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 Posted:   Oct 22, 2020 - 12:13 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

And Steiner was definitely setting a template.

Absolutely, Howard.

I briefly looked at John Ford's movies. The Informer won Oscars including one for Steiner. Now I may be mistaken because I didn't look up all of Ford's movies and their composers, but I don't think he used Steiner again until 1956 for The Searchers. He did seem to use Alfred Newman at various times. I thought maybe he'd use Steiner more often.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 22, 2020 - 1:19 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

Everybody's got telepathy today! I just finished reading the section on The Searchers the other night and got worked up envisioning & "hearing" the sum of Smith's analysis. But this time I'll put on the CD vs. DVD to achieve the benefit.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2020 - 4:40 AM   
 By:   Stephen Butler   (Member)

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

Oh, God, yes. Also a reasonable shake of the salt cellar wouldn't go amiss.

Cheers,
Stephen x

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2020 - 4:49 AM   
 By:   Stephen Butler   (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.

You are absolutely correct on this. Firstly, Steven's insights are a great help towards understanding the scores, the themes, and yes, the mickey-mousing. We all know he did that, so let's embrace it. But Steiner was not the only offender in this category, it's a shame that he is always associated with it. I could pick a random film from my shelf and find some mickey-mousing in it (OK, probably not Herrmann, let's say there would be an element of selection in my randomness). I've found one - Miklos Rozsa's THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (1940) score, when accompanying Sabu running up and down a flight of stairs.

Steven does a great job in settling the 'mickey-mousing' debate and Steiner's part in it. x

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2020 - 7:40 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

On that note, the way we are introduced to Frankie sums it up. There is a close-up of legs striding but the music is not Gypo's theme. Then the shriveled poster lands on the legs with the mickey-mousing--except it's NOT "mickey-mousing," it's something if a "mystical" little flourish--and finally the camera pans upward to reveal it's Frankie. That sound of the Wanted poster brushing up against Frankie is very creative. And in retrospect, ominous.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2020 - 9:19 AM   
 By:   PFK   (Member)


I've been enjoying the comments about the book and Max Steiner. Please keep them coming! It's a great book, I hope it's selling well.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2020 - 10:20 AM   
 By:   tiomkinfan   (Member)

John Ford's frequent use of Alfred Newman begs the question: "Did he use Newman because he chose him, or because Newman was the head of the studio music department and Newman called the shots on who would score what?"

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 23, 2020 - 6:39 PM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

from pp. 399-400:

"A fan named Albert K. Bender founded the Max Steiner Music Society, 'to bring together all persons interested in the music of the Dean of Film Music.'"

"The most authentic-sounding, and melancholy, tribute came from a director whose dismissive opinion of Max had seemingly mellowed. 'I would esteem it a great honor to be an honorary member of your association,' wrote John Ford. 'I love and esteem Max Steiner...You forgot to mention among his credits the magnificent job he did for 'The Informer.' You're right, we don't have music like that anymore. SAD.'"

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 8, 2020 - 11:45 AM   
 By:   Howard L   (Member)

The other night TCM aired The Ghost & Mrs. Muir and author Jeremy Arnold bantered with Ben Mank as a warm-up. A conspicuous copy of the bio was sitting in a bookcase just off his right shoulder on the Zoom screen. Arnold pointed out a scene to look for, the one with the Captain giving his farewell to a sleeping Mrs. Muir. He stated that Herrmann's music enhanced Rex Harrison's dialogue and Harrison's dialogue enhanced Herrmann's music. cool

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 8, 2020 - 1:52 PM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

That's a perceptive remark. We all know how music can enhance a film. But we sometimes forget how the interaction with spoken words can sometimes make the whole cinema experience more than the sum of its parts.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 8, 2020 - 10:39 PM   
 By:   Stephen Butler   (Member)

Absolutely. And Steiner has commented on this on a number of occasions, too. He says is slightly differently, though, talking about the characters' different tempi and rhythms (Smith, pp.119-121) as well as the pitch of actors voices and the available spaces in the audio spectrum whereby the composer can place the pitch of the music to match the scene (Smith, pp.217-8). If the composer can do that successfully throughout, then you have a great film score.

 
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