chapter  17
Music That Works
Listening to Prestige British Industrial Films
ByAnnette Davison
Pages 15

This chapter focuses on the contribution of music and sound to The Rival World as exemplary of a moment in the history of soft persuasion in audiovisual media, and explores the integral and important roles of music and sound in it. It introduces the relationship between industrial and sponsored films, followed by a brief overview of the history of the Shell Film Unit. Coincident with Shell's growing internationalization, the appointment of producer Stuart Legg in the early 1950s to work with Shell via Film Centre contributed to a shift in the unit's thematic focus, turning towards global issues such as "world health agrarian development, and environmental problems". The chapter seeks to explore a contextualization of Shell's films of the period with a detailed audiovisual analysis of The Rival World. The film's sound world is an interesting synthesis: it features a large-scale orchestral score written and conducted by British composer James Stevens, combined with musique concrete by French composer Pierre Henry.