Music in Action Film is the first volume to address the central role of music and sound in action film—arguably the most dominant form of commercial cinema today.
Bringing together 15 essays by established and emerging scholars, the book encompasses both Hollywood blockbusters and international films, from classic works such as The Seven Samurai to contemporary superhero franchises. The contributors consider action both as genre and as a mode of cinematic expression, in chapters on evolving musical conventions; politics, representation, and identity; musical affect and agency; the functional role of music and sound design in action film; and production technologies.
Breaking new critical ground yet highly accessible, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of music and film studies.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
List of Contributors
Preface: Sounds Like Action!
James Buhler and Mark Durrand
Part I: Action Scored: Politics, Representation, and Identity
Favela Chic in Action
Soundtracking Urban Violence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
"You’re Not Gonna Get Mushy on Me, Are You?"
Music and the New Man in 1990s Hollywood Action Film
"I Am No Lady When I Fight!"
Gender Politics in the Postwar Swashbuckler Score
Reviving the Swordplay Action Film
Nature, Technology, and the Soundtrack for Seven Samurai
Brooke McCorkle Okazaki
Conan the Neoliberal?
The Sounds of Hypermasculine Entrepreneurship
in Early Reaganite Film
Part II: Action Scores: Evolving Musical Conventions
Underscoring Chased Heroes and Robbing Villains
Music of Immediacy in New Hollywood Action Thrillers
of the late 1960s and 1970s
John Williams’s Action Music in the Twenty-First Century
"There and Back Again"
Music and Generic Transformation in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Films
Stephen C. Meyer
Star Trek as Action Film
Reimagining The Original Series’ Soundscape
A Tale of Two Cinemas:
Zashchitniki (Guardians, 2017) and
Music for the New Russian Superhero Film
Part III: Scoring Action: The Kinesthetic Experience and Production
"Those Who Dance"
Popular Music, Audiovisual Editing, and Meaning across
the Guardians of the Galaxy Franchise
Toward a Musical Understanding of Cinematic Action:
Two Experiments with Embodiment and Musical Vitality
in Film Experience
Sound-Induced Visual Illusion in Film
"Humming the Foley, Singing the Sound"
Designing Sound with a Musical Perspective
Vanessa Theme Ament
Music, Digital Audio, Labor:
Notes on Audio and Music Production
for the Contemporary Action Film
James Buhler is Professor of Music Theory at the University of Texas, Austin.
Mark Durrand is Senior Lecturer in Musicology at the University of Akron.