After SpaceCamp, the next John Williams soundtrack we’re looking at for #Johnuary is Home Alone. We obviously looked at this film last week in John Hughes week. This is another film that I wouldn’t have necessarily have pegged as a vehicle for John Williams, but apparently he was extremely up for it. The story goes that Chris Columbus, the director, gave a pre-scoring screening for associates of Spielberg for some reason. John Wiliams attended and loved the film. The composer who had been lined up to do the score had to drop out and Williams jumped at the chance to put himself forward.
It’s certainly obvious that he put his heart into the project as it really is a fantastic soundtrack. John Hughes’ screenplay, like most of his films, had that mix of borderline slapstick comedy but with a definite heart-warming touching side. Hughes does this so well, but it is hugely aided by Williams’ score. And the fact that it is set at Christmas was also perhaps something that Williams fancied. He not only wrote the standard score, but he wrote two original Christmas songs (including the fantastic ‘Somewhere in My Memory’) and also rearranged three other traditional Christmas hymns.
The song ‘Somewhere in My Memory’ was nominated for an Oscar for ‘Best Original Song’.
The two main themes are ‘Somewhere in My Memory’ used mostly for Kevin and ‘Star of Bethlehem’ used often for the old neighbour, but also any ominous threats in general.
‘Somewhere in My Memory’ (a longer, better version is in the main title further down though).
‘Star of Bethlehem’
The main title track has a mixture of all the themes and sub themes.
I love the franticness of ‘Holiday Flight’. I think this is when the family are all rushing around getting ready for their holiday.
The whole score is very Christmassy with lots of triangles and bells jingling at various points. Williams chooses woodwind instruments to represent the burglars. Bassoons for buffoons. ‘Follow that kid’ and ‘Attack on the house’ have some good examples of this. They feel very much like a Tom and Jerry cartoon in places, which is totally appropriate.
Possibly my favourite part of the whole movie is when they are in the church and they are listening to ‘O Hoiy Night’. Obviously Williams didn’t write this but he did rearrange and conduct it. I love it. In particular, the ‘Fall on your knees’ bit.
And also ‘Carol of the Bells’. Merry merry, merry.
Here is the main soundtrack playlist.
This is just a really great soundtrack that fits the movie absolutely perfectly, blending the comedy, the heart-warming love and the Christmas season. Another incredibly solid performance by John Williams.