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 Posted:   Oct 10, 2020 - 12:03 PM   
 By:   Ray Faiola   (Member)

LOL that was great! VOLUME 3 holy cow you've got 'em all!! Thank you for making my day.


Here are the links to 1, 2, and 4:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKo8bkpIsNw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpQpFuCYkrA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8bUh3sOH4I

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2020 - 2:31 AM   
 By:   Stephen Butler   (Member)

@Ray:
A total of almost 20 hours of main title music! I don't want to underestimate the contribution you have made to film music study with your website and YouTube channel, your work on the BYU CDs, and most recently (for me) the brilliant adaptation of the KING KONG soundtrack for the unutterably thrilling concert at BYU last year. You have my eternal gratitude. Thank you so much.

@Howard L:
I'm absolutely with you re ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES. For me, he died that way in order to teach those youngsters a lesson. It couldn't be any other way to my mind. The fact that we only see it in shadow form is a moment of Curtiz expressionism. It's one of my favourite sequences in film. You could probably write a whole book on that sequence alone. Or at least use it as a springboard to discuss films whose finales are as open-ended as that one is.

Incidentally, AwDF was the first time that orchestrator HUGO FRIEDHOFER received screen credit as an orchestrator under Max Steiner (he had previously been credited for his arrangements for ROBIN HOOD (Korngold) and VALLEY OF THE GIANTS (Deutsch) at Warners). Although we have already credited Steiner for his sheer creative burst during the years 1938-1940, spare a thought for Friedhofer, who (according to my calculation) worked on an impressive 37 films during those three years, scoring out not just Steiner's intentions, but those of Korngold, Deutsch, Roemheld, Waxman, etc. Oh, and he scored two films himself - THE ADVENTURES of MARCO POLO (1938) and TOPPER TAKES A TRIP (1939). And Friedhofer's work was always immaculately calligraphed.
Here's a link to FRIEDHOFER's web page, now sadly no longer 'on the internet,' but still viewable by the excellent WAYBACK MACHINE:

https://web.archive.org/web/20190818070523/https://hugofriedhofer.dudaone.com/filmography

x

PS If you dig deeper into the former Friedhofer website, you can find all sorts of goodies, such as two interviews, one with Ray and one with James D'Arc, which are fascinating reads, both of them - up there with Friedhofer's 1974 oral history which I read somewhere (I forget where). Cheers!

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2020 - 5:54 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

I'm going to have to set time aside and dig into those Friedhofer references. Twenty years ago I and "Dutch" went ape on a couple The Best Years Of Our Lives threads (one of 'em is still around) and he even sent me some cue sheets or whatever. Point being that it ranks up there in the top 5 of all time and may be #1 for me, him, et al. To think he cut his teeth orchestrating for all these pioneers and then he goes and creates his own celebrated masterpiece. The talent he had and was surrounded by!

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 12, 2020 - 9:07 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

In a way I’m sorry I finished this wonderful biography. It is so full of interesting information about Max Steiner.

I know I will often reference this book. There are so many movies scored by him that I’ve not seen, and when they come on TCM, I want to reference this book again rereading their scores, and then watch these movies with a more learned and attuned ear.

A lot tragedy existed in his personal life when it came to issues like continuous debt, various wives, family life etc. Some of this tragedy was his own fault. However, when life became almost unbearably difficult, he would always return to his love of his life which was composing. It brought him “joy.”

Certainly, Steiner’s contemporaries and composers coming after Steiner benefitted from his fight to get royalties.

The title is correct. He obviously was, “Hollywood’s Most Influential Composer.” I didn’t realize that until I read this informative book.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 13, 2020 - 4:33 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

In a way I’m sorry I finished this wonderful biography. It is so full of interesting information about Max Steiner.

Ditto. Only sixty pages left on this end and I don't want it to end.

I know I will often reference this book. There are so many movies scored by him that I’ve not seen, and when they come on TCM, I want to reference this book again rereading their scores, and then watch these movies with a more learned and attuned ear.

Ditto, ditto. Cannot stop smiling over how Jack Warner couldn't understand why Max would not start composing until after he had seen the scoreless picture. And how Steiner was undaunted by the less time remaining for composing what would invariably end up his "best score." Until the next cycle. The joke was on Warner and everyone else.

The title is correct. He obviously was, “Hollywood’s Most Influential Composer.” I didn’t realize that until I read this informative book.

Well...YEAH. smile

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 13, 2020 - 6:03 PM   
 By:   JEC   (Member)

I'm going to have to set time aside and dig into those Friedhofer references. Twenty years ago I and "Dutch" went ape on a couple The Best Years Of Our Lives threads (one of 'em is still around) and he even sent me some cue sheets or whatever. Point being that it ranks up there in the top 5 of all time and may be #1 for me, him, et al. To think he cut his teeth orchestrating for all these pioneers and then he goes and creates his own celebrated masterpiece. The talent he had and was surrounded by!

The Best Years Of Our Lives is my#1 all time favorite. If I had to reduce my collection to 1 CD, that would be the one.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 13, 2020 - 9:06 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Howard, good point about Jack Warner.

After reading this biography, I think it would be interesting to read a biography about David O. Selznick.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2020 - 2:53 AM   
 By:   Stephen Butler   (Member)

After reading this biography, I think it would be interesting to read a biography about David O. Selznick.

@joan hue

Oh, God, there are plenty of biographies to recommend:
SHOWMAN: THE LIFE of DAVID O. SELZNICK by David Thomson
SELZNICK's VISION by Alan David Vertrees
MEMO from DAVID O. SELZNICK by Rudy Behlmer (ed.)

...and my favourite is DAVID O. SELZNICK's HOLLYWOOD by Ronald Haver, from 1980, which is a HUGE book, you need to find room for it and probably a steel girder underneath the shelf to support it. I don't think it's in print anymore but you can certainly find a copy of it off the internet for, like, dirt cheap.

There are other, more specific books I enjoy, like the recent, fantastic book MAKING MUSIC in SELZNICK's HOLLYWOOD by Nathan Platte, published, ironically, by the same academic publisher as Steven Smith's book, Oxford University Press back in 2017, I think, or thereabouts.

Last time I was in California, a year ago, I tried to drive past the Selznick building on Washington Blvd, but sadly it was virtually surrounded by construction works and I couldn't get near it.

Cheers,
Stephen x

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2020 - 8:03 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Now that's neat, because say "Selznick" and the first thing that comes to mind is (1) his Pictures admin building and (2) Jennifer Jones. Not necessarily in that order. Anyway, the latter was given cursory mention by Smith and it's just as well. Cursory mention was also given Passage To Marseille a la a poor man's follow-up to Casablanca. Never cared for that pejorative since I find PTM illustrative of how Warner Bros. had a customary way of putting together a great cast, story, drama, action AND music (read: Steiner) into a tidy little enjoyable cinematic experience.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2020 - 11:01 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

and probably a steel girder underneath the shelf to support it.

LOL, that made me laugh out loud. Thank you, Stephen, for your recommendations and for starting this topic.

 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2020 - 11:30 PM   
 By:   drivingmissdaisy   (Member)

No CD no sale.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 16, 2020 - 12:10 AM   
 By:   Stephen Butler   (Member)

Thank you, Stephen, for your recommendations and for starting this topic.

@joan hue

You are most welcome. This is a book which I believe is not only important in the study of film music, its origins and development, but of music as an art form. Film music today is hugely influential in the direction of popular tastes, and Steiner played a massive part in that. This book is long overdue, and I think - given that I was already a fan of Steven Smith's style of writing and his ability to bring a composer to life in his Herrmann book - I think that the right person got to write it.

Thank you for playing such an informative and important part of this discussion.

Cheers,
Stephen

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 19, 2020 - 4:37 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Hey joan a/k/a “Teach,” back in senior yr. hs we had English class electives and so I attended “Literature into Film” for a semester. What a class. The very first novel we read and dissected was The Informer. And then we saw the film (ancient 16mm print, of course) and dissected it. The creaky over-the-top ending mentioned by Smith still resounds in the mind’s eye and ear. The music, however, does not. I’ve just reserved the DVD from library and will re-watch what was a 40- but now 85-year-old film for the first time since. Really looking forward to it. I've come to appreciate it as an antecedent, of sorts, to Ryan's Daughter.

I took the emerging consensus approach and went back to the bio, re-read the relevant pages, and then watched the film in its entirety. It was a good approach all right and a practical approach, too, because the sound level of the DVD required upping it almost all the way to the top in order to hear the music. Mental notes proved handy as I looked out for key score moments. The best part of the scoring IMHO occurred from the "court trial" on. Prior to that I was not wowed; now I was wowed. Much of it was beautiful.

Steiner was chagrined at how folks years later would bring up this his first Oscar-winning score when he thought it wasn't as good as a lot of his others. He may be correct but man, I felt like I was hearing an aural equivalent in the ground-breaking dept. to what Orson W did with the visual in Kane. And so it may have been his most important early score in terms of influence on film music as a whole, especially with regard to non-epic dramas.

Author Smith makes the case as to the "why" and so I will only state that Steiner's bending of themes with corresponding arrangements is what sold me. Not to mention orchestrations. I heard little snippets of Steiner things to come i.e. a patented style.

The entire shadows and fog milieu was much more atmospheric than in them 16mm school days. It's hard to believe now that this was helmed by a young and up-and-coming John Ford! Victor McLaglen's award-winning performance impressed me in beaucoup ways compared to the high school viewing. The mood swings in close-ups alone stood out. Back then we laughed at Preston Foster in his romantic moments but this night I laughed at how his fake Irish accent began apallingly but improved markedly about 2/3 in. The supporting cast was excellent. I recognized Steve Pendleton in a key role at the end. Now he is something of a bit actor that I mainly remember from his later years, including commercials in his latest years. Lord was he a young man here.

Looking at the film from a 1935 perspective really helped. It's a perspective and feeling I also had upon viewing Winterset several years back, an early from-stage-to-screen effort [which I doubt anyone else has seen roll eyessmile].

 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2020 - 4:34 AM   
 By:   Ray Faiola   (Member)

The supporting cast was excellent. I recognized Steve Pendleton in a key role at the end. Now he is something of a bit actor that I mainly remember from his later years, including commercials in his latest years. Lord was he a young man here.

Looking at the film from a 1935 perspective really helped. It's a perspective and feeling I also had upon viewing Winterset several years back, an early from-stage-to-screen effort [which I doubt anyone else has seen roll eyessmile].


Steve (Gaylord!) Pendleton was later one of the judges in THE CAINE MUTINY.

As for WINTERSET, I have a very rare original 16mm print (most are awful dupes). It's a very powerful film. Wonderful cast and Paul Guilfoyle's best film to be sure. And a great score by Nat Shilkret. Burgess Meredith returned to his role in 1950 on NBC Radio's BEST PLAYS.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2020 - 7:25 AM   
 By:   Stephen Butler   (Member)

As for WINTERSET, I have a very rare original 16mm print (most are awful dupes). It's a very powerful film. Wonderful cast and Paul Guilfoyle's best film to be sure. And a great score by Nat Shilkret. Burgess Meredith returned to his role in 1950 on NBC Radio's BEST PLAYS.

Actually, this has put me in mind of another Shilkret score, MARY of SCOTLAND (1936), probably the John Ford film that John Ford would like to forget. It has quite a Steineresque score by Shilkret, so Steineresque, in fact, that almost every book that includes mention of this film - John Ford biographies, and books about the RKO studio (even James L. Niebaur's 1994 book "THE RKO STORY", a filmography of every film produced by the studio) - list MAX STEINER as the composer, despite there being no evidence to support this. Just to make sure, I went through every page I could find of the MARY score at UCLA, and not one page of Steiner. It's all Shilkret. Holy Red Pencil, Batman! Nathaniel Shilkret is even named during the film's opening credits!

Sorry, I'm a bit picky about things like that.

Cheers,
Stephen x

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2020 - 9:12 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Hey Ray, Stephen--Man has the Iotian within come back again, I'm ordering Winterset as we speak. Think Paul Guilfoyle and yep, this is what immediately springs to mind, along with his memorable brief turn in The Grapes Of Wrath. But Shilkret did not exactly get favorable ink per Steiner bio. Far cry from my LP of "Victrola America GERSHWIN Plays GERSHWIN" with "An American In Paris"/RCA Victor Symphony/Nathaniel Shilkret, Conductor. Liner notes date this "first complete recording of a 'serious' Gershwin composition" February 4, 1929. It also states "Gershwin was thoroughly pleased with Shilkret's spirited and idiomatic interpretation."

Oh and I'm almost ashamed to admit it but think Steve Pendleton and Killers From Space hits the mind's eye immediatamente. roll eyes

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 20, 2020 - 9:43 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Mental notes proved handy as I looked out for key score moments. The best part of the scoring IMHO occurred from the "court trial" on. Prior to that I was not wowed; now I was wowed. Much of it was beautiful.

Hey Howard, looks like my local library does have The Informer. I just reserved it. I'll let you know what I think after I view it. (Our library is closed to the public, but it has curbside pick up. You call a number, and someone comes out to the parking lot and puts it in the back of the car. Better than nothing.)

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2020 - 12:47 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

May I recommend a traditional serving of fish & chips (wrapped in newspaper, malt vinegar) to go with the viewing? wink

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 21, 2020 - 8:17 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I watched The Informer which won Steiner his first Oscar. It isn’t a happy movie. Really depressing so it wasn’t full of lovely, gorgeous, romantic music. Smith’s analysis helped me tune into Steiner’s composition. I could easily hear Gypo’s and Katie’s themes. However, I would not have really understood the 4-coin motif or the dripping water music or other parts without Smith’s insights. I did hear a lot of mickey-mousing music in places. Smith does indicate that Steiner would not be “so overt….so heavy-handed in his mickey-mousing,” in his future scores. I also felt that some of his danger musical pieces were predecessors for future composers. I still hear similar danger pieces in more modern TV and movie scores. Imitation is flattery.

(Sorry Howard, I ate ice cream while watching this movie.smile)

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 22, 2020 - 10:49 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Now that's funny because last night I decided to give it another watch and caught the first half hour or so. I too was homing in on the coins. The sound seemed a little better this time around for whatever reason. Anyway, you are right, this is a downer of a flick. Dublin, 1922 and all. And Steiner was definitely setting a template.

 
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