‘Phantom Thread’ is set in the glamour of 1950s post-war London, where renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants, and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.
With ‘Phantom Thread’, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson paints an illuminating portrait both of an artist on a creative journey and the women who keep his world running. ‘Phantom Thread’ is Anderson’s eighth movie, and his second collaboration with Daniel Day-Lewis. The film’s soundtrack includes eighteen compositions by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. It was recorded in London with a sixty-member string orchestra conducted by Robert Ziegler and is featured more prominently in the film than any of Greenwood’s scores have been before.
The composer said: “We talked a lot about ’50s music, what was popularly heard then as well as what was being written and recorded. Nelson Riddle and Glenn Gould’s Bach recordings were the main references. I was interested in the kind of jazz records that toyed with incorporating big string sections; Ben Webster made some good ones.” Greenwood continues, “The smaller groups, and solo players, work like close-ups [and] not necessarily to accompany [a] visual, but rather, to focus your attention on and make you feel directly engaged with the characters. The bigger orchestral things often worked best for drawing you back to see the bigger situation.”
Anderson and Greenwood’s previous collaborations include the soundtrack for Academy Award–winning ‘There Will Be Blood’ (2007), ‘The Master’ (2012), and ‘Inherent Vice’ (2014), all released by Nonesuch. Indiewire says of their collaboration: ‘Paul Thomas Anderson fans are well accustomed to how instrumental Jonny Greenwood’s music is to the auteur’s body of work. Whether it’s the foreboding strings in ‘There Will Be Blood’ or the discordant percussion in ‘The Master’, Greenwood’s original scores expertly capture Anderson’s tones. This fact is especially true in ‘Phantom Thread’, which marks the fourth collaboration between Anderson and Greenwood.’