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Green Card
Composed, Performed, and Co-Produced by:
Hans Zimmer

Co-Produced by:
Peter Weir

Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
January 22nd, 1991

Also See:
The Lion King

Audio Clips:
2. Instinct (0:29):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

3. Restless Elephants (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

4. Cafe Afrika (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

11. Asking You (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release.


Green Card

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Sales Rank: 130345

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Buy it... if you have a soft spot for Hans Zimmer's relatively dated but easily digestible soft rock and new age tones for contemporary romance of the late 80's and early 90's.

Avoid it... if you expect to hear anything strikingly unique from Zimmer in Green Card outside of a single, enticingly exotic cue of alluring female vocals over worldly percussion and woodwind performances.

Green Card: (Hans Zimmer) Would you arrange a marriage of convenience with a foreigner you don't know or even like simply to qualify for your ideal apartment? That's the silly premise of the cross-cultural 1990 romance flick Green Card, writer and director Peter Weir's attempt to lure audiences with funny interactions between Gerard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell. When MacDowell's plant-loving character seeks to rent a New York apartment (with a greenhouse) available only to married couples, a common friend acquaints her with a French immigrant in need of a green card to stay in America. The two marry, accomplish their goals, and go their separate ways. When immigration officials start an investigation into their marriage, however, the leads are forced to get to know one another in the final reel despite their unsuccessful attempts at deception, and the film went on to moderate success that yielded a couple of Golden Globes and screenplay nominations across the board for Weir. Interestingly, it was the second consecutive Globe-winning comedy film scored by Hans Zimmer (Driving Miss Daisy was the winner the previous year), though this assignment, as any involving Weir typically is, presented unique challenges for the emerging composer. The first aspect of Green Card that required some extra coordination for Zimmer was the aspiring compositional side of the Depardieu character, with the famous French actor either shown playing Zimmer's original music on a piano or humming the score's primary theme while going about his business on screen. The second challenge for Zimmer was writing a score that not only addresses the crossing of cultural boundaries in a contemporary urban environment, but also functions in between several placements of high profile new age pieces by Enya (whose impact on soundtracks was felt heavily after her mainstream debut). Some of the new age elements in Zimmer's lighter writing at the time, from wet keyboarding to soothingly simple progressions for synthesizers, were comparable in tone to Enya's work, most evident in Toys, another score that had to deal with obvious Enya placement. Instead of tackling Green Card with the kind of airy orchestral romanticism that Georges Delerue might have brought to such a film, he played purely to the contemporary side of the film, emulating, as he so often did at the time (and usually by implicit request), the affable rhythmic personality of Rain Man's upbeat half. The result is an undemanding, functional score that is both easy to enjoy and features at least one notable highlight.

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Because of the involvement of so many non-Zimmer pieces in Green Card, adding Mozart and The Beach Boys (among others) to the Enya songs, the original score doesn't really have much time to develop its themes with great consistency. That said, Zimmer does follow three distinct threads in his score that give it a cohesive feeling. The first is the score's primary theme of flowing optimism, heard in "Restless Elephants," "Cafe Afrika," and "Pour Bronte." This keyboarded idea is about as standard to Zimmer's contemporary writing of the era as it can be, even down to familiar drum pads, synthesized samples in the rhythms, and progressions straight from Rain Man. It doesn't overflow with the same redemptive enthusiasm that the arguably more appealing theme for Point of No Return conveys in its most extroverted performances. In "Cafe Afrika," the theme is aided by an exotic woodwind effect that balances the sometimes dated keyboarding, and these soft flute tones are a precursor to The Lion King. The second theme is termed "Instinct" by Zimmer and exists twice on the album for Green Card. The first of these two cues, opening the score portion of that product, is the overall highlight of the composition (especially for those tired of Zimmer's usual romance techniques of the era). With almost an East Indian personality in its progressions, this outwardly foreign-sounding piece could be considered a sibling to Beyond Rangoon in its deep bass pulsing, slapping percussion, intoxicating female vocals, and compelling high woodwind solos. Despite feeling a bit out of place in the context of the surrounding music, "Instinct" is the necessary cue for Zimmer collectors to glean from Green Card. The third side of the score consists of the piano solos representative of Depardieu's character, gracing "9am Central Park" alone and backed by tasteful string effects in "Asking You." The only detractions from the score are the low key rumblings of Zimmer's looped percussion and meandering keyboarding in "Moonlight" and "Silence," the former the most dated cue in the presentation. In sum, only about half an hour of the composer's original music exists on the album, uncharacteristically in relatively short tracks. The best material is concentrated at the start of that product. The absence of the Enya songs is both a benefit and a drawback; it would have been nice (though too expensive) to hear their inclusion, but without them, the hoards of people who bought the album assuming they would be there have made Green Card an easy find on the used market. Anyone familiar with and friendly to Zimmer's early light rock and new age themes of likable rhythms will find several cues of solid material to enjoy. **** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Hans Zimmer reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 2.98 (in 89 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3 (in 266,335 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.93 Stars
Smart Average: 3 Stars*
***** 19 
**** 18 
*** 19 
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* 24 
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    * Smart Average only includes
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  Marcato -- 4/29/10 (8:17 p.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 44:51

• 1. Subway Dreams - composed and performed by Larry Wright (1:29)
• 2. Instinct (3:33)
• 3. Restless Elephants (2:55)
• 4. Cafe Afrika (2:59)
• 5. Greenhouse (3:15)
• 6. Moonlight (1:24)
• 7. 9am Central Park (1:48)
• 8. Clarinet Concerto in A Major: Adagio - composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (8:38)
• 9. Silence (4:38)
• 10. Instinct II (3:09)
• 11. Asking You (1:45)
• 12. Pour Bronte (6:19)
• 13. Eyes on the Prize* - performed by The Emmaus Group Singers (3:04)

* composed by Harry Stewart and arranged by Hans Zimmer

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from Green Card are Copyright © 1991, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 3/17/10 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2010-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.