Unfortunately, I would have to disagree with this assessment of the "magnificence" of most film music, even when coming from the glittering names of those mentioned by Mr. Thompson (I am _deeply_ familiar with them all and am _especially_ fond of Mr. Rozsa's many epic scores). I would _not_ put any of those names on the same level of composition at which Bruckner, Brahms, Wagner, Schubert, Beethoven, etc., all rest.
I also believe that "great" film scoring is hardly _just_ an "American" phenomenon. One could certainly appreciate the work of Nino Rota, Prokofiev, Ennio Morricone, Toru Takemitsu, Philippe Sarde, Shostakovich, Akira Ifukube, and many more (including some notable _new_ names), none of whom are or were American. And we also must remember to not confuse "symphonic" (in the sense that the great symphonists knew) with "orchestral." Film composers may treat their material in "symphonic" ways, but we do _not_ derive symphonies from these scores, except by "Frankenstein Monster" method.
I also would not condemn Mr. Smith for being "elitist" in his assessment. I, for one, understood _exactly_ what he meant.
(And I think I'll listen to Rozsa's "Ben-Hur" and Howard Shore's "Lord of the Rings" scores later this week. ;-)