(Alex Ross’s article appeared in The New Yorker, 8/11; via Pam Green.)
When classical-music fans hear that a new Hollywood production has a scene set at the opera or the symphony, they reflexively prepare to cringe. Typically, such scenes give a klutzy picture of musical life and come loaded with corrosive clichés. Actors portraying violinists hold instruments in ways that would generate a toneless screech if they were actually playing. Pretend conductors flap their hands a beat or two behind the orchestra. Alleged geniuses compose N.F.L.-highlights music. Although classical listeners sometimes make a sympathetic impression—“Moonstruck” and “The Shawshank Redemption” come to mind—for the most part they present a creepy gallery of repressive parents (“Shine”), pompous gangsters (“The Untouchables”), sneering Bond villains (“Moonraker,” “The Spy Who Loved Me”), glum vampires (“Interview with the Vampire,” “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”), kinky lunatics (“A Clockwork Orange,” “The Killer Inside Me”), fastidious serial killers (“The Silence of the Lambs,” “Hannibal”), and Nazis galore (“The Boys from Brazil,” “Schindler’s List”).
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