The late composer Bernard Herrmann “made life easier for good films,” says David Thomson in a recent Guardian piece. Many Alfred Hitchcock films in particular — Vertigo, Psycho, North by Northwest (the final act of this film is nearly a Hermann symphony in itself), The Man Who Knew Too Much — as well as Citizen Kane, Taxi Driver, The Day The Earth Stood Still, et. al. This may sound insignificant, but I feel Hermann’s most delicious accomplishments are his incidental mood pieces in thrillers, in particular the ones that seem to say “be careful…bad stuff could quite easily happen to this character.” Here are three sublime samples from that closing portion of North by Northwest…they take you right into the film. Thomson apparently got on the Herrmann topic because the San Francisco Symphony (under Michael Tilson Thomas) will perform some Hermann compositions next July (or were they performed last July?…can’t quite follow). Herrmann would probably be perplexed, Thomson feels. “A tribute? Thank you, very nice, but no cigar. Why are you playing the music without the movie? Don’t you get it — they are married. They want to be in bed together.”