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Movie Mom

Enough Already with ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’

posted by Nell Minow

Indiewire has a very funny piece about the popularity — the near-ubiquity — of Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” in movies and trailers.  Before I go any further, let’s listen to it and see if it brings back any memories.

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Wikipedia has an extensive list of “Mountain King” in film and television and trailers.

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  • “In the Hall of the Mountain King” was famously used in the 1931 film “M,” in which Peter Lorre’s character whistles it.[32][33][34] As of February 2008, it may be viewed and heard on YouTube.[35]
  • In the ‘boat race’ scene of “The Social Network” (2010), a Trent Reznor remix is used when the Winklevoss brothers compete before discovering that Facebook reaches both Europe and video live streaming.
  • The song also was used in the opening promo for WWE’s Vengeance 2001
  • The song also appears during the teaser trailer of Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Beetlejuice,” “Funny Games, Bride Wars,” “Rat Race,” “Friday After Next” and “Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian.”
  • The song is the theme music for Dr. Ivo Robotnik in the animated series, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • The semi-fictional characters Tristan Farnon and James Herriot in the BBC televised series “All Creatures Great and Small” perform the piece drunkenly with their dates at a pub.
  • It is also played over the end credits of the Woody Allen film “Scoop.”
  • A young boy is seen playing “In the Hall of The Mountain King” as a piano practice piece in an episode of Mad Men entitled “The Mountain King”.
  • In the final episode of Beavis and Butthead, “In the Hall of the Mountain King” is being played when Principal McVicker has flashbacks to their antics.
  • In the Courage the Cowardly Dog episode, entitled “Farmer-Hunter, Farmer Hunted”, the song can be heard several times.
  • “In the Hall of the Mountain King” is also featured in the intro of the television series “The Dudesons.”
  • The vampires in “The Lost Boys: The Tribe” whistle the tune to this song.
  • Lamberto Bava’s 1985 horror film “Dèmoni” (aka Demons) includes a title theme by Claudio Simonetti that incorporates the melody of “In the Hall of the Mountain King”.
  • Fragments of the piece are heard in the BBC Oscar-winning documentary “Man on Wire” in a re-enactment where Philippe Petit and an accomplice herd the infamous tightrope wire up the stairs, past a guard on duty. Though not played in full, the song is listed in the film’s musical credits.
  • It was used as the three brothers theme on the “Garfield and Friends” spin-off “Orson’s Farm.”
  • It is played when the antiestablishment Mozzie enters the FBI offices in USA Network’s “White Collar” (season 2, episode 4, 2010). song of the French author Bernard Werber’s short film “La Reine de Nacre.”
  • It served as a basis for the theme of the Inspector Gadget animated series.[36]
  • A version of the song is used during a scene featuring a game of charades in a 2010 episode (“Chuck Versus the Leftovers”) of “Chuck.” Scenes immediately following this one then work cues of In the Hall of the Mountain King into the show’s original score.
  • It is used in the movie trailer of “Dinner for Schmucks.”
  • This song is the main theme of Microsoft’s commercial for its Windows Phone 7: Really.
  • It the sixth episode of 2nd season of “Misfits” (TV series) .
  • It was used in “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters” during a graphing of Steve Wiebe’s world record attempt.
  • It was also played in the opening scenes of the Norwegian movie “Død Snø (Dead Snow).”
  • In “Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers,” Pete’s song “Petey’s King of France” is sung to the tune of this song.

 

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Two more over-used tunes:

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(A lot of sports movies including “The Sandlot,” “The Mighty Ducks,” “The Replacements,” “The Longest Yard,” “Ice Princess” and many more)

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(Also mentioned by Indiewire and used for a lot of battle scenes, series and comic, in everything from “Excalibur” and “Detroit Rock City,” to “Glee,” “Wrestlemania” and “Jackass”)

Any other candidates?

 

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kevin L.

    Rick Wakeman, keyboardist for the rock group Yes, reworked “Hall of the Mountain King” for his solo “Journey to the Center of the Earth” album.

    Holst’s “Mars: The Bringer of War” (from “The Planets”) is a trailer favorite – I recall it giving “Greystoke” The Legend of Tarzan” a completely different tone than than the actual movie.

    • Nell Minow

      Great comment, Kevin L.! Those are terrific examples. Many thanks.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jestrfyl

    Makes a person wonder why with all the music being composed and performed these days the film folks continue to return to the Classics. Add to this one The Ride of the Valkyries, 1812 Overture, Hallelujah Chorus, Carmina Burana, and a very few others. Some showtunes like Over the Rainbow (especially the version by the Hawaiian singer Iz) and Singing in the Rain are part of this cultural repertoire.

    What is it about these pieces of music that makes them so evocative and powerful?Is it a cultural association or do these pieces have within them a primordial appeal that draws from us emotions and sensations as no other compositions could? If naught else, it is clear that these pieces ought to be part of every students education plan, simply as key aspects of our culture. Music education IS worth the time and money.

    The only modern pieces I know that have quite a bit of airplay in a variety of contexts are Lenoard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and the chorus from that song by Train.

    • Nell Minow

      Excellent comment, jestrfyl. “Minor Swing” by Django Reinhardt is also popular.

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