Queen on Film

Whilst studying Composition for Film & TV at Kingston University I had to write about
music for a film and I chose to write about Queen's music for Flash and Highlander.
As part of my research I contacted the Queen Fan Club to ask them for help. Luckily,
Brian May had some spare time and wrote back.
(Brian also published it at his website).
Sadly, Michael Kamen died in 2005 (2004?) at the age of 55. I'd like to thank Brian
for taking the time to write/send this and Jacky for asking Brian & forwarding his response.

From QFC, Mon, 9 Jun 2003. Hi Rupert! I asked Brian, and he managed
to find the time to send you the following, I hope it's useful!!

"Briefly the story is this:

The director Russell Mulcahy asked us to contribute songs for the film, and Michael Kamen
was already retained to write the "Score". Now these things are often a lot more chaotic than

you might think. There was really no provision made for coordinating the two inputs. It was only
because Michael and I developed an instant friendship that we were able to devote a lot of time,
way beyond the call of duty, to interact and bring the material into an organic whole.

Michael had originated a nice subtle, haunting figure as a signature for the Highlander
(Connor Macleod) himself. This would obviously be something to be used at key points
in the film to evoke a sympathy with the character. And of course the themes we had written
had to become motifs throughout the film for the effect to be cohesive.

So we were able, for instance, to put a lovely little reference to Michael's highlander
theme into the end sequence of Who Wants to Live Forever, and there are references
toWho Wants in his orchestral backdrops, notably during the various love scenes of
McCloud. I also went in and played 'instinctively' to make the strange 'banshee sounds
you hear when the Kurgan prepares for battle, and Michael & I improvised
together to make parts of the Battle music itself.

The director was mostly too busy worrying about editing, and budgets and the like
to keep a very close watch on how we were developing - I like to think there was a
lot of trust there!!! But he was very happy with the results I know - since we all
spent many hours doing the final mixes into the film.

As a postscript, Michael and I were pretty disappointed that we were not asked to do
the sequels. I know the decision was influenced by other considerations than the purely
artistic. The sequels did less well than the original film, and many people have said that
part of the reason the 'magic' got dispersed somewhat was the fact that
the music no longer had its original soul. Cheers Brian"

Love jacky xx

Jacky Smith; Official International Queen Fan Club, The Old Bakehouse,
16A Barnes High St, London SW13 9LW, Ph: 020 8392 2800, qfc@dircon.co.uk, queenworld.com.

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