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A Study into the Use of Musical Characterisation Techniques in

Christopher Nolans The Dark Knight.




Joshua Bell
BA Honours in Popular Music
University of South Wales


Faculty of Creative Industries


May 2014
Abstract
This paper is an investigation into the use of musical characterization techniques
specifically focusing on the The Dark Knight; the second film in Christopher Nolans The
Dark Knight Trilogy. The main focus of this paper is analyzing how music is applied to the
films main antagonist; the Joker, who is portrayed by Heath Ledger. There is a strong
emphasis on investigating how the composers and film-makers employ and adapt the
leitmotif technique.
The paper opens with an Introduction section explaining what my aims and goals were
at the beginning of the project, then moves onto a Literature Review investigating the
existing body of knowledge and research on leitmotifs in music and television. The latter
part of this paper begins by explaining the methods used to undertake my primary research
(Methodology), and then the Discussion & Analysis section
details my analysis of The Dark Knight. The analysis specifically focuses
on how music is applied to the Joker character, with particular attention given to exploring
how the film-makers use and adapt the leitmotif technique to the needs of this particular
character.
Two main musical themes are analyzed, in-particular looking into the uses, purposes,
and effectiveness of these themes within the context of the film. Key points and theories are
demonstrated by discussing specific scenes from the film.
Throughout the analysis, traditional uses of the leitmotif technique are used as key
points of reference paying close attention to some of the examples that are mentioned in
Section 2. The analysis also draws upon the field of semiotic analysis, particularly the idea
of denotative and connotative signs, as explored by Philip Tagg, Royal S. Brown and
others.
The final section draws conclusions from my research, and explains how I may use this
work as a starting point in furthering my own research.

Contents
1. Introduction .. 1
2. Literature Review.. 4
2.1 An Introduction to the Concept of Leitmotifs.
2.2 Origins of the Leitmotif in Wagnerian opera.
2.3 Leitmotifs as Denotative/Connotative Devices and Single Leitmotifs being
assigned to Multiple Ideas.
2.4 Less Conventional Leitmotif use in Film and Television.
2.5 Conclusions.
3. Methodology..... 16
4. Discussion and Analysis... 19
4.1 Introduction of Musical Themes
4.2 Musical Representation of the Joker in The Dark Knight
5. Conclusions and Recommendations..... 38
Appendix A. 41
Appendix B. 46
Appendix C. 48
Appendix D. 49
Appendix E. 50
Appendix F. 54
Appendix G.... 56
Bibliography, Discography and Filmography........ 58
List of Figures


4.2 Fig. 4.1 Joker Theme B......................................................................... 21

4.2 Fig. 4.2 Joker Theme A.1.... 26

4.2 Fig. 4.3 Joker Theme A.1 Resolving.... 27

4.2 Fig. 4.4 Joker Theme A.2.... 31

4.2 Fig. 4.5 Joker Theme A.2 Gambol Murder Scene.... 33


Acknowledgements

I would like to thank my dissertation supervisor Rob Smith for his advice and support
throughout the project. I would also like to thank Paul Carr for his assistance during the
final stages of the project.
Declaration

I declare that all the work presented in this dissertation is my own. Any work of other
authors that is discussed or referred to within this document is clearly cited as such within
the text and is referenced in full within the bibliography.
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Chapter 1
Introduction
Leitmotifs have always been one of the most widely used film composition techniques, and
as such there has been a vast amount of research into their use. As often is the case in
comic-book or superhero films, much of the narrative in the Dark Knight films is based
on a wide range of contrasting, often unrealistic and exaggerated characters. Although
Christopher Nolans take on the Batman universe is clearly intended to be a more realistic
version of the comic-book genre (compared with Tim Burtons films Batman in 1989 and
Batman Returns in 1992 for example), these films are clearly still suited to the leitmotif
technique, or at least variations on it. Heavy contrast between characters is created
throughout the trilogy, both by their appearance and their actions on-screen and the music
assigned to each character reinforces these contrasts. Contrasts are particularly evident in
the second part of the trilogy, The Dark Knight (2008), with the introduction of the
characters of Harvey Dent and the Joker. In this instance, Hans Zimmer and James Newton
Howard have stated that they composed the themes for these two characters separately, the
purpose of this being to create two very opposing sets of musical ideas, therefore
reinforcing the characterisations portrayed in the narrative. For example, Hans Zimmer has
stated that when creating music for the Joker he noted how the character was being
portrayed as completely fearless (Brennan, M. 2008) so to support this he wanted to
create something that was provocative and people could truly hate (theMusicFDN. 2009).
The character of Harvey Dent on the other hand is described as truly a white knight
(Brennan, N. 2008) and to this end James Newton Howard was tasked with creating the
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music for this character in order to create music that clearly contrasted with the music for
the Joker.
Rather than looking at both of these characters, my studies will focus purely on the
musical approach for the Joker - with a particular emphasis on the use of leitmotifs, and
how they are used, altered and developed. To support my investigation I will begin by
carrying out a literature review tracing the origins of leitmotifs, and how they have been
adapted for use in film and television. The purpose of this will be to identify gaps in this
particular field of research, therefore aiding the development of my own studies. This will
look at the work of a number of writers, most notably Hanns Eisler and Theodor Adorno,
Peter Larsen, Anahid Kassabian, and Royal S. Brown. In developing my own
methodology and research I will be taking influence from a number of sources. This will
mostly involve semiotic analysis techniques as demonstrated by Philip Tagg, while also
drawing influence from the writers covered in my literature review. I will use the work and
methods of these writers to back-up and reinforce my own theories and ideas. My analysis
will also be using transcriptions of key musical themes and motifs to help illustrate my
analysis.
In demonstrating my findings I am aiming to determine if the characterisation
techniques used in The Dark Knight can be considered to be leitmotifs in the traditional
sense especially when compared to notable examples of the technique in film and
television. This is likely to lead into analyzing how the composers have adapted and taken
influence from traditional leitmotif techniques, while not strictly adhering to the rules of the
technique demonstrated by film composers of the early 20
th
century. Ultimately I will be
seeking to discover what purposes the music is meant to serve for this particular character,
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what purpose it actually serves, and how effective the music is at supporting the films
narrative. I will conclude my studies by recapping what I have discovered and by
explaining what directions my research may take if I go on to studying music past
undergraduate level.







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Chapter 2
Literature Review
2.1 An Introduction to the Concept of Leitmotifs.
Since music was first introduced into cinema in the early 20
th
century, there have been a
number of techniques and devices which have become mainstays in the art of scoring music
to image. One of the most notable and well-known of these is the leitmotif technique. This
technique has been popular amongst composers such as John Williams (Star Wars V: The
Empire Strikes Back in 1980, Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, Jaws in 1975), and Ennio
Morricone, (Once Upon a Time in the West in 1968) and again in more recent years with
composers such as Hans Zimmer (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
in 2003 and The Dark Knight in 2008).
Although leitmotifs have always had a huge presence in film music, the technique was
first popularised in the operas of 19
th
century composer, German composer, Richard
Wagner. Citing Arnold Whittall (2001), Peter Larsen describes a leitmotif as a theme or
some other musical idea that is used in a musical-dramatic work to represent or symbolize
a person, object, place, idea, state of mind, supernatural force or any other ingredient
(Larsen, P. 2005: 60). In the same book, Larsen also goes on to state that The use of
leitmotifs was one of the most important musical effects in the silent film era and in the
Hollywood Golden Age and that Even today it is extremely rare to hear film music that
does not use leitmotifs in one form or other (Ibid.: 213).
Current and former research on the use of leitmotifs in film music covers a broad range
of studies. This ranges from the opinion that they are not at all suited to film music, for
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instance in the work of Theodor Adorno and Hanns Eisler; to simply studying the reasons
for the technique being used, and what effect it can have (using specific examples as case
studies), for example in the work of Royal S. Brown, Peter Larsen and Rob Haskins.
In undertaking this literature review I am seeking to understand what kind of attention
the study of leitmotifs has received. This will cover several authors, in particular the work
of Theodor Adorno and Hanns Eisler, Peter Larsen, Anahid Kassabian, and Royal S.
Brown, amongst others. This will ultimately lead in to my study of Hans Zimmer and
James Newton Howards work on Christopher Nolans The Dark Knight. Discovering what
specific areas of the subject have been covered will allow me to identify any gaps in current
research, which in turn will allow me to understand as to what extent (if at all) The Dark
Knight score employs the use of leitmotifs.
I will begin by looking into some general reading on the use of leitmotifs, from their
initial use in Wagnerian-opera, to their re-introduction through the medium of cinema. I
will then look at ways in which leitmotifs and other types of theme can be turned into
connotative devices, and how single leitmotifs can be assigned to multiple ideas. Lastly, I
will examine some less traditional leitmotif use in films and television, before finally
drawing some overall conclusions from all of the sources I have looked at. This will allow
me to develop my own methodology and research.
2.2 Origins of the Leitmotif in Wagnerian Opera.
The use of leitmotifs originally dates back to the Wagnerian and Post-Wagnerian operas of
the 19
th
century, and it is partly because of this that certain music scholars do not believe
they are suitable for use in film composition. Two of the most well known objectors to
leitmotifs in film are Theodor Adorno and Hanns Eisler, particularly in their 1947 book
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Composing for the Films. Here they define leitmotifs as trademarks, by which persons,
emotions, and symbols can instantly be identified (Adorno & Eisler., 1947: 4). Adorno and
Eisler then split their theories into two distinct areas; the technical problem, and the
aesthetic problem (Ibid.: 5). Explaining the technical problem, Adorno and Eisler go on
to say that the simplicity of cinema makes leitmotifs unnecessary, stating that the
fundamental character of the leitmotif its salience and brevity was related to the
gigantic dimensions of the Wagnerian and post-Wagnerian music dramas, whereas film
music is so easily understood that it has no need of leitmotifs to serve as signposts, and its
limited dimension does not permit of adequate expansion of the leitmotif (Ibid.: 5). With
regard to the aesthetic problem, the two writers state how, in Wagners operas, the
leitmotif was intended not just to characterize various subjects, but also to endow dramatic
events with metaphysical significance (Ibid.: 5). They then go on to say that cinema is the
exact opposite as it seeks to depict reality (Ibid.: 5). Their main point here seems to be
that films are often an attempt to replicate real life, but Wagnerian-operas are associated
more with fantasy and the mythological, something which leitmotifs were a huge part of
depicting. In summary, Adorno and Eisler seem to see the use of leitmotif in film almost as
a lazy technique, and something not needed in film composition, stating that the leitmotif
has been reduced to the level of a musical lackey, who announces his master with an
important air even though the eminent personage is clearly recognizable to everyone
(Ibid.: 6). They conclude this particular section by writing that as the leitmotif cannot be
developed to its full musical significance in the motion picture, its use leads to extreme
poverty of composition (Ibid.: 6). From a similar but slightly different point of view, Royal
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S. Brown (1994) has also suggested that film music and Wagnerian opera have both
fundamental differences but also many aspects in common. He begins by stating:
It has also been said that opera like-wise offers an important precedent for film music. But early opera
depends too strongly on the use of various set pieces to offer a valid precedent for narrative film music.
(Brown, R.S., 1994: 14 15)
But Brown then goes on to suggest that there are in fact some similarities between the two
styles:
in Wagner full themes and tiny, quasi-thematic fragments-motifs-are more important both in their
immediate emotional impact and in their relationship to the dramatic structure of the opera than they are to
its underlying musical structure. The same can be said to a degree of Wagners harmonic language
(Ibid.: 15).
Like Adorno and Eisler, Brown still suggests that leitmotifs should be more than just
markers announcing their subjects, and also that they should also have immediate
emotional impact to the narrative. However, unlike Adorno and Eisler, Brown does not
appear to protest against leitmotifs being used in film composition. Peter Larsen, in relation
to Adorno and Eislers arguments, writes that they adopt the diametrically opposite
position (Larsen, P., 1994: 214) to what Claudia Gorbman (1987) has written on the
subject. Larsen states that Gorbman suggests indirectly that Wagners intention was for the
leitmotif to be semantically narrow and precise whereas Adorno and Eisler suggest the
idea of leitmotifs being easy to grasp is an illusion (Larsen, P., 2005: 214). Summarising
Adorno and Eislers viewpoint, Larsen says:
In Wagner the leitmotifs not only characterize people, emotions or things; their purpose is the endowment
of the dramatic events with metaphysical significance. Since mainstream films do not have room for
metaphysical symbolic of this type, there is, according to Eisler and Adorno, no reason at all to use
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leitmotifs (Ibid.: 214).
Larsen goes on to say that according to the Adorno and Eisler view, many recurring motifs
in film music are not actually leitmotifs in what Larsen calls the original sense (Ibid.:
215). But he does continue to say that although many other authors are doubtful that
leitmotifs can be used effectively in film, they usually end up claiming that one form of
leitmotif technique or other is actually used in film music (Ibid.: 215). From a less
objective point of view, but in some ways the opposite to Adorno and Eislers view about
films depicting reality making leitmotifs unsuitable, Roy M. Prendergast writes When one
considers the epic proportions of Wagners Ring des Nibelungen, it is easy to understand
why the formal device of the leitmotiv fell naturally into use in the composition of scores
for some of Hollywoods epic films (Prendergast, R.M., 1992: 40-41). Prendergast then
goes on to cite Donald Jay Grouts definition of what a constitutes a leitmotif:
the leitmotif is a sort of musical label but it is more than that: it accumulates significance as it recurs in
new contexts; it may serve to recall the thought of its object in situations where the object itself is not
present; it may be varied, developed, or transformed in accord with the development of the plot; similarity
of motifs may suggest an underlying connection between the objects to which they refer; motifs may be
contrapuntally combined; and, finally, repetition of motifs is an effective means of musical unity, as is
repetition of themes in a symphony (1973. As cited by Predergast, R.M., 1992: 40-41).
Prendergast then goes on to say This same observation could be redirected at some of the
better leitmotiv scores for films and be just as valid as it is for Wagners Ring des
Nibelungen (Ibid.: 41). This all seems to suggest that Prendergast has no problem with the
use of leitmotifs in film, although he does appear to see them as more suited to what he
calls Hollywoods epic films, perhaps suggesting he would prefer the idea is used in
moderation.
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In summary, it seems that most writers are of the view that leitmotifs in film music are
not leitmotifs in the traditional sense, as used in Wagnerian operas, but are instead
variations and adaptations of Wagners original intention for them.
2.3 Leitmotifs as Denotative/Connotative Devices and Single Leitmotifs being assigned
to Multiple Ideas.
As mentioned in Section 2.2, leitmotifs are often intended to do more than simply announce
the arrival of certain characters, emotions or other ideas - although this is sometimes their
only purpose. Here I will look at how they can be used effectively to give clues about the
narrative, and work with images to create various other connotative effects. Leitmotifs can
often work with the images and other musical themes around them to have other effects on
the audience, sometimes deliberately intended by the composer, and sometimes entirely
accidental. One important example of which much has been written about is the film Jaws
(1975), in particular, composer John Williams two-note theme for the shark. Royal.S.
Brown mentions how the sharks theme is used so effectively that even the themes absence
can have an unconscious effect on the viewer. He uses the example of a scene in the film
where, despite the images suggesting otherwise, the absence of the theme tells the audience
that the shark is not actually present:
in the sequence where a pair of boys create general panic with a phony shark fin, the music track remains
silent, unconsciously cuing in the audience that this is not a mythic moment (Brown, R.S., 2004: 10).
The Jaws shark leitmotif is again used as an example by Ronald Rodman, this time when
discussing the denotative and connotative functions of musical themes. He explains how
other objects outside of the films diegesis allows the two-note theme to develop other
connotations. Rodman notes how the two-note theme uses a minor second interval,
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something which is usually considered dissonant, and that dissonance, in turn, signifies
instability and harshness. He goes on to say how this combines with the low register of
the motif, which signifies as being sinister and ominous. All this, Rodman says, works
effectively with the dark images of the ocean at the beginning of the film, the fierce
appearance of the shark itself, and the sharks destructive deeds to create part of a neat
package of signification (Powrie, P & Stilwell, R. 2006: 124).
There has also been much written about how leitmotifs can often have more
ambiguous meanings, sometimes applying themselves to more than one narrative idea, or
not actually to any subject at all until much further into a film. This is again relevant to the
work of John Williams, this time with his score for the Star Wars films. Peter Larsen
(2005: 170 171) has mentioned that some themes are very obviously connected to certain
characters (or groups or characters), for example the The Imperial March (Williams, J.
1997) for Darth Vader and the Imperial Stormtroopers, and the character of Luke is also
given his own theme. Other themes however refer to several ideas at once, such as the
music for the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi which also refers to the old republic and the
magic power, The Force. It is also important to mention the way many of the Star Wars
themes are used to characterize the referent using musical effects (Larsen, P. 2005: 171).
The most obvious example that Larsen picks up on here is the contrast between good and
evil created by Lukes theme in the major with a simple, straightforward harmonization,
which contrasts directly with The Imperial March for Darth Vader and the Imperial
Stormtroopers, which on the other hand, is based on a series of disconnected minor chords
(Ibid.: 171).
Another common use of leitmotifs, rather than simply distinguishing between characters,
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is to have them altered or alluded to as the narrative progresses, or appear in different
contexts to the way in which they initially appear; a device used to give the audience subtle
clues about what is happening, or what may be about happen. Rob Haskins and Vanessa
Knights have both noticed such devices being used in the television show Buffy the
Vampire Slayer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete DVD Collection. 2005),
particularly in relation to the characters of Buffy and Angel and the theme that they both
share. Similarly to the Jaws theme, Knights notes how the presence of characters can be
hinted at even though they dont actually appear on-screen:
The Buffy-Angel theme cues alerts listeners that he has called Buffy from Los Angeles in Anne (3.1)
when she answers the phone but gets no reply
(Attinello, P., Halfyard, J. K., and Knights, V. 2010: 9).
In this case, this particular use of leitmotifs is backed-up in the writings of Roy M.
Prendergast, where he cites Donald Jay Grout, who has said that leitmotifs may serve to
recall the thought of its object in situations where the object itself is not present
(Prendergast, R.M., 1992: 41). Similar to Knights, Grout also writes how themes may be
varied, developed, or transformed in accord with the development of the plot (Ibid.: 41),
something which Rob Haskins also picks up on in his studies of the Buffy-Angel theme.
He notes how the themes in Buffy were often re-recorded for each episode, and changed
slightly each time they appeared within single episodes. Haskins has noted how well-
known themes were obliquely varied to comment on narrative progression:
an act 1 scene shows Buffy and Angel touching as they perform Tai Chi; their feelings have begun to
reignite, and the music presents a salient fragment from the love theme not enough material to qualify as
a variation, but something more akin to a brief allusion that foreshadows events yet to come
(Attinello, P., Halfyard, J. K., and Knights, V. 2010: 46).
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Haskins also analyses the structure of the theme and how this characterizes its subject
matter. He mentions how much of the music in Buffy uses harmonies that surprise because
they are used in unconventional ways, sometimes with unexpected chromatic shifts. He
goes on to say how these qualities - combined with other elements only relevant to the
Buffy-Angel theme- are used to beautifully evoke the unconventional nature of the
relationship between Slayer and vampire the heartbreaking impossibility of its full
realization, but also its enduring passion (Attinello, P., Halfyard, J. K., and Knights, V.
2010: 46). This has much in common with Larsens writings on the musical portrayals of
good and evil in Star Wars, although in this case the musical characterization is of a more
complex nature.
2.4 Less Conventional Leitmotif use in Film and Television.
During more recent years much broader definitions have been explored as to what can
actually be considered as leitmotif use. Here I will focus on how other factors such as
genre, musical-style and instrumentation can be used in a leitmotif way. This will draw
particular attention to the work of Ronald Rodman, Vanessa Knights, Peter Larsen, and
Anahid Kassabian, amongst others.
Ronald Rodman has detailed how Quentin Tarantinos Pulp Fiction (1994) uses song
genres to comment on racial stereotypes, gender, and level of intelligence (Powrie, P and
Stilwell, R., 2006: 126). Rodman writes that Unlike themes in the classic film score, traits
of Pulp Fictions characters are not represented by singular leitmotifs: Instead, it is the style
of the popular songs that signify as leitmotifs in the film (Ibid.: 126). He notes how the
white character of Vincent Vega is represented by Southern California surfer music,
whereas the black character of Jules Winnfield (in the opening scene at least) is associated
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with New Jersey funk music (Ibid.: 126). It is important to state that, out of the two
genres, Rodman only considers the surfer-music to be a leitmotif it being a style that
appears several times throughout the film when Vincent is on screen. Rodman also writes
that the genre addresses what he calls the second stipulation for leitmotifs, in that it is
connotative and tells the audience about Vincents character and his traits. Rodman
believes that the surfer-music connects with what the audience sees on screen, for example,
Vincents 1960s car, and the 50/60s-style retro restaurant that he visits (Ibid.: 127
128). Related to this, Anahid Kassabian has picked up on similar uses of music genres in
the film Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), observing that the Eric Clapton cool-jazz-rock-sax-guitar
score suggests a musical discourse that crosses racial lines (Kassabian, A. 2001: 100).
Kassabian notes how the score is in a jazz-fusion style, a genre normally combining
elements of rock-music and jazz-music, which historically have come to represent white
and black races, respectively. She concludes that jazz-fusion in this case is meant to
represent blackness, or at least hipness. So although the character of Riggs is not
black, Kassabian suggests that the music is still intended to give the audience clues about
his character, in this case hipness, perhaps in a similar way to the Vincent character in
Pulp Fiction being connected to 1950s/60s culture. Vanessa Knights has also made similar
observations in examining Buffy the Vampire Slayer, noting how the television show uses
music to establish social identity. Paraphrasing S. Rennee Dechert, Knights states that
Characters are coded by the music they listen to and sing (Attinello, P., Halfyward, J. K.,
and Knights, V. 2010: 8). She notes how the protagonist, Buffy, and her allies are defined
by so-called cool music (songs outside the mainstream of pop), whereas people outside
of their group are defined by un-cool music.
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All of the above examples are instances of intertextual devices, relying on the
audiences knowledge of music outside of a films world to give clues about the events on
screen. Overall from these studies, we can see that film music does not always need
specific themes to support the narrative and create characterisation. Leitmotivic-like effects
can also be created through entire song genres or styles, making the leitmotif technique not
only applicable to classical film scores, but also to sourced, popular music scores, or scores
composed to closely resemble popular artists.
2.5 Conclusions.
In reviewing a range of sources I have been able to identify a number of key areas that will
assist me in my analysis of The Dark Knight. Particularly useful in the context of this film,
is the way that leitmotifs can be adapted and alluded to in order to develop the narrative.
This will be relevant in examining whether or not certain themes are developed and altered
across the film. Also of importance to this particular film is the way that themes can
develop connotative functions, a common composition technique in creating musical
characterisation of characters and other subjects. This idea will be particularly useful as my
research will be entirely focused on how musical characterisation is created for a single
character; the Joker.
One key question in my analysis will be to decide whether The Dark Knight uses
leitmotifs in the traditional sense and if it does not then deciding how the technique
differs in this context and this is something which has been touched on several times in
this section (for example in the arguments of Adorno & Eisler). This will also link with the
work of Rob Haskins, Vanessa Knights, and Anahid Kassabian, who have all explored how
in recent years entire genres have been used to serve leitmotivic purposes; thus showing
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that the definition of a leitmotif has drastically changed over time. My analysis will also
address deciding whether or not the leitmotif technique is effective in the context of this
film.
















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Chapter 3
Methodology
In this section I will explain the methods and processes that I will be using in my
Discussion & Analysis section. As this project is primarily a musicology based study, I
have decided that much of my main analysis will be focused on using semiotic analysis;
examining the meaning behind pieces of music. This has already been covered by several
writers mentioned in Section 2, but I will also be looking to the work of musicologist Philip
Tagg, specifically in his most recent publication, Musics Meanings (2013). Also, because
this project is specifically about film music, my studies will need to accommodate this to
suit this particular area of research, so my analysis will need to cover several key areas;
studying the composition of individual pieces of music, studying the meaning behind
individual scenes while also connecting these scenes to the context of the film, and then
connecting these two areas to examine what purpose music serves for each of these scenes
and for the film as a whole.
I will be examining three main musical themes, although two of these themes are very
closely connected so I will be referring to these as variations of the same theme. To analyze
the composition of each theme I will be referring back to Section 2 and the work of Philip
Tagg, while also providing my own transcriptions of important musical extracts. Using
these to refer back to will allow me to pick out specific examples of leitmotifs that have
already been studied by others. I can then compare these to the themes used in The Dark
Knight, which will allow me to analyze this films themes in a similar way to the themes
that have been studied previously. I will also be seeking to find out how the composition of
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each theme makes its suitable for its subject.
In analyzing individual scenes I will be providing a number of supporting materials in
the form of Appendices. This will first of all include a plot summary (which should be
referred to throughout), which will list the films key characters, plus additional
background on the Joker character; the musical treatment of whom forms the basis of my
analysis. Also to be included in the Appendices are descriptions and transcriptions of
important scenes and dialogue, respectively. Together the Appendices should allow the
reader to greater understand the context of each scene, while also preventing the main
analysis from containing too much irrelevant information. To further clarify exactly what
points in the film I will be referring to I will be using a numbers system, as demonstrated
by Philip Tagg. For example; a six-minute clip (0:06:14 to 0:12:21) from American
Beauty (Tagg. P. 2013: 543). These methods will help clearly define exactly which scenes
or musical extracts I am referring to.
In studying each musical theme or set of themes, I will be seeking to find out the
following; how each theme functions for its subject, what purpose each theme serves for
the images in individual scenes, and what the purpose of each theme is within the context
of the overall narrative. I will also be looking to see how certain themes are developed and
changed, how they are changed, and what the reasons for these changes are. Overall, I will
be seeking to decide whether or not these themes are leitmotifs, and if they are then to
prove why I believe this is so. To answer these questions I will be putting forward my own
theories, and then backing these up with evidence from the film itself (e.g. putting forward
a theory about what I perceive a musical theme to represent, and then reinforcing my
argument by observing the same musical theme being used in two separate scenes, but both
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in similar contexts). I will also use the work of other writers to back-up my theories and to
some extent I will also be referring to statements made by the film-makers and the
composers themselves.
















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Chapter 4
Discussion and Analysis
4.1 Introduction of Musical Themes.
I will begin the main body of research by giving a brief overview of which musical themes
I will be analyzing. I will be focusing on two musical themes that are used throughout The
Dark Knight, both of them associated primarily with the character of the Joker. The themes
I will be analysing are as follows:
- Joker-Theme-A which has two main variations - A.1 in Fig. 4.2 and A.2 as shown in Fig.
4.4 - and as such serves more than one purpose. This theme appears almost every time the
Joker is on screen.
- Joker Theme B (Fig. 4.1), which appears much less frequently than Joker-Theme-A, but
essentially stays the same throughout.
Theme-B does not have any drastic variations but with regards to each transcription of
Theme-A, the notations should only be taken as a rough guide and not the exact rhythmic
values. Variations on these themes are notated in a similar way. The reason for this is that
A.1 and A.2 appear so often that they are often adapted to fit with the music that each
appearance may accompany, or they may also change to suit the speed of the images
around them. In order to study the use of each theme in the context of the film, I will begin
by giving a general overview of each theme, while also studying the composition of each
theme. To make the context of each scene easier to understand I have also provided a plot
summary (see Appendix A).

20
4.2 Musical representation of the Joker in The Dark Knight.
Throughout the history of the DC Comics character Batman, the Joker has always been
a recurring arch-enemy. In The Dark Knight (portrayed in this instance by Heath Ledger)
he is the main antagonist, being responsible for many important events in the films
narrative. Out of all the musical themes in this film, the ideas and processes behind the
creation of the Jokers themes are probably the best documented, as composers Hans
Zimmer and James Newton Howard have spoken about the themes many times in
interviews. In the case of Joker-Theme-A the music first appears several times during the
opening scene, which involves the Joker and his accomplices staging a bank robbery.
Joker-Theme-B also appears for the first time towards the end of the same scene. Before
analyzing these themes it may be helpful to look at what the composers have said about the
themes. Although the score The Dark Knight is a collaboration, the music for the Joker was
composed solely by Hans Zimmer, who has stated (in reference to Theme-A) I was trying
to get it down to the most minimal thing that could say exactly what I wanted to say. You
can hear a second of this thing and you know the Joker is out there lurking somewhere
(theMusicFDN. 2009). First of all, this confirms that Zimmer consciously created music to
be associated with the character, and it also strongly implies that the music is intended to
give a leitmotif effect. Similarly to Royal S. Browns analysis of the Jaws shark-theme (see
Section 2.3, page 9), Zimmers statement indicates that the theme is meant to signify the
characters presence, although I will come back to this concept further on when analysing
individual scenes. Zimmer has also stated I didnt want to write a summer blockbuster,
happy indulgent score. I wanted something that was truly provocative and people could
truly hate. You know, I made the conscious decision to go out there onto the edge, you
21
know, that was the first step I took (theMusicFDN.2009). This suggests that Zimmer made
a definite decision to compose musical elements that characterized the Joker.

If we start by analysing Joker-Theme-B (Fig. 4.1) at a very basic level we can see the
following: In terms of instruments and timbre the theme appears to have been recorded
using a slightly out-of-tune piano sound (sometimes referred to as a honky tonk piano),
which in itself gives each note a slightly eerie quality. The music is constructed from just
two notes, with each note being played at two different octaves. This makes the key sound
slightly ambiguous and dissonant, but the opening minor 7
th
interval (a D note up to a C
note) implies that the music is in the key of D minor. The second half of the theme then
starts with C in a lower octave, before moving up to a D note, which creates an interval of a
major 9
th
. To begin analysing the theme in even more detail I will again look towards
studies of the shark-theme from Jaws, only this time in the work of Ronald Rodman.
Rodmans study notes how the shark-theme serves denotative and connotative functions to
create a neat package of signification (Powrie P & Stilwell, R. 2006: 124) (See Section
2.3, page 9 to 10 for details about Rodmans findings). Using Rodmans study as a guide
we can analyse Joker-Theme-B as follows; like the minor 2
nd
in the shark theme, the minor
7
th
interval in Joker-Theme-B could also be considered as dissonant, and as with the Jaws
22
theme signifies instability and harshness. Though not using a low register as with the shark-
theme, the Joker theme is instead in a fairly high register, but this could also be considered
as signifying as sinister and ominous particularly when taking into account the eerie
quality of the piano sound. And finally, as with the shark-theme combining with the
sharks destructive deeds and the fierce appearance of the shark itself (Powrie, P &
Stilwell, R. 2006: 124), this can again be applied to the Jokers evil and destructive
actions in the film. As the Jokers actions get more extreme and the character becomes
more dangerous, Theme-B takes on more meanings and connotations, meaning that, as with
the shark theme, the themes become permanently linked with the character and his actions.
Parts of Rodmans model can also be applied to Joker-Theme-A, which I will look at in
more detail further on.
I have already established that I believe both of these themes (Theme-A and Theme-B) to
be leitmotifs, so next I will seek to prove why I believe this is, and what exactly each theme
represents. Beginning with Joker-Theme-B, this theme appears to represent certain
manipulative aspects of the Jokers personality. In the few instances when it appears, it is
usually in the context of the scene being focused on the Joker and just one other character,
and during these points it is made very clear to the audience that the Joker is attempting to
manipulate the other character towards his own ends. In relation to this, director and story-
writer Christopher Nolan has been quoted as saying What the Joker provides in the second
film is the fact that his entire motivation is to push peoples buttons and find their rules set
and it turn it on itself (Boucher, G. 2008). To fully understand the themes use, I will now
turn my attention to some specific examples of the music being used in this context.
The first time we hear the theme is during the films opening bank robbery sequence,
23
when one of the Jokers gang members referred to as Grumpy in an early version of the
films script (JoBlo. 2008) - comes close to killing the Joker. In order to understand this
scene I will need to briefly describe the plot at this point in the film. The first time we see
the Joker he is actually disguised as one of his gang members, meaning none of the people
taking part in the robbery actually know that their employer is among them. As the heist
progresses it becomes clear that the Joker has instructed the gang members to murder each
other once each persons part in the robbery is complete leaving the Joker left as the only
surviving gang member. For example, the man who shuts down the bank alarm system is
murdered as soon as the system is disabled, and similarly, the man who unlocks the bank
vault is also murdered. This cycle carries on until there are just two gang members left;
Grumpy and the Joker (still in disguise). By this point Grumpy suspects that the remaining
gang member (the Joker) has been instructed to murder him as well, and so he threatens to
kill him. As Grumpy points his gun at the Joker, Theme-B is introduced for the first time
(00:04:39 I will use this numbers system throughout to clearly show what parts of the
film I am describing. It should be read as follows; hour-minute-second). This also marks
the first time that the Jokers voice is heard. The Joker then cleverly manipulates Grumpy
into hesitating and being moved into the path of a school bus that crashes through the bank
walls, apparently killing Grumpy (see Appendix B). Theme-B then ends as the bus arrives
(00:04:54). He then murders the driver of the bus and begins to load the stolen money into
the bus, making him the only remaining gang member, at which point it becomes clear that
his plan has succeeded. The second time Theme-B appears is during a scene when Batman
is interrogating the Joker (see Appendix E), and again this is in a context where the Joker is
attempting to manipulate someone. By the end of this particular scene it becomes clear that
24
one of the Jokers ultimate aims is to coerce Batman into breaking his one rule (Nolan, C.
2008), which the audience knows at this point to be avoiding killing anyone, no matter how
evil he may consider their actions to be. The Jokers aims are confirmed when Batman says
I have one rule, to which the Joker replies the only sensible way to live in this world is
without rules, and tonight youre gonna break your one rule, and Batman says Im
considering it (Nolan, C. 2008). In this instance, when Theme-B is introduced it is clear
that by drawing parallels between the two of them, the Joker is attempting to aggravate
Batman. This is particularly evident when he says to them [presumably in reference to the
police officers standing outside the interrogation room] youre just a freak like me
(Nolan, C. 2008). The theme begins at 01:28:19, then ends and moves into more intense
music when the Joker finally baits Batman into attacking him (01:29:03), something which
appears to be triggered by the Joker saying Im not a monster; Im just ahead of the curve
(Nolan, C. 2008). By being compared to the Joker, Batman is evidently angered (something
which the Joker starts doing while Theme-B is playing), and as a result of this the
possibility of him breaking his rule and actually killing the Joker seems much more likely.
The fact that the theme ends once Batman attacks him suggests that simply by becoming
angry - this is the moment at which Batman has been manipulated into satisfying the
Jokers goal. The theme then appears a further two times, still in relation to the Jokers
ability to manipulate, but in these instances specifically in relation to the transformation of
Harvey Dent into his villainous alter-ego, Two-Face. After Dent has just been disfigured as
a direct result of the Jokers actions, the Joker confronts him in his hospital room (see
Appendix F). This scene marks an important point in Dents ultimate transformation, and,
as shown by his murderous actions later in the film, this moment has a massive effect on
25
his already damaged mental state. The scene proceeds as follows: Throughout the scene the
Joker is explaining the various reasons behind his actions. Theme-B begins as the Joker
places a gun in Dents hand (01:50:25), and then proceeds to play on Dents beliefs in
justice and fairness, and his obsession with his double-headed coin (now damaged on one
side to resemble Dents disfigured face). The Joker states you know the thing about chaos?
Its fair(Nolan, C. 2008). This ultimately leads to Dent pointing the gun towards the Joker,
then flipping his coin to decide whether or not to kill him. The theme ends at 01:51:10
when the scene cuts, leaving a brief uncertainty as to the Jokers fate. This scene is recalled
during the Jokers final scene (see Appendix G), both from what he says and by the return
of Theme-B (02:14:35 to 02:15:10 - this is also the final appearance of the theme). Having
been defeated by Batman, the Joker goes on to explain what he has done to Dent, saying I
took Gothams White-Knight and I brought him down to our level (Nolan, C. 2008). The
themes reappearance in this final scene serves as a musical reminder for the listener of the
Jokers conversation with Harvey Dent. In this way, Joker-Theme-B in both these cases
becomes clearly associated with Harvey Dent being manipulated by the Joker. It is also
worth noting that, at these two points in the film, Theme-B actually merges with elements
of Theme-A. The context of the theme has also changed slightly, as the music has
progressed from having a very broad association with the Jokers manipulative actions, to
becoming specifically associated with the transformation of Harvey Dent. The fact that
these are the only two times when the theme is noticeably altered (with Theme-A being
played underneath) also helps to link these two appearances of the theme, and to distinguish
them from the other appearances of the theme earlier on.
Moving onto Joker-Theme-A, this theme has two main variations; Theme-A.1 (Fig. 4.2)
26
and Theme-A.2 (Fig. 4.4). Both are based around a D note played on a viola gradually
increasing in volume, but A.2 is slightly different in that the note also gradually moves up
in pitch.

I will begin with analyzing Theme-A.1. Compared with Theme-B, both variations of Theme-
A appear to have a more traditional leitmotif use, in the sense that they are used almost
every time the character is on-screen. However, it should be noted that each variation of the
theme serves a different purpose, usually relevant to what is happening on-screen, and
variations are altered to accommodate these functions. One important function that A.1
appears to serve is informing the audience of the Jokers presence when he is not clearly
visible on-screen. This is a technique employed extensively in John Williams score for
Jaws - something I will return to shortly and there are several examples of this throughout
the film. Theme-A.1 first appears in the bank robbery scene, which as mentioned earlier,
revolves around the Joker being in disguise, in order to deceive his gang members into
killing each other. From the point of view of an audience that is watching the scene for the
first time, there probably dont appear to be any obvious visual clues to indicate that the
Joker is actually among the gang members, however there are some subtle clues in the
27
music which tie-in effectively with clues in the visuals - something that I will go into
shortly. The theme first appears at 00:00:44 during the opening titles, before any action is
taking place on-screen. It then continues until the point when one of the gang members
breaks through a window, signalling the beginning of the heist (00:01:11). The theme next
appears when the Joker is waiting to be picked up in a car by some other gang members
(00:01:21 00:01:29), then stops as he enters the car. The camera at this point focuses on
the Jokers mask which he is still holding in his hand until immediately before entering the
vehicle. The theme appears again after the Joker guns down the manager of the bank, after
which point the camera gradually focuses onto his masked face (00:03:56 00:04:00). A.1
appears again from 00:04:22 to 00:04:25, while the camera focuses on the Joker once again,
this time as he is walking around the bank surveying his hostages. The penultimate
appearance of A.1 in this scene is when the injured bank manager draws the Jokers
attention at 00:05:19 (see Appendix B). As with previous appearances, the theme builds in
volume and intensity as it plays. However, this time the theme actually resolves after it
reaches its peak of intensity (at 00:05:41 see Fig. 4.3), while also synchronizing with the
moment that the Joker removes his mask for the first time. The theme then starts up again
as the Joker boards the school bus (his escape vehicle), and ends as the bus leaves
(00:05:47 00:06:00). In this opening sequence, although A.1 does not appear every single
28
time the Joker is on screen, it does appear every time that the camera is focused on him. For
example, it does not play while the Joker is travelling with two other gang members to the
bank (from 00:01:45 to 00:01:58), but in this case the Joker is in the background of the
scene, whilst another gang member is speaking in the foreground. On the other hand, when
the camera is clearly focused on the Joker, in these instances the theme does make an
appearance. For example; when he waits to be picked up, both times when he is
approaching the bank manager, when the camera follows him as he watches over the
hostages, and one final time as the bank manager watches him leave. Combined with other
subtle signals in what is happening on screen - such as the Joker drawing the audiences
attention by being the only gang member not to speak and Theme-A.1 becomes an
effective tool in helping the audience to realize the true identity of the gang member. This
combination of techniques also gives further weight to the idea that the film-makers
intended the viewer to work out his identity prior to the point when he reveals himself. Also
important is the fact that the music only resolves as the Joker removes his mask further
highlighting this particular moment. This indicates that the theme is being used to create a
build-up to the moment when he finally reveals himself, and therefore the Jokers proper
introduction into the narrative. This again reinforces that Theme-A is definitely intended to
be associated with this character. Overall, although the theme is used in a few different
contexts, Theme-A in this case can be summarised as signalling the characters presence,
even if his presence is not initially obvious by what can be seen on-screen. There are
several more examples of the theme being used to serve a similar purpose, which I will now
briefly explain to reinforce my point.
The Jokers next appearance is during a scene when he meets the leading mobsters of
29
Gotham City. This time Theme-A.1 once again appears before the character is clearly
visible (00:23:09), once more suggesting his imminent appearance and this is further
confirmed by the sound of his slow, mock-laughter. As the Joker starts to approach the
mobsters he still has his back to the camera, but his face isnt fully revealed until 00:23:19.
As the theme has not been heard since his last appearance during which time his voice
was also revealed it is safe to combine these two clues and assume that the Joker is the
person entering the room. Another example appears during the Jokers assassination
attempt on the Mayor of Gotham at the Police Commissioners funeral. At this point in the
film the Joker and his associates have kidnapped a group of police officers, and disguised
themselves in police uniforms in order to assassinate the Mayor (who has been named as a
potential target). Bruce Wayne (not disguised as Batman) finds the kidnapped officers tied-
up in an empty apartment building, at which point Theme-A (this time in the form of A.2
the significance of which I will explain further on) begins to play (at 01:01:12). Once again
this indicates that the Joker is nearby, which is confirmed at 01:02:09 when he is revealed
to be hiding in the crowd. The Mayors death is then prevented by Lieutenant James
Gordon moving in front of the Jokers bullet, at which point the theme stops (01:02:10).
Finally, I will mention one more instance where the theme is used in this context, this time
when Harvey Dent has been falsely arrested after taking the blame for Batmans vigilante
activities. Theme-A.1 begins at 01:14:33, while the Joker doesnt appear on-screen until
01:14:45 when he is shown to have commandeered a truck from which to attack the prison-
van that Dent is being transferred in.
To conclude, what all these examples have in common is that the music begins playing
before the character is actually visible, therefore giving the viewers clues and warnings as
30
to what is about to happen. Like Rodmans Jaws example, Theme-A in these cases can also
be viewed as representing the Jokers actions, as well as his simply showing his presence.
In each example, when the theme begins it becomes a clear signal that the Joker is about to
appear, which, as his actions become more murderous and extreme, creates an association
between the actions and the Joker himself and therefore giving Theme-A the same
connotations. In this way the themes appearance often serves as a warning to the audience
that more chaos is about to ensue. It may also help to look to Royal S. Browns
interpretation of the Jaws shark-theme (see pages 9 & 10 in section 2.3). Brown notes how
the theme is used throughout Jaws to signify mythic moments (Brown, R.S., 1994), by
which he seems to be referring to the films well documented technique of using a simple
two-note motif to imply the sharks presence. In direct relation to this, he notes how during
a scene when the images on-screen imply that the shark is near; the very absence of the
music tells the audience that this isnt so. Similarly, in the scenes when the Joker cannot be
clearly seen (the bank robbery, and the Police Commissioners funeral), the appearance of
Theme-A.1 is a key factor in suggesting to the listener that the Joker is nearby. This idea is
reinforced in the following quote by Hans Zimmer; I was trying to get it down to the most
minimal thing that could say exactly what I wanted to say You can hear a second of this
thing and you know the Joker is out there lurking somewhere (theMusicFDN. 2009). All
of these are definite examples of music being used to effectively put a character into a
scene without them actually being visible. This use of the theme in these cases also
supports Adorno and Eislers description of what a leitmotif should do (page 6, Section
2.2), being that they are trademarks by which persons, emotions, and symbols can
instantly be identified (Adorno, T,. and Eisler, H. 1947:4). But as I have already
31
mentioned, Theme-A appears many more times over the course of the film, and in these
cases it serves different purposes to the ways already mentioned.
Looking back to Prendergasts definition of a leitmotif (Section 2.2, page 8), he states
that leitmotifs may be varied, developed, or transformed in accord with the development of
the plot (1992:41), and it is partly from this idea that my next analysis will be drawn from.
In the following pieces of analysis I will be examining how Theme-A (specifically A.2 see
Fig. 4.4) is used as a musical representation of the action that is unfolding in the images,
particularly how the theme is able to increase the fear and tension that is created in certain
scenes.

Although Theme-A.2 essentially stays the same each time it appears, there are some
subtle variations and extensions to the theme; usually when the theme is played for an
extended period of time and at important points in the characters narrative. The first
example of this is during a scene when - as part of a plan to kill Gambol, a leading Gotham
City mob boss the Joker fakes his own death. The end result of this being that the other
mob bosses accept the Jokers offer to kill Batman, ultimately leading to his establishment
as a dominant force in Gothams criminal underworld making this a vital point in the
32
Jokers rise eventual rise to power. In order to demonstrate the use of Theme-A in this
context, I will now make a detailed analysis of the Gambol Murder scene. As mentioned
previously, the other main variation of Theme-A is the A.2 variation (Fig. 4.4) and this is
the version that appears in the following scene. This scene lasts from 00:29:36 until
00:31:42, and the theme itself plays from 00:30:08 until 00:31:09, with the point at which
the theme varies and extends appearing at 00:31:10. By this point in the film the theme has
already appeared in two separate scenes involving the Joker, so it already has a strong
association with the character. Having had a bounty put on his life by Gambol, the Joker
has successfully infiltrated Gambols building under the illusion that he has been killed by
bounty hunters three men who are actually in the employment of the Joker. The bounty
hunters then subdue Gambols bodyguards while the Joker jumps up and holds a knife to
Gambol. The Joker then begins to tell a story about how he obtained his unusual facial
scars, a story he tells variations of throughout the film (Ill call this the Scars Story shown
in Appendix C). It is at this point that Theme-A.2 begins to play. Throughout this scene the
Joker has a knife held to Gambols mouth, and as the scene progresses and the Jokers
speech becomes more aggressive and threatening it becomes clear that he is going to kill
Gambol. Here, the main way in which Theme-A.2 differs to A.1 is that - as with the other
examples that I will show it increases in intensity in relation to the intensity of the scene.
The themes other variation in this case is with the introduction of a very high-register
screeching string note as the theme ends, immediately after the D note has moved to one
octave above its original pitch (Fig. 4.5). This signals the end of the theme, as well as
synchronizing with the moment that Gambol is killed. The large leap from the D to the high
C note could also be a deliberate attempt to create shock for the audience. This particular
33
sound also appears in the scene when the body of a man pretending to be Batman hits the
window of the Gotham mayors office (0:41:45) and later on in the film following the
attempt on the Mayors life (01:02:10) therefore creating an association between this
particular sound, the Joker and death. The Gambol Murder scene is one of three other
scenes where A.2 is used in this context; and is one of two examples of the theme being
played in full (the attempted murder of the Mayor being the other example). By being
played in full, what I mean is that in the other instances when it is used it is often when
the Joker is about to kill someone, but in these cases the theme is interrupted before it has a
chance to conclude with the high-pitched ending that is present in the Gambol Murder
scene. In examining why the screeching note is able to have such a powerful effect each
time it is used (but is particularly effective in the Gambol Murder scene), here I will look to
the work of Phillip Tagg and his analysis of Bernard Hermanns score for the famous
shower scene from Alfred Hitchcocks Psycho (1960).
Both pieces of music share a lot of similarities, a style of string music that Tagg
refers to as PSYCHOPATHIC strings as opposed to ROMANTIC strings (Tagg, P.
2013: 264). Tagg notes how the music is composed in such a way so as to represent and
imitate the actions on screen; most notably he states how string notes in the high register
34
(as heard in the Gambol Murder scene) resemble a combination of female screams of
terror and the sound of a large knife being sharpened (Ibid: 510). This is particularly
important in analyzing the Gambol Murder scene as a knife is the weapon used to kill
Gambol. Additionally, the image of a knife is also consistently associated with the Joker
due to his preference for knives as weapons, and his mysterious back-story which -
although slightly different each time he tells it - always features the use of a knife
(Appendix C and D).
Moving onto two more examples of Theme-A.2 being used in this context, the next
scene I will analyze is the scene when Bruce Wayne is holding a fund-raiser for District
Attorney Harvey Dent. During this scene (the entire sequence of which lasts from 00:43:31
to 00:53:19) the Joker and his gang members break into Bruce Waynes penthouse with the
apparent intention of murdering Dent. Unable to find Dent who has been knocked
unconscious and hidden away by Wayne the Joker instead turns his attention to Rachel
Dawes, Dents partner and a long-time friend of Wayne (see Appendix D). As with the bank
manager in the films opening scene, the theme at first serves to represent someone drawing
the Jokers attention, starting at 00:50:22. The theme begins in the A.1 variation, but as
soon as he grabs her and holds the knife to her it becomes apparent that he intends to kill
her. This is further suggested by him telling the Scars Story, and also by the music
morphing into the A.2 variation. Additionally, after asking the guests for Dents
whereabouts he also states Ill settle for his loved ones (Nolan, C. 2008). However, unlike
the Gambol Murder scene, the potential murder is prevented by the arrival of Batman. The
theme accommodates this by stopping when Batman arrives and attacks the Joker
(00:52:00), so in this sense the theme being interrupted represents the Jokers plan being
35
prevented, which could potentially have been signalled by the high-register sharpened-knife
note synchronizing with the murder of Dawes. The climax of the scene when Harvey Dent
has been arrested also has similarities to this. After driving at full speed towards the Joker,
Batman makes a last second decision not to run him down. Batman comes to a sudden stop,
resulting in him crashing his motorcycle-like vehicle and knocking himself unconscious.
The Joker takes out a knife and begins to walk towards Batman, at which point Theme-A.2
begins playing (01:22:23), suggesting that he intends to kill him. Holding his knife, the
Joker crouches over Batman, but is again interrupted (01:22:42), this time by the arrival of
Lieutenant James Gordon, and Theme-A.2 is again interrupted to accommodate this.
As with the Jaws analysis of the use of Theme-A.1, these examples all show how a
theme can be used to support the narrative. However, what is different with these examples
is that Theme-A.2 relies on what is happening on-screen to achieve its effect, and this is
done by increasing in intensity in time with the structure of certain scenes. The Jaws
example on the other hand is effective by relying on what the audience cannot see. By
locking in so closely with what is happening in the images, Theme-A.2 is used to immerse
the audience in the action, as well as making suggestions about how events are going to
unfold. Through being constantly used in similar contexts Theme-A.2 comes to be a musical
representation of the Jokers murderous actions. Theme-A.1 on the other hand has a more
obvious use, in that its main purpose is to signal the Jokers arrival. There are a few subtle
changes and extensions to Theme-A.2 (e.g. Fig. 4.5), but these do give weight to
Prendergasts citation of Donald Jay Grouts definition, which is that a leitmotif may be
varied, developed, or transformed in accord with the development of the plot (Prendergast,
R.M. 1992: 40).
36
As mentioned already, Theme-A.2 is clearly intended to be associated with a certain
aspect of the Jokers personality, specifically his enjoyment in murdering people. The
rising tension element of Theme-A.2 is created by the note slowly rising in pitch, meaning
the viola string is actually increasing in tension. As shown in the video Hans Zimmer: The
Conscious of Creating the Film Score (theMusicFDN. 2009), this is achieved by the cellist
slowly moving up the neck of the instrument, but this is done so subtly that it almost gives
the impression of the string being bent. Zimmer also mentions that he wanted to give the
impression of a taught string that gets tighter and tighter but never breaks (Ibid.: 2009). In
many ways this is an intertextual device, relying on the audiences knowledge that if an
instrument string is tightened enough, it will actually snap. This snapping could be
considered as signifying the point at which the Joker is actually allowed to give into his
murderous urges, and this is represented by a sudden harsh, high register note a sound
which creates many connotations. In the other uses of the Theme-A.2 that I have mentioned
the Jokers killings are prevented, and the theme itself is interrupted to represent this. In
conclusion of the use of Theme-A in all the forms and variations that I have mentioned, we
can also look to Zofia Lissas ten basic film music functions (1965:115-256, as cited in
Tagg, P. 2013). In these instances, both versions of Theme-A fulfil several of these: They
provide Anticipation of subsequent action (Tagg, P. 2013: 547) by informing the audience
that the Joker is about to attack someone or that the Joker is about to appear, they express
psychological experiences (Ibid.: 547) by creating fear, shock and tension (particularly in
Theme-A.2), which to some extent could also be classed as Providing empathy (Ibid.:
547). Additionally the extension of Theme-A.2 provides Stylisation of real sounds (Ibid.:
547) by imitating the sounds of knives and female screams (Fig. 4.5). Finally, Theme-A.2
37
emphasises movement (Ibid.: 547) by increasing in tension as the Joker is physically
moving closer to his victims, or when the moment of his attack is growing closer.















38
Chapter 5
Conclusions & Recommendations
Through doing this study I have discovered a number of ways in which both the composers
and film-makers have effectively used music as a narrative device. It should also be noted
that I originally intended my studies to cover all three films in The Dark Knight Trilogy.
However, as my research progressed it became apparent that, in this project at least, there
would not be enough room to cover such a large amount of material. Instead, my studies
narrowed down to only cover the second film in the series The Dark Knight. This
eventually narrowed down even further to becoming a detailed focus on the musical
treatment of one key character the Joker. In conclusion, it appears that the composers
have definitely taken influence from the traditional leitmotif technique, but then adapted the
idea to the needs of this particular film. To summarize and re-cap what has already been
stated; my analysis has covered three main themes with very distinct uses, but each
demonstrates some of the common stipulations for leitmotifs that have been covered in
Section 2: Theme-A.1 has a very traditional leitmotif function - being used to indicate the
Jokers presence when he is not clearly visible on-screen. One key point of reference for
Theme-A.1 is the Jaws shark-motif, which serves a similar function to that of Theme-A.1
(see Section 2). Theme-A.1 is also used in a similar way to the Buffy-Angel theme as
analyzed by Vanessa Knights (Section 2.3, page 11). Theme-A.2 is used to represent a
character trait (the Jokers murderous actions) but is sometimes adapted in accordance
with the films narrative (as discussed in Section 2.3). Theme-B is used to represent another
character trait (the Jokers ability to manipulate people towards his own ends), but takes on
39
multiple meanings, eventually coming to be associated with Harvey Dents transformation
into the villain Two-Face. Alternatively Theme-B can also be seen as representing an idea,
which in this case is manipulation (see Arnold Whittalls definition in Section 2.1). As
demonstrated in the Jaws shark-theme, my studies have also noted how leitmotifs can be
composed in such a way so as to link directly with the traits of the subject that the theme
represents - something which can create both intentional and accidental connotations for the
audience. This has been noted in all three themes, for example; the dissonance of Theme-B
links directly with the Jokers evil and destructive actions.
To further this study, there are a number of routes that I might take. I would like to
create a much larger piece of work to further the points made about the Jokers themes, and
to encompass the other characters in the film; in particular looking at how the musical
treatment of the Joker contrasts with that of other characters. Of particular interest here is a
point made by Peter Larsen about musical treatments of good and evil in Star Wars: the
Empire Strikes Back (Section 2.3). This is especially relevant to The Dark Knight, and the
transformation of Harvey Dent from hero to villain could also be a useful starting point
for looking at this particular area. Furthermore, the study may also incorporate the other
two films in the series - Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). I also
would like to look into the way intertextual devices are used to comment on characters,
which is something I picked up on in Section 2.4, but had no room to take any further. This
could again be applied to the Joker, as I could study how Hans Zimmer incorporated the
influence of Punk-rock into the music. (Jesser, J.D and Pourroy, J. 2012: 256). For instance,
the chaotic, anarchic, and rebellious nature of the 1970s Punk movement draws some
interesting parallels with the Joker, particular in this version of the character. Exploring the
40
connotations created through different genres could add a new dimension to my studies,
allowing me to pick up on studies into intertextual devices that I looked at in Section 2.4.
Alternatively, rather than focusing on The Dark Knight Trilogy, I may instead take my
work here as the basis for a more general study on how musical treatment of the Batman
character has developed over time. This may take into account the original Warner Bros
films, as well as animations and video games. This may also lead into much broader studies
into the musical treatment of comic book characters in general.




















41
Appendix A
Plot Summary for The Dark Knight.
Based on characters first published in DC Comics and following on from the events of
Batman Begins (2005) - where Bruce Wayne (played by Christian Bale) began his
transformation into his vigilante alter-ego, Batman - The Dark Knight (2008) picks up
several months after the events of the first film, and again mainly takes place in the
fictional Gotham City. This film introduces two more key characters; main antagonist the
Joker (played by Heath Ledger), and Gotham District Attorney Harvey Dent (played by
Aaron Eckhart, and who becomes the villain Two-Face towards the end of the film).
Returning characters include; Alfred Pennyworth (Bruce Waynes butler and close friend
played by Michael Caine), Rachel Dawes (Waynes childhood friend and a former love
interest, who is now in a relationship with Harvey Dent. Dawes is played by Maggie
Gyllenhaal), Lieutenant James Gordon (one of the few Gotham City Police Officers who
trusts and works with Batman he is played by Gary Oldman), and Lucius Fox (CEO of
Wayne Enterprises the company that Bruce Wayne inherited from his murdered parents.
Fox supplies Wayne with the equipment that he uses in his role as Batman and is played by
Morgan Freeman). Some supporting characters include; crime bosses Salvatore Moroni
(Eric Roberts), the Chechen (Ritchie Coster), Gambol (Michael Jai White), and Lau (Chin
Han). Also serving minor roles are Police Commissioner Loeb (Colin McFarlane), Judge
Surillo (Nydia Rodriguez Terracina), Mayor Anthony Garcia (Nestor Carbonell), Wayne
Enterprises account Coleman Reese (Joshua Harto), and corrupt police officers Michael
Wuertz (Ron Dean) and Anna Ramirez (Monique Gabriela Curnen).
42
The films plot revolves around the Jokers attempts to attack the citizens of
Gotham City through means of terrorism, murder and other criminal activity. The Joker is
perhaps the best known adversary of Batman, and has been portrayed by a number of well-
known actors over the years; including Jack Nicholson in Batman (1989) and by Mark
Hamill in several animated television and computer game adaptations. In The Dark Knight,
as with previous portrayals of the character, he is portrayed as the exact opposite of
Batman; choosing to use his skill and intelligence for wrong doings rather than as a force
for good, therefore in direct opposition to Batmans strong moral code and refusal to kill.
One particular reason that he is shown to be such a menacing adversary for Batman (in this
version at least) is the fact that he seems to commit crime mainly for enjoyment, making
him unresponsive to Batmans threats. In this version of the character, rather than appearing
as a crime boss, as he is usually portrayed, he instead takes on the role of a terrorist,
holding Gotham Citys residents to ransom with various threats and actual attacks.
Throughout the film his actions gradually get more extreme and destructive; murdering
several public figures during the first half of the film, demolishing a hospital, then
culminating in him terrifying Gothams citizens into evacuating the city.
Much of the film revolves around Batman, District Attorney Harvey Dent and
Police Lieutenant James Gordons (promoted to Commissioner Gordon later in the film)
attempts to stop the Jokers plans. The Joker is introduced in the films opening scene
where he orchestrates a bank robbery to steal from an account owned by leading mob
bosses Salvatore Moroni, Gambol, Lau and the Chechen. The mob bosses and their
associates then have a meeting where it is revealed that the police have traced their account
locations through the use of marked bills used by undercover police officers to buy
43
drugs with. In order to avoid any possible prosecution Lau leaves Gotham City to return to
Hong Kong; stating that he is far from Dents jurisdiction. He reveals to the other crime
bosses that he has emptied the accounts and had the money hidden somewhere within
Gotham City, but in order to prevent the police gaining leverage over any of them he has
decided not to disclose the location of the money. The Joker interrupts this meeting and, in
exchange for half of the mobsters money he offers to kill Batman. He warns them that
Batman has no jurisdiction and is likely to bring Lau back to Gotham to face criminal
proceedings and testify against them. He offers to kill Batman to prevent this happening,
but his offer is rejected. The meeting ends with Gambol placing a bounty on the Jokers
life. However, the Joker escapes by revealing that he has explosives attached to his body.
Sometime later, the Joker fakes his own death in order to gain access to Gambol and kill
him. From this point on the Joker becomes allied with the other mob bosses. Meanwhile,
Batman kidnaps Lau from Hong Kong and returns him to Gotham. Lau provides evidence
which allows Dent to have the other mob bosses and their associates trialled in court. In
response to this, the Joker issues a threat that for every day that Batman doesnt reveal his
true identity people will die. Soon after, Police Commissioner Loeb and Judge Surillo
(who is proceeding over the trials) are simultaneously killed. At the same time the Joker
breaks into a fundraiser being held by Bruce Wayne for the benefit of Harvey Dent.
However, Batman is able to save both Dent and Rachel Dawes from being killed by the
Joker. A few days later the Joker tries to use the Police Commissioners funeral as an
opportunity to kill the Mayor, but Lieutenant Gordon throws himself in front of the bullet,
saving the Mayor and using the opportunity as a chance to fake his own death.
Following demands from the public for Batman to turn himself in, Harvey Dent then
44
takes the blame for Batmans vigilante activities, which are by this point perceived by
many to be crimes. He is arrested and taken by police escort to prison. In a car-chase
through the city, the Joker attempts to kill Dent, but this is prevented by Batman and the
return of Lieutenant Gordon, who arrests the Joker and takes him into custody. Gordon is
then promoted to the title of Commissioner. It is then revealed that both Harvey Dent and
Rachel Dawes have been kidnapped by the Jokers men. An increasingly angry and
frustrated Batman then interrogates and tortures the Joker for information, who eventually
reveals the whereabouts of his prisoners. Unfortunately, the Gotham City Police
Department are unable to rescue Dawes in time. Dent is saved by Batman but the explosion
causes half of Dents face to be horribly disfigured. Using the explosions as distractions the
Joker is able to kidnap Lau and escape from police custody.
Following this, Coleman Reese (an accountant at Wayne Enterprises) is preparing to
reveal Batmans true identity live on television. In reaction to this, the Joker threatens to
blow up a hospital unless Reese is killed. Amidst the chaos of Gothams hospitals being
evacuated, the Joker sneaks into Gotham General Hospital and confronts Harvey Dent. He
convinces Dent to take revenge on the people responsible for Rachel Dawess death
completing Dents transformation into his villainous alter-ego Two-Face. Dent then uses
his lucky coin (now damaged on one side to resemble his scarred face) to decide each
persons fate. Moroni and Wuertz (a corrupt police officer who helped to kidnap Dawes
and Dent) are killed but Ramirez is spared. Meanwhile, the Joker finds the money that Lau
has hidden and burns it, killing Lau in the process. The Chechen, who is furious at the
Joker for doing this, is then killed as well, allowing the Joker to take control of the
Chechens men. Despite several attempts on his life Reese is saved due to the efforts of
45
both Gordon and Wayne. Meanwhile, as the Joker leaves the hospital he then proceeds to
demolish the building.
Some time later, the Joker then issues another threat to the citizens of Gotham,
announcing that come nightfall this city is mine and anyone left here plays by my rules
(Nolan, C. 2008). The authorities then begin shipping two evacuation ferries out of the city;
one for civilians and another for convicted criminals. The passengers on each ferry then
discover that each boat is rigged to explode, and that each set of passengers has been left
with the detonator to the other boats explosives. The Joker warns that if no-one uses their
detonator then he will destroy both boats. Neither side uses their detonator but Batman is
able to find the Joker and prevent him from detonating both sets of explosives. The Joker
then reveals what he has done to Dents mental state, causing Batman to rush off as the
police arrive to arrest the Joker.
By this point Dent has lured Gordon and his family to a secluded location and is holding
them all at gunpoint. Batman prevents their deaths but accidentally kills Dent in the
process. In order to protect Dents reputation, Batman agrees to take responsibility for
Dents crimes and take the blame for Dents murder. With the police in pursuit, Batman
vanishes and goes into hiding.






46
Appendix B
Transcript from the end of the Bank Heist scene (beginning around 00:04:40)
[Grumpy points a gun at the Joker who is still in disguise]
Grumpy: Im betting the Joker told you to kill me as soon as we loaded the cash.
The Joker: No, no no no, I kill the bus driver. [The Joker moves slightly to the right, and
Grumpy moves with him, continuing to point the gun]
Grumpy [hesitating now]: Bus driver? [The Joker moves to the right again] What bus
driver? [A school bus comes crashing through the wall and knocks Grumpy over
apparently killing him. The Bus Driver steps out of the bus]
Bus Driver: Schools out. Time to go. [He looks around and sees Grumpy on the floor] That
cats not getting up is he. [He begins helping Joker to load the stolen money into the bus]
Thats a lot of money [he carries on loading the money into the bus] what happened to the
rest of the guys? [The Joker shoots and kills him]
[The injured bank manager suddenly rises slightly and starts to speak]
Bank Manager: Think youre smart, huh? [the Joker looks at him and starts walking
towards him] The guy that hired you theyll just do the same to you. Criminals in this
town used to believe in things. Honour. Respect. What do you believe in, huh? (shouting
now) What do you believe in? [the Joker puts a grenade into the managers mouth]
The Joker: I believe that whatever doesnt kill you simply makes you - [he pauses as he
removes his mask] stranger.
[The Joker walks away. The grenade is attached to a cord on the Jokers clothing which
catches in the bus doors as they are shut. The bus moves away, pulling the pin out of the
47
grenade. It doesnt explode, and instead it only releases smoke apparently sparing the
managers life. The bus then joins a line of school buses that are passing by the bank.




















48
Appendix C
Transcript of the Gambol Murder scene, featuring the Jokers Scars Story (beginning
around 00:30:09)
Gambol Bodyguard #1: Yo Gambol. Theres somebody here for you. They say theyve just
killed the Joker.
Gambol Bodyguard #2: Theyve brought the body.
[Two more bodyguards walk in, followed by three bounty hunters who claim to have
killed the Joker. The bodyguards are carrying a body wrapped in bin-liners, which they then
place onto a table. Gambol pulls the bin-liner away, revealing the Jokers face]
Gambol [walking away from the body and towards the bounty hunters]: So, dead thats
five-hundred. [The Joker suddenly jumps up, grabs Gambol, and holds a knife to his mouth.
Simultaneously, the bounty-hunters now revealed to be working for the Joker subdue
the bodyguards with knives and guns]
The Joker: How about alive, hmmm? You wanna know how I got these scars? My father
was a drinker, and a fiend. And one night, he goes off crazier than usual. Mommy gets the
kitchen knife to defend herself. He doesnt like that. Not... One... Bit. So me watching he
takes the knife to her, laughing while he does it. He turns to me and he says; why so
serious? He comes at me with the knife; why so serious? He sticks the blade in my
mouth; lets put a smile on that face. And [He trails off and looks towards one of the
bodyguards] Why so serious? [The Joker kills Gambol]


49
Appendix D
Transcript of the Jokers Scars Story as told during Harvey Dents fundraiser
(beginning around 00:50:46)
The Joker [walking towards Rachel Dawes]:
Well hello beautiful. You must be Harveys squeeze? And you are beautiful. [The Joker
starts pacing around Dawes, and then stops in front of her] Oh you look nervous. Is it the
scars? You wanna know how I got em? [He grabs her and holds a knife to her face] Come
here. Hey, look at me. So I had a wife, who was beautiful like you. Who tells me I worry
too much. Who tells me I outta smile more. Who gambles and gets in deep with the sharks.
One day they carve her face, and we have no money for surgeries. She cant take it. I just
wanna see her smile again. I just want her to know that I dont care about the scars! So I
stick a razor in my mouth and do this [points to his facial scars] to myself. And you know
what? She cant stand the sight of me. She leaves. Now I see the funny side. Now Im
always smiling [Dawes kicks him, and he stumbles back, laughing although he is
evidently in pain] A little fight in you [he begins walking towards her, still brandishing his
knife] I like that
Batman: Then youre gonna love me [Batman punches the Joker across the room and begins
fighting the Joker and his gang members]



50
Appendix E
Transcript from part of the J oker I nterrogation scene
(Beginning around 01:27:11)
[Harvey Dent has been kidnapped and the Joker is in police custody. James Gordon
(recently promoted from Lieutenant to Commissioner). Gordon is sitting opposite the Joker
and questioning him about Dents whereabouts. Unknown to Gordon and Batman at this
point, Rachel Dawes has also been kidnapped]
Gordon: Where is he?
The Joker: Whats the time?
Gordon: What difference does that make?
The Joker: Well, depending on the time he may be in one spot or several.
Gordon: If were gonna play games [He begins to unlock the Jokers handcuffs] Im gonna
need a cup of coffee.
[Gordon begins walking towards the door]
The Joker: Ah, the good-cop, bad-cop routine?
Gordon: Not exactly [Gordon walks out of the room, shutting the door behind him.
The interrogation room light turns on - Batman is standing, hidden behind the Joker. He
slams the Jokers head into a table]
The Joker: Never start with the head, the victim gets all fuzzy. You cant feel the next
[Batman slams his fist onto the Jokers hand] See?
Batman: You wanted me, here I am
The Joker: I wanted to see what youd do. And you didnt disappoint. You let five people
51
die. Then you let Dent take your place. Even to a guy like me thats cold.
Batman: Wheres Dent?
The Joker: Those mob fools want you gone so they can get back to the way things were.
But I know the truth. Theres no going back. Youve changed things forever.
Batman: Then why do you wanna kill me?
The Joker: (laughs manically) I dont wanna kill you. What would I do without you, go back
to ripping off mob dealers? No. No. No! No, you you complete me.
Batman: Youre garbage who kills for money
The Joker: Dont talk like one of them. Youre not. Even if youd like to be. To them youre
just a freak. Like me. They need you right now, but when they dont theyll cast you out
like a leper. You see their morals, their code its a bad joke. Youll be dropped at the first
sign of trouble. Theyre only as good as the world allows them to be. Ill show you, when
the chips are down, these civilized people theyll eat each other. See Im not a monster.
Im just ahead of the curve [Batman grabs the Joker and lifts him out of his chair]
Batman: Wheres Dent?
The Joker: You have all these rules and you think theyll save you.
[Batman pushes the Joker up against a wall. The camera briefly cuts to Gordon in the room
next door, watching through the glass]
Gordon [Talking to the other police officers]: Hes in control.
Batman: I have one rule.
The Joker: Then thats the rule youll have to break to know the truth.
Batman: Which is?
The Joker: The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules, and tonight youre
52
gonna break your one rule.
Batman: Im considering it.
The Joker: Theres only a few minutes left so youre gonna have to play my little game if
you wanna save one of them [referring to Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes]
Batman: Yeah?
The Joker: You know for a while there I thought you really were Dent. The way you threw
yourself after her (laughs) [referring to Dawes being thrown through a window during
Harvey Dents fundraiser]
[Visibly angry and frustrated, Batman slams the Joker onto a table]
The Joker: Look at you go!
[Batman moves a chair against the interrogation room door so that the police officers
cannot enter the room]
The Joker: Does Harvey know about you and his little Bunny [Batman slams the Joker
into a window pane damaging it]
Batman: (shouting): Where are they?
The Joker: Killing is making a choice [Batman hits him] You choose between one life or the
other; your friend the District Attorney, or his blushing bride-to-be [The Joker laughs,
Batman hits him again and the Joker continues to laugh hysterically]
The Joker: You have nothing - nothing to threaten me with, nothing to do with all your
strength. [Batman grabs him] Dont worry. Im gonna tell you where they are both of
them. And thats the point. Youll have to choose. Hes at two-hundred-and-fifty 52
nd
street,
53
and shes on Avenue X, at Cicero [Batman drops the Joker and hurries out of the room]





















54
Appendix F
Transcript of the conversation between the Joker and Harvey Dent in the hospital
(starting around 01:47:30)
[The Joker dressed as a nurse - removes the mask around his mouth and sits down next to
Dent. Dent recognises him and starts to struggle but is tied to the hospital bed]
The Joker: Hi [Dent struggles again, then seems to give up] You know, I dont want there to
be any hard feelings between us Harvey. When you and, er -
Dent: [interrupting the Joker and shouting] Rachel!
The Joker: - and Rachel were being abducted, I was sitting in Gordons cage. I didnt rig
those charges.
Dent: Your men - your plan.
The Joker: Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? Im a dog chasing
cars. I wouldnt know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just do things. The
mob has plans. The cops have plans. Gordons got plans. You know, theyre schemers -
schemers trying to control their little worlds. Im not a schemer. I try to show the schemers
how pathetic their attempts to control things really are. So, [The Joker moves closer to
Dent and pats him on the hand] when I say that you and your girlfriend was nothing
personal you know that Im telling the truth.
[The Joker starts to untie Dent]
The Joker: Its the schemers that put you where you are. You were a schemer. You had
plans. And look where that got you. [Dent lunges at the Joker but the Joker holds him back
and restrains him]
55
I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to
this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. You know what, you know what I
noticed? Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying. If
tomorrow I tell the press that like a gangbanger will get shot, or a truck-load of soldiers
will be blown up nobody panics because its all part of the plan. But when I say that
one little-old Mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds [he lets go of Dent and
removes a gun from his clothing] Introduce a little anarchy. [he places the gun into Dents
hand] Upset the established order and everything becomes chaos. [The Joker has his hand
over Dents hand. The Joker points the gun towards his own forehead] Im an agent of
chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? [Dent looks up, intrigued] Its fair [Dent
continues to stare at the Joker, then picks up his lucky coin - now damaged on one side and
resembling Dents scarred face. He holds up the undamaged side] You live
The Joker: Uh huh.
Dent: [Dent holds up the damaged side] You die.
The Joker: (smiling) Now were talking.
[Dent flips the coin and stares at the Joker. The Joker stares back and the scene cuts,
leaving the Jokers fate uncertain]





56
Appendix G
Transcript of Batman and the Jokers conversation during the Jokers final scene
(starting around 02:13:20)
[Batman has just overpowered the Joker and stopped him from blowing up two ferries
travelling across the river containing prison inmates in one boat, and civilians in the other.
In the struggle the Joker ends up falling from a rooftop. Batman then rescues the Joker from
falling and pulls him back up. The Joker is hanging upside down throughout the scene]
The Joker: Oh, you. You just couldnt let me go, could you? This is what happens when an
unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You truly are incorruptible, arent you, huh?
You wont kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness, and I wont kill you
because youre just too much fun (laughs) I think you and I are destined to do this forever.
Batman: Youll be in a padded cell forever.
The Joker: Maybe we could share one? You know, theyll be doubling up, the rate this
citys inhabitants are losing their minds.
Batman: This city just showed you thats its full of people ready to believe in good.
The Joker: Until their spirit breaks completely. Until they get a good look at the real
Harvey Dent. And all the heroic things hes done. You didnt think Id risk losing the battle
for Gothams soul in a fist fight with you? No you need an ace in the hole. Mines
Harvey.
Batman: What did you do?
The Joker: I took Gothams White Knight and I brought him down to our level. It wasnt
hard. You see, madness - as you know is like gravity. All it takes is a little push (laughs
57
hysterically)
[Batman leaves just as a police SWAT team arrive to arrest the Joker, who continues to
laugh]


















58
References, Discography, Filmography, and Bibliography
References
Adorno, T and Eisler, H. (1947) Composing for the Films. 1994 new edition. London: The
Athlone Press.
Attinello, P., Halfyard, J. K., and Knights, V. (2010) Music Sound and Silence in Buffy the
Vampire Slayer. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Limited.
Boucher, G. (2008) Christopher Nolan revisits his favourite scene in Dark Knight
[online] Available at: < http://herocomplex.latimes.com/uncategorized/christopher-n-1/
> [Accessed 26
th
March 2014]
Brown, R. S. (1994) Overtones and Undertones: Reading Film Music. London: University
of California Press.
Jesser, D.J., and Pourroy, J. (2012) The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy.
New York: Abrams.
JoBlo (2008) The Dark Knight Script. Available at: <
http://www.joblo.com/scripts/The_Dark_Knight.pdf > [Accessed 10th April 2014]
Kassabian, A. (2001) Hearing Film: Tracking Identifications in Contemporary Hollywood
Film Music. New York: Routledge. Available through University of South Wales
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February
2014]
Larsen, P. (2005) Film Music. Translated from Norwegian by J.Irons. London: Reaktion
Books Ltd.
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Powrie, P and Stilwell, R. (2006) Changing Tunes: The Use of Pre-existing Music in Film.
Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Limited.
Prendergast, R.M. (1992) Film Music: A Neglected Art. 2
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edition. London: W. W. Norton
& Company Ltd.
Tagg, P (2013) Musics Meanings. Huddersfield: The Mass Media Music Scholars Press.
theMusicFDN (2009) Hans Zimmer: the Conscious of Creating the Film Score
[video online] Youtube. Available at: <
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt5_TB3mB2U&list=PLB931sP9s61sm8MKAbjnha
rTQegnpmSky > [Accessed 6
th
November 2013]
Discography
Williams, J (1997) The Empire Strikes Back The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
(Special Edition) [CD] Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Conducted by
John Williams. United Kingdom: Polydor.
Filmography
Batman (1989) Directed by Tim Burton [Film] United Kingdom / USA: Warner Bros.
Batman Begins (2005) Directed by Christopher Nolan [DVD] United Kingdom / USA:
Warner Home Video.
Batman Returns (1992) Directed by Tim Burton [Film] United Kingdom / USA: Warner
Bros.
The Dark Knight (2008) Directed by Christopher Nolan [DVD] United Kingdom / USA:
Warner Home Video.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012) Directed by Christopher Nolan [DVD] United Kingdom /
USA: Warner Home Video
60
Jaws (1975) Directed by Steven Spielberg [Film] USA: Cinema International Corp.
Lethal Weapon 2 (1987) Directed by Richard Donner [Film] USA: Warner Bros.
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) Directed by Sergio Leone [Film] Italy / USA:
Paramount Pictures.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) Directed by Gore Verbinski
[Film] USA: Buena Vista International.
Pulp Fiction (1994) Directed by Quentin Tarantino [Film] USA: Buena Vista International.
Psycho (1960) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock [Film] USA: Shamley Productions.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Directed by Steven Spielberg [Film] USA: Paramount
Pictures.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) Directed by George Lucas [Film] USA: 20
th

Century Fox.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Directed by Irvin Kershner [Film]
USA: 20
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Century Fox.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Complete DVD Collection (2005) [DVD] United Kingdom:
20
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Century Fox Home Entertainment.
7 .4 Bibliography
Billington, A (2008) Interview: Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard on the Dark
Knights Score [online] FirstShowing.net. Available at: <
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61
Scott Feinberg. Hans Zimmer Interviewed by Scott Feinberg [video online] Youtube.
Available at: <
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