Film scores

Soundtrack review: Pollyana (Christopher Gunning – 2014)

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I love this score…it is an instant classic for me

“Pollyana” is a very well-known children’s story with countless adaptations and versions. I was unfamiliar with it before reading the liner notes of the Christopher Gunning score. It is the usual story about an orphan girl sent to live with a strict aunt but the catch here is the so called “Glad game”. I have quite a few Christopher Gunning scores in my collection so I was curious about this one.

The composer came into this project without previous knowledge of the character or story so his approach was a fresh one. It’s amusing that he had no previous connection with the story but his own daughter is named Pollyanna. He was clearly the man for the job because now even I feel like I know the character very well. It’s all in the main theme: the joy, the innocence and the playfulness of Pollyana. I can’t get enough of that theme which sounds magic and makes me want to be a happy child again. The more I listen to this score (that flute… that piano… the playful dialogue between instruments on some cues) the more I’m starting to wish my future daughter would be as happy and optimistic as Pollyana. I can almost see her playing around me. The music puts me in a great and happy mood and even the more serious moments feel like a child’s sorrow which will pass as suddenly as it came about.

I don’t even realize that the cues are very short. Usually this bothers me but not in “Pollyana”. The flow of the score is great and it doesn’t feel interrupted. I think one of the reasons I love this score so much is that it sounds exactly as I would imagine a story like this. “Pollyana” calls me out to play with her, makes me care for her and it makes me smile while listening to it and imagining that little girl running and playing in the yard. It makes me want to tuck her in at night and tell her a story and this score also makes me want to protect her innocence and dreams for as long as I can. Yes, I love this score… it is an instant classic for me and it might make me read the story to my little girl…

Cue rating: 91 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 17 / 24

Album excellence: 64%

Highlights:

Opening Titles

The New Car

Nocturne

Pollyanna has a Dog

Aunt Polly Softens

Preparing for the Wedding

Pray that She May Walk Again

Doctor Chilton to the Rescue

Treatment for Pollyana

Pollyanna’s Father

The New Room

She Said Yes

Pendleton Visits Aunt Polly

Pollyanna’s Beautiful Game

Closing Title

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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