Scoring "Public Enemies"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Academy Award-winning composer Elliot Goldenthal joins us to talk about writing numerous film scores, including music for the new film about John Dillinger, "Public Enemies."


Elliot Goldenthal

Comments [6]

Wayne Dixon from IN

I'm a little late seeing the movie. Did so at home. Rental. When I heard what I knew was Afro Blue I was so very pleasently surprised. During the entire movie I was trying to determine who did the original. Oscar Brown Jr, Mongo and coltrane did it during my youth.
I was really saddened when I heard the composer did not acknowledge any of them. So many of these gentlemen have never gotten the credit for the many works they have done. With
all the accolades the composer has received you'd think he'd allow Oscar Brown Jr this one.

Dec. 09 2009 11:49 PM
mary davis from chicago

Jonathan -
I couldn't agree with you more. the song haunted me - i knew i knew it! - as i watched the movie, and i realised before it was over what it waw. Like you, i waited for the credit, and was shocked that there was none. That particular song was burned into me at an early (and impressionable) age, and there's no mistaking it. Maggie Brown, time to 'lawyer up,' friend!

Aug. 18 2009 01:16 AM
Jonathan Blunk from Crompond, NY

I thought the use of Oscar Brown Jr.'s composition "Afro-Blue" in a dirge-like tempo throughout the entire score of "Public Enemies" worked marvelously, and I sat through the end credits to see how the composer would acknowledge this. He didn't. I was thrilled to hear Leonard Lopate ask about this theft, and appalled that this guy claimed it was done "unconsciously." Goldenthal hedged uncomfortably, wanting listeners to believe this was "four or five notes" in one scene of the film. This is a main theme used in its entirety throughout the film, a jazz standard. I was disappointed that the question was dropped. Even if we pretend he stole the tune "unconsciously," doesn't he have the decency to acknowledge the true source?

Jul. 18 2009 04:41 PM
Dan from Fair Lawn NJ

Expanding on a previous call, how should we feel when word misuse spreads (e.g. "begs the question" or "epicenter"): should we try to stem the epidemic, or accept it cheerfully as the way language evolves?

Jul. 15 2009 01:48 PM
D. Birnbaum

The Music and its discussion,by and large,is great.

Yet,in an interview like this, a dustbowl prison, bad as it was, should not be glibly be compared to the Auschwitz Concentration Death Camp. Trivializing these things just makes it easier to have similar horrors occur in the future.

A public figure, heard on the radio and Internet should be aware of the effect of his/her music and words as well, even a phrase said in passing.

Jul. 15 2009 12:59 PM
Kim Drury from

I absolutely love the soundtrack for Public Enemies!! Well done!!!!

Jul. 15 2009 08:55 AM

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