O death, there is thy Sting
One of the great masters of the smooth movie melody passed away earlier in the week. Marvin Hamlisch, who was 68, composed the scores for such films as The Sting, Sophie’s Choice and The Way We Were.
A Chorus Line, for which he wrote the tunes, was the longest-running show on Broadway until Cats came along. Though younger than any Beatle, Hamlisch, from a New York Jewish background, was very much a composer of the pre-rock era. Like Henry Mancini, he managed to combine melodic dexterity and cocktail-hour slickness in compositions that never seemed trite.
Steven Soderbergh, a director addicted to post-war Hollywood suavity, inveigled him into writing the whizz-bang score for The Informant!, but Marvin’s high era remained the 1970s. He was one of only four people to have won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, a Grammy and a Pulitzer Prize. No wonder so many obituarists, referencing his theme tune to The Spy who Loved Me, selected “Nobody Does it Better” as a headline.