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Iconic Score or Iconic Imagery?


One of my film theory professors once told me, "an audience would relate better to a blank screen with sound than to a film with no sound."

Look at the image above. Is it in any way evocative?

It is. The soaring skyscrapers have a softspoken majesty. The high contrast sawtooth of buildings so densely packed defines the city: New York. The image suggests bustling life hidden behind all of the glass and concrete. It's a beautiful and meaningful shot.

But something is missing.

Well-versed film buffs will recognize this as the opening shot from Woody Allen's 1979 masterpiece Manhattan. The wry humour and brilliant cinematography qualify this as one of my all-time favourite scenes in film. Both are top-notch, and by themselves would make a scene like this a positive addition to almost any film. The real strength of the scene, however, is the synthesis between the editing and the score, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. The relationship between the music and the visuals is what raises this scene from being quality Woody Allen to being an iconic scene.


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