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VCL 1105 1042

Artwork copyright (c) 2005 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; review copyright (c) 2005 James Southall



Lovely, lighthearted score


The wonderful James L. Brooks followed up his massive, Oscar-winning success Terms of Endearment with this satirical take on news reporting, Broadcast News, which seems just as relevant today as it did when it was made in 1987, lamenting as it does the loss of real news reporting to the fluffy, inane, non-reporting which passes for news programming today.  (When I think about tv news nowadays, I can't help but recall the Monty Python sketch at the Marcel Proust competition, where the judge declared "You're all crap, so I'm going to give the prize to the girl with the biggest tits!"  Is this how interviews for news presenters are conducted these days?)  With an excellent case, led by William Hurt, Albert Brooks and Holly Hunter, the film was quite a success.

These days, Brooks has developed a relationship with composer Hans Zimmer, enticing the composer to write some wonderfully lighthearted scores, but on the last film before that relationship began, the director turned to Bill Conti, one of the most prolific and popular composer of the 1980s.  Conti is the only major living film composer whose work is so barely represented on CD, but 2005 has seen a concerted effort to begin to put that right, with Broadcast News included in the second successive batch of Varese Sarabande CD Club releases to include a Conti score.  Conti is a talented composer, capable of writing full-bodied orchestral scores as well as anyone, and so it's quite heartening to see his past works finally begin to see the light of day on CD.

In some ways, Broadcast News is similar to the scores that Zimmer would go on to write for Brooks later on.  Dominated by very light orchestration, heavily featuring the piano, it is an easy-going, charming, frequently delightful effort.  Several cues feature pop beats which are firmly rooted in 1987 and these do make things a little too cheesy, but fortunately there is plenty of music without the beats.  Anchored around a couple of strong main themes, it is very hard to dislike.  Along with the piano, there are frequent solos for flute and guitar; the dramatic score is rather simple, and all the better for it.  As the score progresses, there are a few more emotional passages, though the orchestration still never becomes too heavy, ensuring that this is a consistently pleasant listening experience throughout.  There are also a few lovely source pieces ("Italian Embassy", "Dinner Dance") which are just as lovely and relaxing; and even a couple of news themes built in!  (Conti had written countless news themes in real life before doing this film, so he should have been quite well-at-ease writing them.)  

Reportedly the scoring sessions for the movie went on and on and on and Conti was forced to continually write and rewrite his music, with eventually Michael Gore being drafted in to pen some additional music for some sections; similar in style to Conti's (naturally enough), Gore's small contribution is actually pretty attractive enough, with his theme in "Jefferson Memorial" being a real delight.  This album features many of the alternate takes that Conti recorded.  It also features some wonderfully incisive and witty liner notes by Julie Kirgo (which include an interview with Conti and even a brief one with Marc Shaiman, who played piano on one of the news jingles) and, while it's hardly one of Conti's most substantial efforts, it's still a charming and lovely little score. 


  1. Young Tom (1:44)
  2. Young Jane / Main Title (2:13)
  3. Tom and Jane (1:36)
  4. Phone Call (1:22)
  5. First Day (:46)
  6. Blair's Run (1:33)
  7. Old News Theme (:40)
  8. Tom's Rise (1:41)
  9. The Special Report (1:53)
  10. Piano One (1:55)
  11. Bonding (1:05)
  12. Post-Report Celebration (1:35)
  13. Friendship (1:00)
  14. News Theme Ballad (2:25)
  15. Italian Embassy (2:40)
  16. Potentially Bad News (1:52)
  17. Tailor Made (1:30)
  18. Correspondents Dinner (1:20)
  19. Dinner Dance (1:07)
  20. Jefferson Memorial (2:07)
  21. Dead Lead (:28)
  22. Jane Calls Tom (:38)
  23. Storm Clouds (:38)
  24. The Firings Begin (2:09)
  25. Firings (1:11)
  26. The Kiss (:44)
  27. Restaurant Farewell (1:38)
  28. The Tear Falls (1:11)
  29. Airport (2:13)
  30. Gazebo (1:44)
  31. Young Tom (alternate) (1:14)
  32. Young Tom Part 2 (alternate) (:54)
  33. First Day (alternate) (1:03)
  34. The Special Report Part 1 (alternate) (:41)
  35. Post-Report Celebration (alternate) (1:41)
  36. Friendship (alternate) (1:18)
  37. Italian Embassy (alternate) (2:39)
  38. Italian Embassy (second alternate) (2:43)
  39. Tailor Made (alternate) (1:31)
  40. Correspondents Dinner (alternate) (1:19)
  41. Correspondents Dinner (second alternate) (1:18)
  42. Jefferson Memorial (alternate) (2:02)
  43. Jane Calls Tom (alternate) (:55)
  44. Firings (alternate) (2:09)