting such films as Jurassic Park, Amistad and Saving Private Ryan. Several hubs would be needed, at minimum, to encompass Spielberg’s entire body of work.

The next installment in this series focuses on director, Martin Scorsese:

Reference End Notes:

(1) Encyclopedia Britannica Blog: 30 Years of Close Encounters: Spielberg, Hynek, and UFI’s ; (One-On-One Chat with Steven Spielberg; discussion notes) November 12, 2007.

(2); Shortfilms – Spielberg Discusses Making Schindler’s List; May 23, 2009.

Written content has been copyrighted, 2014, by Genna East. All rights Reserved. Said copyrights do not extend to the videos that are utilized for learning purposes.


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    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 5 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Kelly: My sincere apologies for not seeing your comment sooner. For some reason, I eve received an e-mail or comment notice from HP. I so agree about Spielberg...he is one of a kind, and his creative partnership with Williams is legendary. Thank you.

      Flourish: Hi there...good to see you. And thank you. Coming from someone who loves music as much as you, your comment truly makes my day. :-)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      I love this series, Genna. As a child of the (oh my) 1970s and 80s, I grew up on Speilberg movies and the music was an integral part of the films.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 8 months ago from California

      Very impressive article, Genna! Of course, the musical score for virtually all of Spielberg's movies are memorable and impressive, and thanks a lot for showing the notes to the aliens' theme music for "Close Encounters" - now I can play it on guitar!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 13 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      After an extended absence over the summer from the Hub, I am finally getting caught up. How embarrassed I was to see that I missed your wonderful comment for so long Please forgive me. And thank you, my friend.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 16 months ago from sunny Florida

      Speilberg's films use music so enhances the production and leaves a lasting memory with me as I walk away. This is not the case with many films...there just is a balance, a dance, that must occur for music to make the film better rather than just to 'be there.' Well done, Genna.

      Music is an essential element in my every day brings me so much joy and allows me a way to let go of whatever may be niggling at me :D


      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 22 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you, Alicia. I'm so sorry I'm late, but these holidays have been so busy. Happy New Year! :-)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      What a great hub, Genna! The article is interesting, informative and creative. I enjoyed reading it very much.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA


      Hi Pat...I know exactly what you mean about music being so important; I can't imagine a world without this gift...nor would I ever want to. It is a miracle of humanity, isn't it? I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Sending angels to you as well...


      Thank you for the visit, Anne. :-) You are spot on regarding music in film; there are times when we don't notice it, yet feel and sense it all the same. And the work that goes into composing every note and measure is extraordinary. Just the other day, I was watching "The Help," and recognized Thomas Newman's "signature" (his drifting piano notes), completely forgetting that he had composed the score until then.

    • Anne Harrison profile image

      Anne Harrison 2 years ago from Australia

      A great start to a series I look forward to reading - so glad to have discovered this hub. Music is such an important element in movies, yet often we don't appreciate how much work and creative effort it involves, from composition down to editing with scenes.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Genna What a great expose of music in Speilberg's movies...all of which I have seen. And the music is integral to each of ET the encounter with the amazing extraterrestrial vehicle was so clever and added so much to the movie.

      Music is a huge part of my life and the way it is used can enhance so many moments in such special ways which you have so well illustrated here. I will HAVE to come back to read more of the music hubs.

      Angels are once again on the way to you ps

      shared g+ tweeted pinned

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you, Peach. I have long thought that Spielberg is one of our miracles of humanity. :-)

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      steven is a clever, a genius man on earth, maybe he is the reborn Einstein

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I'm so sorry to be late in responding, but I've been away on a trip. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I'm pleased you enjoyed this article.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Really enjoyed this hub. Will have to look at some of the others in the series.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      @Suzettenaples and VocalCoach...

      Thank you for those wonderful words and thoughts. It is difficult for me to pick a favorite Spielberg film as they each convey an amazing and unique experience, although "Lincoln", " Schindler" and "ET" top the list. His collaboration with Williams is legendary, and has yielded truly mesmerizing results. I appreciate your visit, ladies. Thanks so much for your interest and support. :-)

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      If anyone has ever viewed a film before the musical score is added, it would clearly show how powerful and needed music is.

      I love this series. I believe "Shindler's List is my favorite. John Williams is right up there with the great composer's of the 20th Century. This man can score a film using his own unique style and genius.

      Another popular and amazing composer of film musical scores is John Barry. His "Somewhere in Time" theme was one of the top requests of that time period. I've performed this beautiful piece more than 1,500 times :)

      Big votes, big thanks, and there will be big shares!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      I loved this hub, Genna. Spielberg has to be one of our most imaginative of film directors. I think I have seen all they films you mention as I try never to miss a Spieberg film. ET is my all time favorite of his, followed by Shindler's List and what you say about his musical scores for his films is so true. He knows how to fit the music to the film better than anyone, I think. Again, this is a fantastic series and I have enjoyed every single one of these.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you, Suhail. You are quite right...we often don't notice the music, per se, although we are conscious of the way it enhances the story, and impacts our emotions. I appreciate your visit and comments! Good to see you.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON


      This has been an awesome article on a new area that I haven't read anything earlier about. We all concentrate on the movie's story and dialogues so much that we miss big time on musical scores. And btw, thank you very much for this piece dedicated to Steven Spielberg, the best of them all.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you, Peggy. I enjoyed writing the series, and learned quite a bit in the process. :-)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What a terrific series! Steven Spielberg does such a great job with the films in which he is involved. Some of them are simply fun like "Catch me if you can" and others resonate deeply like "Shindler's List" and are long remembered. I liked all of these movies you used in this hub as examples of his work. Pinning to my Influential People board and will also tweet.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you! I'm sorry I've been late in responding. Spielberg is one of my favorite directors (and producers), so I am especially grateful for your visit, comments, and votes. :-)

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 3 years ago from West Virginia

      Gina, this is impressive. Kudos to this article and your collection that you're working on. Brilliant idea I may add. Steven Spielberg is one-of-a-kind. We'll probably never see a mind like this again. I didn't know much about him prior, other then a few movies he directed. Gives me a whole new respect for him knowing what I know now. Voted up, useful, awesome, interested and shared.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you. I couldn't agree more...Speilberg is one a of a kind. :-)

    • profile image

      ignugent17 3 years ago

      Very talented director and I think I was able to watched some of his famous films.

      Thanks for sharing . :-)

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Nellieanna…

      Thank you for that new comment. Life’s daily activities can pass stress or burdens to us when we least expect it, or divert our attention away from what we love. I experience this on occasion as well, so I can empathize, Nellieanna.

      I plan on focusing on Hitchcock, next. He was such a prolific director and icon. I have not seen “Notorious,” but I do love older films. I do not see too many of the newer fare. “Back Window,” “Vertigo,” “Notorious,” “Psycho,” “Marnie,” “The Rope,” “The Birds,” and more….there are so many Hitchcock films to choose from.

      91 degrees. Oh my goodness…I forget that Texas is much warmer than New England. The cacophony of bird song has not yet reached us. It is so loud in the early spring mornings…like an alarm clock. I expect to hear those beloved sounds soon. Have a wonderful week! :-)

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      Thank you, Genna. I’ve missed circulating. All isn’t exactly OK or not OK, but just too many things demanding attention. There are always other claims on one, but at times they seem to fill the spaces, with or without one’s full permission, from dental work to taxes and other stuff. Some are resolving nicely now & others simply need to be sort of shelved. I need my hub-life; I need my life!

      Oh, yes, I’ve always loved John Williams’ music. His teaming with Spielberg is a natural. Each has special vision which is highlighted by the other’s work.

      I saw “Rebecca" when it came out in about 1940, when I was 8. Its dark mistiness and subtlety lingered in my memory, though in rather indefinite terms. I felt I had to see it again. I hunted for it in vain, but then one of my older grandchildren, knowing I wanted it, found it and sent me the DVD. It’s not only a classic du Maurier story but among Hitch’s early films of that special genre which is his alone.

      “Notorious” is another early Hitchcock classic, from 1946. There is such clarity in the black and white photography. The story was, perhaps, more timely then, about Nazi undercover work following WWWII, with US counter-forces against them. The cast is stellar, with Ingrid Bergman & Cary Grant on the US team and Claude Rains on the other side. The intrigue is purely Hitchcock, though.

      Of course, the music is quite important and fits in his films so well. I suppose the clips from those early movies might be difficult to round up. It will be a great article.

      Yes, spring is being quite coy. We may be bundled up one day and another - like today has been - will be 91 degrees. Actually that’s the highest temperature we’ve reached since late October, they said on tonight’s weather report, but we’ve been in the 80s many times over quite a stretch of recent months, only to have it sandwiched in between freezing days. But I love the seasons and always welcome each changing of the guard. Just as well that I live in Texas, because CHANGE is what our weather does constantly! Hope your spring is joyous, too!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Nellieanna! What a pleasure it is to see you, my friend! I was growing a little concerned when I hadn’t seen your poetry of late, and almost left a comment with your last hub, asking if all was okay.

      Thank you for those generous and thoughtful comments. Spielberg is one of my favorite filmmakers; his collaboration with Williams has been a treasure of brilliance that we have all been fortunate to share in. This hub was a delight to write…the quintessential labor of love. Like Redford, I understand the thrust of his stories, and the music that so beautifully enhances them. It is poetry.

      Hitchcock will be my next challenge…it will be difficult in putting together the music clips. I’ve read Rebecca, which he translated to film incredibly effectively.

      “Mathematics is one of the only accurate ‘languages’, as well. It says exactly what it intends and means and leaves nothing to subjective interpretation.” Precisely!

      Hugs, and I hope you are enjoying our long-awaited spring.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      Oops - STEVEN, not Stephen, Spielberg!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      I am entranced by this series. Sorry I’ve been so occupied that I’ve not followed my hub life well for a bit. When I saw the 4th chapter of this series announced, I was intrigued, but didn’t read it. Instead I’ve found and returned to the first installment so that I can built up the path they follow in sequence.

      I’m so delighted, Genna! You’ve chosen masters to highlight, and Stephen Spielberg is at the top! What a genius! I’m sure there are many more and see you’ve covered several more outstanding ones. I should also love to see you highlight Hitchcock, for another example of a director with an inspired use of music in his films. I’ve been on a slight Hitchcock craze. I have a nice little collection of some of his (not nearly all) and I love the really old ones, such as “Notorious” and “Rebecca”, but there are none I don’t like!

      Mathematics is definitely music, and vice versa. Sound is mathematical. Mathematics is one of the only accurate ‘languages’, as well. It says exactly what it intends and means and leaves nothing to subjective interpretation. This makes it perfect in the way perfection is fixed and static, which is why it is not in my personal 'wish-for' list. When other elements are added, a pursuit becomes ‘flawed’ by being alive, changeable, unpredictable and often frustrating. The difference between mathematics and other forms of communication and expression is that: life. With it comes imagination, playfulness, spontaneity, love, perceivable beauty, ecstasy. :-)

      Thank you for applying your genius to this study! Wonderful, Genna! (ALSO, the use of silence in the one about Marcel Marceau.)

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Maria…

      Thank you so much for those wonderful words of encouragement and votes. I’ve wanted to do something with music in film for a while…to write about the synergy between the various art forms. But the subject is so diverse; I didn’t know where to begin. I hope this is a worthwhile project.

      Lol about spotting Faith in the next car. On the Vineyard, they give tours of the various Edgartown and other locations where Jaws was filmed. Still. It’s hard to imagine. Hugs dear friend.

      Hi Faith…

      Lol. Thank you! I heard more stories, but I can’t repeat them. Let’s just say some of the crew had a great time during their extended stay on the island...others couldn’t wait to get home and away from the “goddam water.” :-)

      Hello Pamela…

      It’s good to see you. I do appreciate your visit and your comments. Spielberg was born to do what he does. Aren’t we lucky that he didn’t choose another career path? Thank you, Pam. :-)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

      Writing these articles is a great idea. Spielberg is such a genius as it seems he always knows just the right music to add to the story at the right moment. I love the stories you wrote about and they were new to me. This is an awesome hub.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Hi again, Genna,

      LOL, thank you for sharing such a funny story about Dreyfuss. You know all the inside good stuff!

      @ Maria, I agree that Genna, puts heart, soul and passion into everything she writes! Shhh ... I thought I spotted "my sweetest friend" at that Jaws Drive-In : )

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Genna,

      You have put heart, soul and passion into this fascinating installment of a series that is right up my alley.

      For me, a soundtrack is as vital to the pace of a film as the plot and characters.

      I agree that the movies of Steven Spielberg could almost make a series on their own merit. You did a masterful job in the selection and detailing of some of his finest...for sure.

      'Btw', I thought that was Miss Faith Reaper in the next car, when I was hiding in the back seat sneaking looks at Jaws.....

      Voted UP and UABI. Wonderful job. Love, Maria

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA


      Than you for those generous words and votes…they made my day. :-) As always, it’s good to see you.


      Hi Carter. I appreciate your comment. And I so agree about how music can often “make or break” a film.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA


      Hi there...thanks so much for that wonderful comment! :-)


      Thanks for letting me know...I am pleased that you and your family are all safe. Thanks goodness people were not seriously injured from the storm.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 3 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      An interesting and well researched hub Genna..absolutely agree that music in film makes the emotive difference and pulls us in..looking forward to future installments..cheers

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Genna East,

      This is a stellar hub! It rings with all the melodies of a hit hub. Smiles.

      Presented perfectly and demonstrating a true professional.

      I look forward to your next installment.


      Thank You!


    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks Genna. No we haven't been impacted, the storm is further north, though we may experience some rain as a result soon. Thankfully it was less devastating than expected. No deaths or injuries reported, and so far only four buildings destroyed.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 3 years ago from Great Britain

      Wow! Tremendous hub, Genna.

      I cannot imagine Jaws without the build up of dm dm , dm dm etc.,

      You've been very thorough with a number of films.

      It's one l will surely come back to read aagian.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Thank you, John. Spielberg is one of my favorite directors...he and Williams have collaborated together for decades. I appreciate your very nice comment and vote. I hope you haven't been impacted by that terrible storm in Australia we've been reading about. Stay safe, John!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wonderful and intriguing hub Genna. I appreciate the amount of time you must have spent researching this. Spielberg was a great director to start with and I can"t wait to read your next in this series. Voted up.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Cris!

      Thank you for the visit and for taking the time to read through this hub. The research really focused selecting the right videos to match against the films. I only picked the films that I’ve seen (I love Spielberg as well); with the exception of ‘Jurassic,’ ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and ‘Amistad’…there just wasn’t enough room. I am so pleased you enjoyed this installment in series; it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while now.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Dana!

      They were still writing or rewriting the Jaws script while shooting when Williams was supposed to begin scoring. There were a lot of delays. Besides the shark problems, filming on water was not all that easy…especially in those days. Spielberg thought Williams was joking at first when he played that famous 2-note thuuum thump; thummm thump on the piano for him. After 30+ years, they can probably read each other’s thoughts. :-) Thanks for that nice comment.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Nell…

      I enjoyed the work involved with putting this hub together. I thank you for that wonderful comment, Nell, and for the vote and sharing. :-)

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Oh wow! I look forward to reading the rest of the series. I commend you for the research work involved in putting this into pieces. I'm pretty sure you've hit a lot of SEO's here. :)

      What a fantastic hub and great video clips as well.

      P.S. Love Spielberg!

    • profile image

      DnWW 3 years ago

      Steven Spielberg should read this article. Excellent job, Genna! I enjoyed the stroll down memory lane beginning with Jaws, and the finish with Lincoln. That 2-note theme with Jaws was copied and parodied for decades. The collaboration between Williams and Spielberg must be on autopilot after all these years. Brilliant team.


    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      What a great and interesting hub Genna! I love Spielberg films, you just know that when you sit down to watch them they are going to be amazing, you are never disappointed, these all brought back memories, voted up and shared! nell

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hello Frank…

      Thank you. I learned some interesting aspects of Spielberg’s directoral style while researching the best videos to include with his films. He is very involved with the music arrangements; I think his collaboration with Williams over many years has made this process easier for him. He is such a prolific filmmaker; it was difficult to choose among all of them.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Dearabbysmom…

      What a nice thing to say…thank you! I am pleased you enjoyed the article…it makes the work that much more worthwhile. :-)

      Hi Phyllis…

      I love music as much as writing, and will sometimes write poetry to music. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to write original scoring, and am in awe of composers like John Williams who make this entire process look so effortless. Good to see you, and thank you for that beautiful comment votes. :-)

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Audrey…

      I love it, too. Some directors/filmmakers use it so well…for example Spielberg and Williams. Others do not, and unfortunately it interferes with the film. Often, viewers aren’t aware of the music but are conscious of it on some level; which I guess is just as well for it might interfere with focusing on the full context of the story. Thank you for that special comment.

      Hi Faith…

      Thank you! The story with Dreyfuss is the most precious. He was supposed to get into this skiff that was tied up at the dock with an outboard. Apparently, he wasn’t afraid of doing some scuba, but he panicked a bit on that smaller boat. So they had to change the scene to where he just stands at the edge of the dock, telling all of the other fellows to be careful when they started to overload their boats in the mad dash to kill the shark for the reward. :-)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      Genna bravo, You have done a Spielberg job here in choosing some of his specific works to highlight... some of the clips brought back movie memories.. and I have seen all of his movies good and bad... great hub my friend :)

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Genna, this hub is not only superb, it is Over The Top ! Although I have seen Jaws a few times, I was so tense watching the scene on the video and did not ever realize before how the music affected me. Watching the Close Encounters video kept me spellbound as I listened to the music and saw how it is definitely setting the mood of awe and wonder.

      Your detailed information on the music scores and the collaboration for the perfect music score is phenomenal. You brought so much attention to the critical importance of music to set the mood. Well done, Genna -- all votes up.

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 3 years ago from Indiana

      I wish there were a *like* button for comments here, because I would use it on Faith Reaper's. I was going to say the same thing...great idea to tie each hub to a director. Enjoyed this quite a bit, thank you!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      LOL, Genna, thank you for sharing those funny stories! I think your idea is brilliant ... the miniseries focusing on individual directors.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      Love, love love film scores--they provide so much emotional tension and release in films--and most of the time we hardly notice them really--just an excellent hub Genna!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Billy. Thank you! Some view Spielberg as overly sentimental. I don’t agree. I think that last line about Lincoln is apropos…whether from corruption or great sacrifice, there emerges the triumph and enduring grace of the human spirit…this embodies who he is as a filmmaker.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Ruby. I like older movies, and rarely if ever go to the movie theatre any more…we watch them On Demand. Lincoln is a terrific film…I highly recommend it.

      The research wasn’t time consuming…it was finding the right videos to match to the film. The discussion videos I noted at the bottom in my reference notes gave me the missing pieces on information I didn’t know; such as how Williams came up with that 5-tone motif for Close Encounters; and Spielberg’s recommendation for Williams to hire Perlman for Schindler. They were goldmines and saved me a lot of "footwork"! :-)

      Thank you for that wonderful comment, dear friend. :-)

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hello, dear Faith; thank you! I could share some funny stories about Jaws, which actually I didn’t see until later. The location shoot took place on Martha’s Vineyard, here in MA. The problems with the shark not working is an epic story all its own. They still talk about it today. :-) Richard Dreyfuss was a bit timid of the water (that’s why he never got into that small boat at the dock); and the late, great Robert Shaw had some problems working (and drinking) with him.

      I’ve wanted to do something with music in film for a long time, but the subject is so vast, I didn’t know how to begin to approach it. So I decided to do a hub miniseries focusing individual directors.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm going to love this new series. This one brought back some great memories about one of my favorite directors. Great job, Genna!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I have been here awhile and enjoyed every moment. I saw all the movies except Lincoln, now i want to see it too. I really never thought about the music being so important until now. Schindler's list and The Color purple are two of my favorite movies. Perlman's violin rendition was so beautiful. This is a remarkable hub, so much research, just wonderful!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Superb hub dear Genna! I am going to just love this series ... I can tell already. What a great idea. I have seen all of these movies, and the music is memorable indeed and truly sets the tone and mood. The first time I saw "Jaws" (telling my age now), my husband and I were just dating way back when at we saw it at a Drive-In! LOL

      You have done an exceptional job here in choosing these specific works of Spielberg to highlight. I am looking forward to Martin Scorsese next.

      I love your writing and your creativity, most excellent.

      Up and more, tweeting, pinning and sharing

      Hugs and blessings,

      Faith Reaper

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Mike… I didn’t know where to begin with Spielberg due to his many films. I included the films I’ve seen, my impressions of their themes and how the music enhanced the story. I love music and grew up in a musical family; this helped. The truly challenging part was finding the videos to correspond with each film. This took several hours. Thank you so much for that very thoughtful comment, and for your support. :-)

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 3 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Genna – What an interesting collaboration of ideas. Star studded films and the music that carried them to fame. I cannot fathom the research involved here. Just to make the selections, ‘what to leave in, what to leave out’ must have been a challenge. I wish you well with this series and look forward to many more.