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The Natural (1984 Film)
Genres: Folk, Pop, Soundtracks
Randy Newman's score for director Barry Levinson's 1984 adaptation of writer Bernard Malamud's baseball fable remains, like star Robert Redford's turn as the film's Roy Hobbs, somewhat mystic and decidedly larger than life... more »
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Randy Newman's score for director Barry Levinson's 1984 adaptation of writer Bernard Malamud's baseball fable remains, like star Robert Redford's turn as the film's Roy Hobbs, somewhat mystic and decidedly larger than life. Newman's music flawlessly fuses overwrought Wagnerian grandeur with the more plaintive strains of Aaron Copland, arguably forming one of the film's most crucial narrative elements in the bargain. Perhaps because it's a score with a scale so broad and bold--the antithesis of Newman-the-songwriter's often terse, internalized musical monologues--the composer himself has since expressed reservations about the potent cues he's since dubbed "heromusik." Nonetheless, The Natural remains an impressive tribute to Newman's musical professionalism, even if his masterful craftsmanship produced something he's always seemed a bit wary of: a bona fide crowd pleaser. --Jerry McCulley
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Member CD Reviews
Margaret S. from GLENVIEW, IL
Reviewed on 3/21/2007...
It's great music and no matter how many times I have listened to it, the music doesn't grow old. Good music for driving in bad traffic.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
A home run soundtrack! And I don't even like baseball.
Catherine S. Vodrey | 01/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This the most magical soundtrack I have every purchased! I personally think it is Randy Newman's best work and as far as soundtracks go I put it up there with anything by Nino Rota. The way Newman uses the strings and paces the songs one would swear he was the prodigal son of Aaron Copeland. Of course he isn't but like Copeland's operas he definitely knows how to compose music which feels Americana. You can almost see wheat fields blowing and you'll certainly want t a piece of Apple Pie after hearing the title song, "The Natural." A must for any lover of soundtracks."
By far one of the best movie soundtracks ever composed
Catherine S. Vodrey | East Liverpool, Ohio United States | 05/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Randy Newman is known to the non-cinematically-obsessed public as the sourpuss composer and gravelly-voiced singer of the tart novelty hit "Short People," but here is the work for which he should have won his well-deserved Oscar (instead of for the trifle he composed for 2001's "Monsters, Inc."). With "The Natural," which he not only composed but conducted, Newman manages the pretty neat trick of stepping into the enormous shoes left by Aaron Copland. Newman takes the perfectly American pasttime of baseball and melds it perfectly with the American penchant for youth, sunshine, nostalgia, and happy endings--all without a single instance of treacle or falsity. He sounds Coplandian here without sounding slavish. He soars on wings of his own making and utterly enriches the film "The Natural" with his music. "Prologue 1915 - 1923" opens the soundtrack and deftly sketches the career Robert Redford's Roy Hobbs character had in the minors and then briefly in the majors, limning the energetic youth of the new baseball player followed by the slower, more minor-key weariness Hobbs experiences as he seems to lose his touch. With "Knock the Cover Off the Ball," Newman somehow captures a sparkly, sunstruck afternoon out in the middle of a baseball field, the fierce concentration needed to do the deed demanded in the title, and the gathering speed of the ball itself. In "Winning," the big band, swinging tune says it all. You need brass balls to survive this ball game, son, and the music handily underscores that rule without the aid of a single lyric.Had Randy Newman never written another film score beyond 1984's "The Natural," he could easily and justly have rested on these fine laurels. We are lucky that he didn't."