Ever since Kill Bill Vol. 1, you can’t watch a Quentin Tarantino film without hearing the work of Ennio Morricone, the legendary Italian composer whose The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly score landed on SPIN’s 40 Movie Soundtracks That Changed Alternative Music. The soundtrack from Inglourious Basterds, for example, featured selections from eight different Morricone film scores. It’s no surprise, then, that Tarantino was eager to work with the Italian composer for Django Unchained, his antebellum revenge-Western inspired by the Ennio-scored films of Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci. Django did feature a handful of Morricone tracks, but none were composed specifically for the film. What happened there?
Apparently, while Tarantino holds the Italian maestro in high regard, the feeling is not mutual. “I wouldn’t like to work with him again, on anything,” Morricone said in a discussion with college students in Rome (via The Playlist). “[Tarantino] said last year he wanted to work with me again ever since Inglourious Basterds, but I told him I couldn’t, because he didn’t give me enough time. So he just used a song I had written previously.” Morricone added that the director “places music in his films without coherence.”
Tarantino has an incredible ear for music; he re-contextualized Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck In the Middle With You” in Reservoir Dogs, resurrected Shuggie Otis’ “Strawberry Letter 23” for Jackie Brown, and placed the spotlight on Urge Overkill in Pulp Fiction. Recently, however, his overly postmodern, anachronistic use of music has been less revered — his use of David Bowie’s “Cat People” in the WW2-based Basterds and Rick Ross’ gruff “100 Black Coffins” during Django‘s big shoot-out come to mind.
So, what did Morricone think of Django Unchained in the end? “I didn’t care for it,” he says.