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 Posted:   Mar 10, 2008 - 8:22 PM   
 By:   Ford A. Thaxton   (Member)

Here is a great piece by Jon Burlingame about one of the great staff composer's of Hollywood's Golden Age,George Duning.

http://filmmusicsociety.org/news_events/features/2008/022508.html

I hope that some of you know who he was...


Ford A. Thaxton

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 10, 2008 - 8:26 PM   
 By:   franz_conrad   (Member)

I do like THE DEVIL AT 4 O'CLOCK. If I hadn't gotten that one for review, I probably wouldn't know Duning's work at all, which I imagine is unfortunately true for many.

 
 Posted:   Mar 10, 2008 - 9:59 PM   
 By:   Lukas Kendall   (Member)

Thanks Ford - good article by Jon Burlingame.

We have four CDs with Duning scores in the FSM catalog:

THE DEVIL AT 4 O'CLOCK
TOYS IN THE ATTIC
BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE/1001 ARABIAN NIGHTS
ANY WEDNESDAY

I'm a fan.

Listen to this and tell me if it could come from a Star Trek episode for the Enterprise out of control...

http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/store/MP3/0809/06_BIG_QUAKE_AND_TREK.MP3

And if I told you this was early Goldsmith, would you fall for it?

http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/store/MP3/0809/02_THEME_FOR_CAMILE.MP3

Incidentally, Duning's regular orchestrator was Arthur Morton, who later worked for Jerry. This is not to imply that Morton was writing anything for either composer, but you never know how colleagues can influence each other as far as technique. Both Duning and Goldsmith are notable for the economy of their writing and a certain faithfulness and simplicity to the on-screen storytelling that speaks well of what film composers ought to do.

LK

 
 Posted:   Mar 10, 2008 - 10:13 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

PICNIC and 3:10 TO YUMA are fine scores. I am still waiting for a burned CDR of the old BIG VALLEY lp from a friend.

BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE is a comedic music delight.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 10, 2008 - 11:44 PM   
 By:   PeterD   (Member)

He also wrote a very effective score for THE WRECK OF THE MARY DEARE; maybe that'll make it to CD someday also.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 11, 2008 - 1:13 AM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

I have never heard a Duning score that I didn't love. One of my happiest moments was when I watched the original airing of one of The Partridge Family episodes I acted in, and this beautiful score was playing under one of my big scenes - and then the credits came on and it was Duning.

If people here have not bought the FSM Duning discs it is, for me, incomprehensible, since he was one of the greats and his scores make for delightful listens. So, take a chance, you holdouts - I can't imagine you'd be disappointed.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 11, 2008 - 3:20 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I think I have two Duning CD's. One is THE BIG VALLEY, which - to be honest - I don't really like that much except for the "going to church" cue in the beginning. The other is FSM's ANY WEDNESDAY, which was coupled with Williams' NOT WITH MY WIFE YOU DON'T. This I like, though. Light, breezy fun.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 11, 2008 - 8:09 AM   
 By:   TomD   (Member)

Incidentally, Duning's regular orchestrator was Arthur Morton, who later worked for Jerry. This is not to imply that Morton was writing anything for either composer, but you never know how colleagues can influence each other as far as technique. Both Duning and Goldsmith are notable for the economy of their writing and a certain faithfulness and simplicity to the on-screen storytelling that speaks well of what film composers ought to do.

LK


I recently watched the thriller NIGHTFALL (1956), scored by Duning, orchestrated by Morton. It didn't sound like Goldsmith music, but I kept hearing "Jerry-like" orchestral sounds here and there.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 11, 2008 - 11:42 AM   
 By:   rerunkr   (Member)

Just for the record... As a friend and colleague of George Duning, I would like to add my appreciation of this great composer, but foremost, I would like to let everyone know that this was one of the finest gentlemen I have ever met in the film business.

He was a caring and understanding man who took time away from his busy schedule at Columbia Pictures in 1961 to watch a Columbia Pictures film that I had just composed the music for in New York City. It was my first major film composing job. He subsequently wrote a personal letter to me telling me how well he thought that I had handled the subject matter and that my work was certainly first rate and completely professional.

Upon my moving to California in 1963, he befriended and encouraged me in my career, so far, as to inviting my wife and I to several of his annual Christmas parties at his home.

He is one of the few in the business I can write this glowingly about.

Stu Phillips

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 11, 2008 - 12:10 PM   
 By:   zippy   (Member)

Thank you Stu!

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 11, 2008 - 12:50 PM   
 By:   vinylscrubber   (Member)

Duning is, indeed, a vastly under-rated composer. I've always loved his main title for TWO RODE TOGETHER.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 11, 2008 - 1:29 PM   
 By:   MMM   (Member)

Duning was both a superb composer as well as a very nice gentleman. When we recorded some of his music he went out of his way to help us in any way he could, and even when we weren't working on his music he and his wife Lois were always very friendly. I made him CD copies of his "Manhattan Sounds," a song cycle that he was very proud of and wanted to give to many of his friends. He always let me know how appreciative he was of that.

Duning wrote scores for so many Columbia films that have barely been seen over the years, and it's a pity that more of his music hasn't been released. When we were researching his music at USC we were pleased to see that so many of his written scores were preserved at USC, but it was also sad knowing that because he didn't have "big name recognition," it was unlikely that most of this music would ever be recorded and released.

One of my favorite Duning scores is from the superb TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH, a 1948 movie about drug smuggling that is sort of a precursor to the James Bond adventures in how it takes you all around the world trying to get the bad guys. Besides all the original scores Duning wrote for Columbia, his music became a very prominent part of the studio's music library, and you can hear endless Duning cues in so many of their films that used tracked music, such as PIRATES OF TRIPOLI, WOMEN'S PRISON, and many of the Columbia film series, such as JUNGLE JIM. While a lot of his album/CD releases focused on his lighter, comedic scores, this was just one small part of his output, as most of the films he scored during his Columbia tenure were serious dramas. I think that if he had worked at a larger studio, with a better reputation for music, he'd be much more highly regarded today, because he was an extremely gifted and versatile composer in so many areas -- not just film music.

An "under the cover of darkness" album slipped out decades ago, containing original tracks from NO SAD SONGS FOR ME, LAST ANGRY MAN, FULL OF LIFE, and COUNT 3 AND PRAY. I have no idea what the source of the music was, but perhaps at some time somebody will rediscover these and other Duning music tracks and give them a proper CD release so that more of his brilliant output can be heard.

 
 Posted:   Mar 11, 2008 - 1:31 PM   
 By:   Jeff Bond   (Member)

He is way underrated. I remember talking about Star Trek scores I hoped would be released some day with a friend of mine and mentioned "Metamorphosis" and the guy (a huge, hardcore Trekkie) said "How about one of the GOOD ones?" I remember being put off initially by Duning's Trek work which initially sounded soapy and overly sentimental to me, but the more I heard it the more I loved it. He had a unique style, wrote fantastic "love music" as well as dynamic, exciting action music. The finale to Devil at Four O'Clock is hair-raising in its emotional power. It's amazing how many people just don't "get" his music...

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 11, 2008 - 1:42 PM   
 By:   Melchior   (Member)

There was even an Duning article in the last Filmdienst, a German film magazine.

One of my faves is Me and the Colonel.

 
 Posted:   Mar 11, 2008 - 4:25 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

"The Big Valley" is one of my favorite TV themes and certainly my all-time favorite piece of Duning's work.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 11, 2008 - 5:27 PM   
 By:   riotengine   (Member)



I recently watched the thriller NIGHTFALL (1956), scored by Duning, orchestrated by Morton. It didn't sound like Goldsmith music, but I kept hearing "Jerry-like" orchestral sounds here and there.


I love Nightfall. I haven't seen it in a while, but I plan to watch it later this week. I'll definitely listen more attentively to the Duning score.

Greg Espinoza

 
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