Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 Posted:   Apr 23, 2021 - 7:11 PM   
 By:   JRP   (Member)

I would buy a Frank Skinner box set - or ANYTHING released of his - in a heartbeat. I know all his older scores are lost but maybe there’s copies? So many things seem to keep turning up over the years.. anything’s possible, right?

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 24, 2021 - 6:51 AM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

I would buy a Frank Skinner box set - or ANYTHING released of his - in a heartbeat. I know all his older scores are lost but maybe there’s copies?

For many years copies have been floating around among collectors of the acetate discs which Skinner himself had of HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES, ARABIAN NIGHTS and BACK STREET - oddly, all of these date from around the same time of the early 40s. And you can find these acetates - as well as those of SABOTEUR (six 78rpm acetate records), also early 40s - in the Frank Skinner collection which is housed at the University of Illinois. Have a look here:
https://www.library.illinois.edu/mpal/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2016/12/Skinner_Collection_List.pdf

Besides these four scores there seem to be six more 78rpm acetate discs, but their content has not been discclosed on that website. Maybe also with several tracks from the time of the early 40s.
But in this collection there seem to be no acetates or tapes of his 50s scores. I don´t know whether anyone has an explanation for this why only material for some of those early 40s scores exists in this collection, but nothing for the later ones.
And of course it gets very difficult if the composer himself didn´t have tape copies of at least a few of his 50s scores. A lot of original manuscripts of the scores are there, but apparently not tape copies.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 24, 2021 - 2:56 PM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

I have now found a much more detailed and really fascinating list of the Skinner collection at the University of Illinois. Here it is:
https://archon.library.illinois.edu/?p=collections/findingaid&id=11811&q=-1%25252527

There are detailed cue sheets with track titles for all the score manuscripts where you can see for example all the track titles for each score, which track had been composed by someone else than Skinner, of which classical pieces Skinner made use for several tracks in a score or from which other score a track was reused etc.
For example, it was completeley new to me that half of the score for the 1946 film noir THE DARK MIRROR had been composed by Skinner and only the other half by Dimitri Tiomkin who then got the official credit.

And we get a list there of all the existing acetate discs often even with track titles. It is highly interesting that apparently most of the SABOTEUR acetates had been wrongly titled in the original binder where they had been. In fact, for the most part other scores can be found there so that there are probably only about four actual acetate discs which really contain music tracks from SABOTEUR.
It is a bit unfortunate that the archivists of the University couldn´t identify most of them and therefore mostly wrote "probably not from "Saboteur", but it is not that difficult as you already have most of the track titles in the summary sheets for the individual manuscripts - which is the first list on that website.

What I could therefore easily identify till now is the following:

There is even one acetate disc with 8 tracks from Skinner´s excellent score for the 1952 adventure movie THE WORLD IN HIS ARMS by Raoul Walsh. Wow! For me one of the best scores that Skinner had ever written.
These are the tracks on the wrongly titled "Saboteur" disc 1. It is totally clear that these tracks are from THE WORLD IN HIS ARMS (from reel 10 and 11 of the film) as you can also find the same track titles in the track listing of the manuscript for this score:

"Disc 25: Saboteur, Disc 1. A: World in Arms, Reel 10. B: World in Arms, Reel 11, Reel 10 pieces include: 1. "On Trial," 2. "50 Lashes," 3, Marinas Sacrifice," 4. "Back to Sitka," 5 "Russian Dance."?? Reel 11 pieces include: 1. "Arrival in Sitka," 2. "Russian Dance," 3. "In the Kingdom of?? Heaven."?? Acetate, direct cut."

We have even four(!) discs with tracks from the 1951 film noir THE RAGING TIDE with Shelley Winters and Richard Conte. These tracks are on these wrongly titled "Saboteur" discs:

"Disc 27: Saboteur, Disc 3. A: Raging Tide, Prince Murdered. B: Main Title: Raging Tide, Reel 1, undated.Acetate, direct cut. Note: Reel number on side A is not clear, but is possibly Reel 1A.
Disc 29: Saboteur, Disc 5. A: Accordian Music, Raging Tide. B: Carl Apologizes.Acetate, direct cut.
Disc 30: Saboteur, Disc 6. A: Raging Tide, Reel 3. B: Raging Tide, Reel 4, undated. Acetate, direct cut. Pieces on side A include: (D) "New Music," (E) "Kelsey Montage."?? Pieces on side B include: (A) "Fish Hooks."
Disc 31: Saboteur, Disc 7. A: Raging Tide, Albacore Fishing, Calling Kelsey, Stormy Sea. B: Conne Moves Over"

Then "Saboteur" disc 9 includes three tracks from the comedy FRANCIS GOES TO THE RACES also from 1951:

"Disc 33: Saboteur, Disc 9. A. Back To the Stables; Francis. B: Operation Francis. Acetate, direct cut."

The wrongly titled "Saboteur" disc 4 has the "Ziegfeld Finale" from the MGM musical THE GREAT ZIEGFELD from 1936 on which Skinner had worked as musical arranger:

"Disc 28: Saboteur. Disc 4. A.: Ziegfeld Finale, Part 1. B: Ziegreld Finale, Part 2, undated. Probably not from Saboteur, although the disc was in the Saboteur binder. Recording is on Recordings... Inc. label."

In addition acetate disc 18 "Frank Skinner Music" has two tracks from SON OF FRANKENSTEIN from 1939:

"Disc 18: Frank Skinner Music, Disc 4. A: Looking For a Monster, Part 1. B: Looking For a Monster, Part 2. Acetate, direct cut."

Someone living in the US and very much interested in Skinnner should at least contact one of the three archivists at the University of Illinois who have put together these lists and tell them about those 8 tracks from THE WORLD IN HIS ARMS and the four acetate discs from THE RAGING TIDE as these are important findings!

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 24, 2021 - 4:01 PM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

Anybody interested in listening to mp3 samples of the various SABOTEUR acetate discs at the University of Illinois?
Here is the link:
https://archon.library.illinois.edu/index.php?p=core%2Fsearch&q=saboteur&content=0

And mp3 samples of the five "Frank Skinner Music" acetate discs which for the most part (except disc 18 with those two tracks from SON OF FRANKENSTEIN) are still unidentified:
https://archon.library.illinois.edu/index.php?p=core%2Fsearch&q=frank+skinner+music&content=0

After listening to the clips it is clear now that there are four acetate discs of SABOTEUR at the University of Illinois (probably not quite the complete score):
Disc 10, Disc 11, Disc 12 and Disc 13.
The three archivists write on their website that the tracks on Disc 12 may probably be not from SABOTEUR as there is "no identifying label on either side identifying", but thats´s wrong: The tracks which can be listened to are quite clearly also from the SABOTEUR score.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 26, 2021 - 9:53 AM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

In addition acetate disc 18 "Frank Skinner Music" has two tracks from SON OF FRANKENSTEIN from 1939:

"Disc 18: Frank Skinner Music, Disc 4. A: Looking For a Monster, Part 1. B: Looking For a Monster, Part 2. Acetate, direct cut."


In the meantime I could identify the tracks of two more of the "Frank Skinner Music" acetate discs in that collection at the University of Illinois:

Acetate disc 15 "Frank Skinner Music, Disc 1" apparently contains two takes of the Main Title from the 1940 comedy HIRED WIFE with Rosalind Russell:

"Disc 15: Frank Skinner Music, Disc 1. A and B: Frank Skinner Music, undated"

And disc 17 "Frank Skinner Music, Disc 3" contains several tracks from the colonial drama THE SUN NEVER SETS with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Basil Rathbone from 1939.
The track "Inspiration" on side A comes from a long love scene from the middle part of this movie:

"Disc 17: Frank Skinner Music, Disc 3. A: Inspiration. B: Unrest Montage; London Montage; Merrily We Roll Along; Pop Goes the Weasel, undated."

 
 Posted:   Apr 27, 2021 - 2:35 AM   
 By:   panphoto   (Member)

Thanks for posting. Wonderfully mouthwatering samples. All I can say, along with others, is that my wallet is ever open for Frank Skinner's music. Has anyone heard from Bruce of late?

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 27, 2021 - 4:15 AM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

And another short update:

Funnily, with the help of Skinner´s book "Underscore" which he had written in 1950 I could now also identify the tracks on the wrongly titled "Saboteur Disc 14". When listening to the nice love theme on side B of this acetate I had at first thought of Max Ophüls´ adventure film THE EXILE from 1947 where a similar melody appears, but it is not from there. In fact, the two tracks on the acetate come from THE FIGHTING O´FLYNN from 1949 which also starred Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Skinner´s own book is full of musical examples of his score for that rather unknown swashbuckler movie (which in the book is always called THE IRISHMAN) - which unfortunately is not on Youtube - and therefore - by reading those musical notes in the book - it is not that difficult to identify the theme. That love theme is called there "Katie & Charles". Therefore the track on side A of that disc is of course also from this film:

"Disc 38: Saboteur, Disc 14. A: Part 4. B: untitled, undated. Included in Saboteur binder, but possibly not from the movie Saboteur. Title on record label does not fit with format for Saboteur recordings. Recording label from Columbia Recording Corp., not Universal Pictures."

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2021 - 7:24 AM   
 By:   Broughtfan   (Member)

Does anyone know if there was a soundtrack released of Skinner’s score for “The Fighting O’Flynn?” May have been just a ‘B’ film, but Skinner gives it the ‘A’ film treatment. Wonderful, varied score.

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2021 - 7:29 AM   
 By:   Broughtfan   (Member)

And another short update:

Funnily, with the help of Skinner´s book "Underscore" which he had written in 1950 I could now also identify the tracks on the wrongly titled "Saboteur Disc 14". When listening to the nice love theme on side B of this acetate I had at first thought of Max Ophüls´ adventure film THE EXILE from 1947 where a similar melody appears, but it is not from there. In fact, the two tracks on the acetate come from THE FIGHTING O´FLYNN from 1949 which also starred Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Skinner´s own book is full of musical examples of his score for that rather unknown swashbuckler movie (which in the book is always called THE IRISHMAN) - which unfortunately is not on Youtube - and therefore - by reading those musical notes in the book - it is not that difficult to identify the theme. That love theme is called there "Katie & Charles". Therefore the track on side A of that disc is of course also from this film:

"Disc 38: Saboteur, Disc 14. A: Part 4. B: untitled, undated. Included in Saboteur binder, but possibly not from the movie Saboteur. Title on record label does not fit with format for Saboteur recordings. Recording label from Columbia Recording Corp., not Universal Pictures."


Wonder why he had to rename the film (and film characters) for “Underscore?”

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2021 - 9:57 AM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

Wonder why he had to rename the film (and film characters) for “Underscore?”

During the last few days I have noticed - by looking a bit more closely - that Skinner "cheated" a bit in his book "Underscore" - so that could be one of the reasons why he renamed the film THE IRISHMAN. In the book the main character of the film is called O´Toole and not O´Flynn, but above all for the purpose of his book Skinner invented a subplot which is not from the THE FIGHTING O´FLYNN, but from the 1947 swashbuckler THE EXILE - both films of course starred Douglas Fairbanks jr.
I noticed this as I viewed THE EXILE again just two weeks ago.
Skinner writes in his book:
"There was a secondary love story running through the script involving English characters who were associated with the heroine´s father in the diplomatic service. It was of a rather serious nature so I wrote a theme that was the opposite of the Irish one - sympathetic and sincere.
There was another character in the story who intrigued me. She was a French countess whom O´Toole had met in his wanderings, and she went to Ireland to see him."

I haven´t seen THE FIGHTING O´FLYNN myself, but it s absolutely clear now that Katie & Charles (and therefore the love theme for this so-called subplot) and the French countess actually are the main characters from THE EXILE. Of course Skinner doesn´t ever mention THE EXILE in the book, but this apparently gave him the opportunity to present a few more themes in the book which in fact had not been composed for THE FIGHTING O´FLYNN at all.
Unfortunately, I also let myself deceive at first by this Katie & Charles theme and have to correct myself. So the music on that acetate is probably not from THE FIGHTING O´FLYNN and distantly related to THE EXILE, but I am still puzzling over where it really comes from.

On the other hand, what is totally clear in the meantime is that there exist altogether four acetate discs of Skinner´s SABOTEUR from 1942 with almost 35 minutes of music at the University of Illinois. Missing is only music from the first reel (about the first 20 minutes of the film - not much music in the film during these first 20 minutes anyway - and therefore also the Main Title), all the other dramatic underscore is there on the acetates and even available in chronological sequencing. There is also some additional music (about 7-8 minutes) which was not used in the picture itself (above all a rather long music track with about 3 minutes for the dialogue sequence between the heavy Fry and Patricia inside the Statue of Liberty near the end of the movie). By courtesy of the University of Illinois I got the opportunity to listen to all the tracks on those four acetates and could therefore make an analysis of them with a detailed track listing. You can find it on their Skinner finding aid website
A label like Intrada or LLL could probably release those 35 minutes - most of the important music tracks of the score are on the acetates - and easily add the Main Title directly from the film - it could be done in about the same way that Waxman´s BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN got released in the Universal Classics series. However, if there is not sufficient interest on behalf of Universal or the labels themselves, then we won´t see such a CD release in the future.

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2021 - 11:02 AM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

Does anyone know if there was a soundtrack released of Skinner’s score for “The Fighting O’Flynn?”

There was never any soundtrack release of that score.

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2021 - 11:57 AM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

Double post. Sorry.

 
 Posted:   May 22, 2021 - 1:43 PM   
 By:   panphoto   (Member)

I've read that Skinner was among the "victims" of the terrible Universal-fire in 2008. So afaik no Decca-masters survived. So there won't be any new Skinner releases.

Even though the Decca masters (owned by UMG) may have been destroyed in the Universal fire, there is still the possibility that the original elements for at least some 60s scores by Skinner may have survived at Universal. For example such titles as MIDNIGHT LACE, PORTRAIT IN BLACK, SHENANDOAH, CAPTAIN NEWMAN M.D., THE APPALOOSA etc.
However, the big question nowadays is whether Universal (together with one of our specialty labels) will be interested to release any of these in their Universal Classics CD series or if it is just not rewarding for them at all as probably not more than 500 copies could be sold of most of these titles.


What would be the problem with modestly increasing the price point on such an issue to encourage one of the archive labels? I'd certainly be prepared to pay 50% more to reflect the special nature of such an issue. Is there a taboo about not going above $19.95? Who knows, given the way markets behave, the mere mention of such rarity value might see them fly off the shelves in days to people who have yet to hear a note of Skinner's music!

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2021 - 4:47 PM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

What would be the problem with modestly increasing the price point on such an issue to encourage one of the archive labels? I'd certainly be prepared to pay 50% more to reflect the special nature of such an issue. Is there a taboo about not going above $19.95? Who knows, given the way markets behave, the mere mention of such rarity value might see them fly off the shelves in days to people who have yet to hear a note of Skinner's music!

You should pose this question either to Doug Fake or to MV Gerhard. But personally I don´t think it´s as easy as you describe it - above all as nowadays most of the soundtrack CDs have lost their former rarity value with all those reissues of reissues coming along all the time and with the digital download/streaming competition. Also the time of all those eBay speculators who ensured that limited Varese Club and Intrada CD sold out immediately and became rare more than 10 years ago is long over.
And don´t forget that not every collector will be willing to pay a steep price for a CD with an older score even though he may have some kind of interest in it. Certainly there are some - maybe a few dozen - who will be willing to do so, but will it be the majority of lets say about 500 people and will such a number be sufficient for a label to break even? I doubt it as otherwise the labels would have already tried out such a proposal.
And then there is the factor that apparently Universal always wants to have CD editions with 3000 copies - just look at the Unviersal Heritage/Universal Classics CD of the last few years - all of them were limited to 3000 copies.
Such a pressing quantity for a Skinner CD is simply utopian.

 
 
 Posted:   May 22, 2021 - 4:59 PM   
 By:   Broughtfan   (Member)

Five Academy Award nominations tells me he must have been pretty well respected by his colleagues in the major studios. I think he and George Duning (both from the US Midwest) were two of the most underrated talents of the Golden Age era (or at least up to the time of the demise of the studio system).

 
 
 Posted:   May 23, 2021 - 4:01 AM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

Five Academy Award nominations tells me he must have been pretty well respected by his colleagues in the major studios. I think he and George Duning (both from the US Midwest) were two of the most underrated talents of the Golden Age era (or at least up to the time of the demise of the studio system).

I can certainly agree with you, but is all of this of any relevance to a US specialty label´s decision whether to release or not release an old Skinner score on CD? We live in quite different times nowadays and much more important is the current soundtrack market situation which dictates what gets released and what not. And it is a sad fact that from year to year we lose more and more Golden Age collectors who unfortunately won´t get replaced by other, younger persons interested in the music of that era so that there is less and less room for someone like Skinner. If nothing happens now, even less will happen in the future.

 
 
 Posted:   May 23, 2021 - 7:09 AM   
 By:   Broughtfan   (Member)

Five Academy Award nominations tells me he must have been pretty well respected by his colleagues in the major studios. I think he and George Duning (both from the US Midwest) were two of the most underrated talents of the Golden Age era (or at least up to the time of the demise of the studio system).

I can certainly agree with you, but is all of this of any relevance to a US specialty label´s decision whether to release or not release an old Skinner score on CD? We live in quite different times nowadays and much more important is the current soundtrack market situation which dictates what gets released and what not. And it is a sad fact that from year to year we lose more and more Golden Age collectors who unfortunately won´t get replaced by other, younger persons interested in the music of that era so that there is less and less room for someone like Skinner. If nothing happens now, even less will happen in the future.


I was only commenting because I'm a fan of the man's music. I know that if there was some commercial release of his scores I would be highly interested in acquiring whatever was made available. The fact that he was respected by his colleagues of the time might not affect a release decision one way or another (though, as a longtime film music aficionado, it impresses me that he was regarded as the "real deal" rather than a hack).

 
 
 Posted:   May 23, 2021 - 3:37 PM   
 By:   filmusicnow   (Member)

I think the reason the Moscow Symphony Orchestra's rerecording od "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein" may have to do with licensing images of Abbott & Costello on the C.D. cover art.

 
 
 Posted:   May 30, 2021 - 9:17 AM   
 By:   Sepp Santana   (Member)

I can only say that I will always have room on my shelfs for anything related to Golden Age, even more in the case of Skinner, Roy Webb, Hershell Burke Gilbert, Buttolph, Amfitheatrof, Leith Stevens and other not so unsung composers (not only americans...)

I'm only 45 and, simply put, I grew up and enjoyed watching 'their' movies as filmakers they were. How am I going to forget a movie like "The world in his arms"? If something survives from the Gregory Peck movie -an absolute classic- in a private collection as Mr. Schlegel said, or from any other Skinner, I wish it would be considered later (if I'm not mistaken, the Intrada's Franz Waxman 4-CD set at MGM had a very, very long development of almost... 10 years?)

From here, I would like to thank to all the specialized labels that have had the courage, the interest, the passion to bring us closer the work of these people, some more anonymous than others, from Rózsa and Herrmann (or Goldsmith and Bernstein) to Albert Glasser, Robert Emmett Dolan or Heinz Roemheld.

It has been possible to preserve the legacy of many composers throughout these last two decades thanks to all the specialized labels; I have the impression that there are very few proper Hollywood names left to do justice, as far as possible: Buttolph at FOX (or even better, Henry Hathaway at FOX, an idea that i am convinced Bruce Kimmell wanted to accomplish), the "doubtful" Skinner at Universal, Hans Salter??? .... and a little 'here' and 'there'.
(I'm sorry for Roy Webb; I would be glad if it only happened by miracle that one of his works, "Track of the cat" or "The enchanted cottage" or "The seventh cross", appeared out of nowhere to everyone's surprise).

Talking is easy, facts are showed stubborn. But do not be discouraged...... Kenyon Hopkins fans included.

 
 
 Posted:   May 30, 2021 - 9:49 AM   
 By:   Stefan Schlegel   (Member)

How am I going to forget a movie like "The world in his arms"? If something survives from the Gregory Peck movie -an absolute classic- in a private collection as Mr. Schlegel said, or from any other Skinner, I wish it would be considered later.

The acetate in the University of Illinois contains 8 mostly short cues with altogether 8 minutes from THE WORLD IN HIS ARMS. Those 8 minutes come from the last 15 minutes of the movie. Side A of the disc starts with the scene where Gregory Peck is put on trial by the Russians and then gets whipped with 50 lashes. All the following cues appear in the chronological sequence of the movie. However, three of the cues - the "Russian Dance" which gets repeated on side B and the Russian choral piece "In the Kingdom of Heaven" - are source music pieces. Unfortunately, there is therefore not that much music composed by Skinner himself on this disc, although the rousing main theme can at least be enjoyed in the cue "Back to Sitka" on side A of the disc.

 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2021 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved...