Tal #tbt: Why is Beethoven’s 7th symphony in so many movies?

Ok, this #tbt begins with a spoiler alert: if you haven’t yet seen X-Men: Apocalypse and want to, be aware that spoilers lie ahead.


I took my son to see the newest X-Men movie this past weekend. I’m not going to do a full-out review, but I do want to pinpoint a specific scene as a tie in to a previous TAL essay. In one dramatic scene, Charles Xavier (Professor X) is hijacked by the movie’s villain while he is mentally attached to Cerebro. Through Professor X, the villain connects to the consciousness of people around the world, targeting especially people with access to nuclear launch codes. He compels them to launch the nukes, ALL the nukes, which head into the atmosphere. This scene is underscored with the second movement of Beethoven’s 7th symphony. I’ll need to watch the scene multiple times if I want to do any deeper analysis, but I’m struck by this: here are people forced into a cataclysmic situation, forced to act against their will, certain of an impending war, and it’s all set to Beethoven.


Kings_speech_ver3Of course I immediately thought of Jonathan Godsall’s essay “Listening to Beethoven in and through The King’s Speech,” which we ran back in February of this year. Godsall’s essay analyzes how this same movement from Beethoven’s 7th symphony underscores the scene in which King George VI makes his “we’re now at way with Germany” speech at the onset of World War II. So for this week’s TAL #tbt, I invite you to think about / listen to the many uses of Beethoven’s music in film. And by the way, the link is broken on the TAL essay, so click here for the scene from the film.


I’ll be back at the end of July with more #tbt goodness!

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