Hitchcock had Bernard Herrmann. Spielberg had John Williams. And Kenneth Branagh has Patrick Doyle…the good-luck music charm from the early days who has never left his side.
Doyle was born in Scotland, and studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, which landed him an early gig at Renaissance Productions (a.k.a. Kenneth Branagh's Big Box of Shakespearean Theater). He composed a lot of music to accompany Branagh's theatrical productions, and when Citizen Ken made the leap to movies, he took Doyle with him.
It started really early, with a TV production of Twelfth Night in 1988. Henry V followed in 1989, and Doyle quickly parlayed that into a full-bore career in film composition.
He didn't limited himself to Branagh's films, of course: composing music for the likes of Donnie Brasco, Bridget Jones's Diary and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (all of which remain surprisingly Branagh-free).
But Our Man Pat is nothing if not loyal, and whenever Branagh has called, he's answered. Their work together includes the likes of Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Mark Shelley's Frankenstein, and the live-action version of Cinderella. Naturally when Thor came along, Branagh tasked him with composing a full suite of Music for Bashing Frost Giants.
Doyle took some loose cues for Richard Wagner, the bombastic (and disturbingly racist) opera composer responsible for "Ride of the Valkyries," among others. He nails the thunderous sense of Wagner here, with its grand sweeping gestures and echoes of cities in the clouds.
But he skews more positive that Wagner's fearsome pounding, adding a grace and an elegance that you might not expect from a summer popcorn flick. It fit the material like a glove, and while it might not be the most popular Marvel soundtrack, it certainly gave this film's hero a theme he deserved.
Doyle hasn't stopped, of course. In addition to composing music for more Branagh joints —including Cinderella and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit—he's handled other big projects like Pixar's Brave and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
The man's in demand, but he's clearly not going to forget about the director who first brought him to the film fame party.