Music Composed By: Theodore Shapiro

Songs By: Various Artists

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In 1947, successful screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) and several other Hollywood figures found their careers come to a crashing halt.  The cause - the United States government, blacklisting these individuals for alleged communist or subversive acts.  Trumbo is the story of how Trumbo fought back against the government and studio bosses.

            The musical score of Trumbo was created by American composer Theodore Shapiro.  While earning his Bachelor of Arts in music at Brown University, Theodore Shapiro wrote a musical about a cryogenically frozen head and played in a neo-disco band named God.  He then attended Julliard where he earned a Master's Degree in composition.  Shortly after, Shapiro began composing music for both films and concert halls.  He is best known for the musical scores he created for Tropic Thunder, Marley and Me, The Devil Wears Prada, St. Vincent and more.

            For the musical score of Trumbo, "I wanted the score to refer to the musical language of the period while having a modern sensibility.  I wanted to avoid writing a period score that would make the film feel purely historical, and therefore cut off from feeling contemporary and immediate.  I didnít want it to be overly polite.  So without having a cut of the movie to work with, I sat down and wrote a suite of music based on what I hoped would work."  The resulting score is jazz at its finest with piano, sax and light percussion.  Shapiro also added a little electronically manipulated cello. 

            The score serves to represent the era that the movie takes place in and subtle variations in speed, tone and volume describe the moods and emotions of the main characters in the film.  In addition to Shapiro's jazz score, two jazz songs were added.  Willie the Cool Cat by Big Jay McNeely is a great track for jazz fans that gets the toes tapping and fingers snapping.  Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do by Billie Holiday is a perfect addition, the lyrics basically spelling out the feelings of the various artists blacklisted by the government.

            Even if you want nothing to do with the film, if you are a jazz fan, buying the Trumbo Soundtrack is a must.  There is some great jazz sound here that you will be missing out on if you don't.  I know I certainly enjoyed myself listening to this soundtrack.


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