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Flix@5 Host Kevin Gordon Talks About His 5 Favorite Works for Book-to-Film Week!

WRTI's Kevin Gordon and Susan Lewis talking about movies on a recent Zoom call

Summer is a great time to read, watch movies, and listen to great soundtracks. WRTI Flix@5 Host Kevin Gordon talks with Susan Lewis about the movie music he's featuring during our special Book-to-Film week, July 6th through the 10th. Join us each day after the 5:00 news for Flix@5!

Books have inspired classic films that use music to enrich and tell their stories. July 6th through 10th, we're playing music from film adaptations of five great books, from great American novels to a cutting-edge comic book series. 

Monday, July 6, 2020: Elmer Bernstein: To Kill a Mockingbird Suite

To Kill a Mockingbird, written in 1960 by Harper Lee, won the Pultizer Prize and is now a classic. The story about the trial of a Black man wrongly accused of rape in a small Alabama town is told through the eyes of a 10 year old girl whose father is defense lawyer Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck in the film.

The music by composer Elmer Bernstein expresses the innocence of the narrator, as well as a small town sensibility. Listen for the influence of Bernstein's mentor, Aaron Copland.

Tuesday: John Wlliams' Flight to Neverland, from Hook (1991)

The movie Hook by Steven Spielberg imagines a sequel to the story which began with the 1911 novel Peter and Wendy, by J.M. Barrie.

In Hook, Peter, played by Robin Williams, has grown up, married Wendy's granddaughter, and forgotten his childhood as Peter Pan. When the family travels to London to visit Wendy in the house where the story began, his children are kidnapped by Captain Hook to lure Peter back to Neverland. 

The music by John Williams sweeps us into the story of magic, joy and danger, and makes us feel as if we might even be able to fly -- if we have enough happy thoughts!

Wednesday: Alexander Desplat: Griet's Theme, from Girl with a Pearl Earring

The 1991 novel by Tracey Chevalier, based on 1665 painting by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, turned into the 2003 film has some special resonance for Kevin, who is also a painter as well as a WRTI classical host.

"I always felt that painting and music and theater and literature and poetry are just facets of the same gem. And that's why it's easy for me to slip from music into art."

Composer Alexander Desplat, with a Greek mother and French father, was raised in Paris and became a fan of American films in his teens. The Girl with a Pearl Earring, one of his early English language films, was followed by work creating music for dozens of films, including The Queen (2006), The Grand Budapest Hotel,(2014) and The Shape of Water (2017), for which he won Academy Awards.

Thursday: John Williams: Adventures of Tintin, from the film of the same name.

Kevin says the popular comic book series by Belgian cartoonist Herge, Adventures of Tintin, has a special place in his life: "The original graphic novels-- the entire series -- I read to my son when he was small, beginning to end. And I would do all of the characters' voices.  I think that's what drove him, in a way, to become an actor, which he is today."

Friday: Harold Arlen: Wizard of Oz

A classic way to end our week, celebrating music, movies and the books they came from!

The Wizard of Oz, written in 1939 by L. Frank Baum and the 1939 film, have become classics.

The music was a collaborative effort: The songs were written by Edgar "Yip" Harburg (lyrics) and Harold Arlen (music). The musical score and the incidental music were composed by Herbert Stothart.

The songs have become part our collective consciousness; one of the most famous -- "Over the Rainbow" -- has taken on a life of its own, with covers by multiple artists.

In 2001, a survey of The National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America proclaimed it the 20th century's greatest song.

Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and contributes weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.
A veteran broadcaster, Kevin garnered a wealth of experience in radio before taking the weekday classical host position from 2 to 6 PM at WRTI, where he was on the air until his retirement in March 2023.