Home > Fathers of Film Music > MAX STEINER – Fathers of Film Music, Part 1

MAX STEINER – Fathers of Film Music, Part 1

Max SteinerArticle by Craig Lysy

Born: 10 May 1888, Vienna, Austria.
Died: 28 December 1971

Maximilian Raoul Walter Steiner stands as one of the greatest film score composers of all time, and has earned the great honor of being referred to as “the father of film music”. He was born in the late 19th century in Vienna, capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Steiner was the only child of a wealthy Jewish theatrical family whose upbringing nurtured his nascent talent for music. It suffices to say that his innate musical gifts were nothing short of remarkable and he quickly gained renown as a child prodigy, conducting his first operetta at twelve years of age. As such, his parents wisely sent him to the venerable Imperial Academy of Music in Vienna where he was privately tutored by Robert Fuchs and Gustav Mahler with courses in composition, orchestral instruments, counterpoint and harmony. Most remarkable was his completion of a four-year course in only one year, an achievement for which he was awarded a gold medal by the academy.

Steiner at the young age of 15 entered the world of professional music when he composed and conducted the operetta, ”The Beautiful Greek Girl”. He quickly gained notoriety for his incredible talent and never looked back. Subsequent assignments took him to the great symphonic halls of Europe including Hamburg, Moscow and finally London. He finally settled in London and his years there were very productive, writing and conducting for both theater productions and symphonies. The onset of World War I in 1914 proved to be a hinge of fate that forever changed his fortunes. As an Austrian he was declared an enemy alien and ordered to report to an internment camp. Fortunately intervention by a royal fan, the Duke of Westminster, secured his passage to the United States, but with the forfeiture of all his wealth. He arrived in New York City in December of 1914 with just $32 to his name.

Steiner adapted to his new country quickly where his musical gifts and talents were quickly recognized. He acquired steady employment and over the next fifteen years worked on many Broadway productions in various capacities including musical director, arranger, orchestrator and conductor. He also composed a number of his own original works including “George White’s Scandals” (1922), “Lady, Be Good” (1924), “Rosalie” (1928) and “Sons O’ Guns” (1929). In another fateful turning point in his life Steiner came to be noticed by William LeBaron, RKO Studio’s head of production who was impressed with his conducting and orchestrations. LeBaron made Steiner an offer he could not refuse, which lead to a move to Hollywood California in 1929. Upon arriving he quickly got to work and orchestrated the film versions of the musicals “Rio Rita” and “Dixana”. His effort secured him his first screen credit as an orchestrator and he never looked back. His fortunes were clearly ascendant as LeBaron in 1930 made him director of RKO’s new music production department.

Steiner arrived at a crucial moment in Hollywood as the era of musicals was waning. Studios were exploring a new direction with a move into dramatic films. As such, his next assignment was a Western, “Cimarron” (1931), which marks the first time he wrote an original film score. He followed this effort with “Bird of Paradise”, where he created an exotic soundscape through use of vibraphone, marimbas, ukuleles, and steel guitar with his own arrangements of traditional Hawaiian melodies. It was a stunning achievement and the nascent beginning of film scores was unfolding. In 1932 RKO producer David O. Selznick asked Steiner to provide a film score for his flawed “Symphony of Six Million” (1932), as he was not entirely satisfied with the quality of the film. Steiner, who was inspired by the film’s narrative created a masterful and insightful exploration of Jewish family life and tradition, indeed he would later state that it was on his list of pictures for which he was most proud.

For all practical purposes, “Symphony of Six Million” marked the birth of film scores. Until this time film scores were diegetic, or limited to the film’s visual narrative. Its role and application were both constrained and limited to discreet situations; the opening and closing credits, as well as scenes with bands, orchestras, a phonograph or radio. Producer culture at the time falsely believed that hearing music, which played with no apparent visual film source, would confuse the audience. Steiner was a visionary who understood that film art’s future success required a partnership of imagery and music. All he need was the opportunity and the right film to convince the skeptics.

Most fortuitous for us was that the opportunity came quickly in 1933. If Steiner slightly cracked open the door for film scores with “Symphony of Six Million”, his stunning effort with “King Kong” (1933) ripped the door completely off its hinges! This film was a seminal event in the history of Hollywood film-making where Steiner boldly crossed the Rubicon and in so doing forever changed the course of the film industry. His score, one of the finest ever written, infused the film with a call to adventure, a sense of mystery, romance and ultimately savage primal terror. All this served to reinforce the film’s amazing imagery and story telling by catalyzing a stronger and more lasting emotional reaction by the audience. There was no longer a case for denying the value of a film score as a cash poor public, now reeling from the economic collapse of the Great Depression, repeatedly came to the theater in droves thus filling to overflowing the studio’s coffers. As such, Steiner can be viewed as a transformative agent since henceforth film scores would be woven into the basic tapestry of each film; there was no turning back. Music would now both inform us of critical film elements, but also act synergistically in partnership to support the film’s narrative.

Steiner’s tenure at RKO was very successful, but in 1937 he was again made an offer he could not refuse and signed a long-term contract with rival Warner Brothers Studio. What enticed him to leave RKO was Warner’s commitment to provide their audiences with a superior film music experience. They told him that they wanted their movies to have the best music possible to outshine their competitors at 20th Century Fox and MGM. Steiner had some of the most productive and successful years of his career, composing 140 films over thirty years. The fact that Fox and MGM recognized what Steiner was accomplishing at Warner’s led them to create their own musical departments with a composer overseeing operations.


Steiner’s compositional style may be described as melodramatic; unabashedly forthright emotional expression. There was never ambiguity to be found in the notes, as the audience was quick to understand the characters, the setting and the circumstances. Long flowing melodies were his signature and over time countless directors would come to marvel at his genius of capturing the emotional core of their films with a single theme. Yet time does not stand still, with the cataclysm of World War II, its aftermath, and the onset of the Cold War a shift in the societal psyche unfolded, which was reflected at Hollywood studios. The nature of film making began to change with explorations of more psychological and morally ambiguous stories, which did not lend themselves well to Steiner’s old world classical lyricism. Composers such as North, Bernstein and Herrmann began introducing more modernist scoring to films of the 50s and 60s, while Steiner, until the very end, continued writing long flowing melodramatic thematic scores. Although times had changed, he had not. He had his niche, remained true to himself and was very successful living there.

Chief among the defining elements of Steiner’s style was his successful adaptation and employment of the classic Wagnerian leitmotif. He believed that each character should have a unique musical identity, as such he expertly crafted his music to not only inform us of the nature of a character, but to also speak to changes in their dramatic arc. In short, Steiner used his score in a synergistic partnership to support the film’s character development. The strengths, frailties and conflicts of characters were now enhanced emotionally, made more potent by a multiplicity of themes and motifs that spoke to us of the full spectrum of human feelings; love, joy, heroism, adventure, hatred, conflict, fear and pathos.

There are numerous masterful examples of his genius. In “King Kong” (1933) Steiner understood that the story revolved around an emotional connection formed between the beauty and the beast. Given Kong’s inability to express himself in language, it was necessary to humanize him by transcending the limitations of his instinctual nature. As such we hear in his music an expression of Kong’s fascination and affection for Anne. “The Letter” (1940), revolved around its central character Leslie played by Bette Davis. Leslie was a raging cauldron of fierce emotions and her theme was the film’s primary identity. Steiner correctly understands the nature of Leslie and emotes her raging mercurial temperament by setting the tone of the film in the film opening credits which outwardly informs us of her fierce and passionate nature, but inwardly speaks of sadness, not malevolence. We gain understanding of Leslie in the notes, long before she utters a single word.

In “Mildred Pierce” (1945), the transformation of the major modal Mildred’s Theme to a minor key as the once happy and confident Mildred contemplates suicide near the end of the film demonstrates Steiner’s mastery of his craft. “The Fountainhead” (1949) explores the life of Roark, an idealist architect played by Gary Cooper who must resolve the conflict born between the struggles of personal integrity versus conformity. Steiner creates a traditional confident masculine identity for Roark, which speaks to us of his aspiration, idealism and good nature. Juxtaposed to this is a more subtle and fluid feminine identity for his temptress Dominique. The interplay of these themes is exquisite and outwardly mirrors Roark’s inner conflict.

Another facet of Steiner’s approach was to have his music speak to a film’s settings, culture and situations. He skillfully infused his scores with popular or folk tunes, which served to transport the audience by reinforcing a film’s locality and time. As such we hear Irish melodies for “The Informer”, traditional Western tunes in “The Searchers”, “Dixie” and Stephen Foster songs for “Gone With the Wind” and the songs “As Time Goes By” and “La Marseillaise” for “Casablanca”. As was common for the Hollywood culture of the times, stereotypical cultural idioms and source music were often employed to inform us of exotic and foreign localities.

Also noteworthy was Steiner’s efforts to modernize the recording of a film score. The traditional method of recording was a studio, but this proved unworkable given the cost, time and inconvenience of rerecording when the film was invariably edited. Steiner developed a method of using a machine that provided time measurements, which allowed him to more precisely sync his music to the film’s scenes and dialogue. This vital need for synchrony would evolve dramatically from his pioneering achievement.

Lastly, to fully understand Steiner you need to explore his musing regarding the proper role of film score art. Steiner often explained that there were two fundamental challenges that faced a composer. The first was basic – where to start and stop the music. Too much music and you overwhelm the film and dialogue with notes, to little and you lose the emotional dynamics. He counseled that one needed to find the critical balance point. Second, he stated that the music must be subordinate to the film. If the composer’s motivation was personal aggrandizement or composing concert pieces, then he counseled that the concert hall was better suited for his venue. In the final analysis Steiner explained that his theory of film score music was that the score is best when it is felt, not heard. Profound words indeed.


I believe Steiner’s legacy is secure and continues to live on in the form of today’s neo-classical theme based scores. I have no doubt that many modern critics would take him to task for daring to use his music to manipulate us, to tell us how and what to feel. However I would beg to disagree, because at the end of the day the music that we remember, that we hum when leaving the theater, that touches us and so changes us, is born of beautiful melodies – the beating heart of music. Indeed, actors emote to make us feel, the cinematographer creates the shot to make us feel, and so why should not the music also contribute to evoking our feelings? There is indeed something to be said for being genuine and of wearing your heart on your sleeve. Folks, this is why Steiner has earned his place in film score history and his handiwork continues to reverberate through the passing years. Whenever you explore a Steiner score you will never be confronted with ambiguity, just wonderful long flowing melodramatic themes that will live on with you forever.


Steiner was nominated for a Best Score Academy Award eighteen times, securing the win three times.

Academy Awards Best Original Score Wins:

  • 1945 – Since You Went Away
  • 1943 – Now Voyager
  • 1936 – The Informer

Academy Award Best Score Nominations for A Drama/Comedy Film:

  • 1956 – Battle Cry
  • 1955 – The Caine Mutiny
  • 1953 – The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima
  • 1951 – The Flame and the Arrow
  • 1950 – Beyond the Forest
  • 1949 – Johnny Belinda
  • 1948 – Life with Father
  • 1945 – The Adventures of Mark Twain
  • 1944 – Casablanca
  • 1942 – Sergeant York
  • 1941 – The Letter
  • 1940 – Dark Victory
  • 1940 – Gone with the Wind
  • 1939 – Jezebel
  • 1938 – The Life of Emile Zola
  • 1937 – The Charge of the Light Brigade
  • 1937 – The Garden of Allah
  • 1935 – The Gay Divorcee

Academy Award Best Score Nominations for A Musical Film:

  • 1953 – The Jazz Singer
  • 1948 – My Wild Irish Rose
  • 1947 – Night and Day
  • 1946 – Rhapsody in Blue
  • 1935 – The Lost Patrol

Among his incredible 450 or so scores are a number of important titles, which are considered his best and worthy of your exploration. From the 1930s: “King Kong” (1933), “The Lost Patrol” (1934), “Of Human Bondage” (1934), “The Informer” (1935), “The Life of Emile Zola” (1937), “Tovarich” (1937), “Jezebel” (1938), “Angels with Dirty Faces” (1938), “Gone with the Wind” (1939), “Dodge City” (1939) and “Dark Victory” (1939). From the 1940s: “All This and Heaven Too” (1940), “Sergeant York” (1941), “They Died With Their Boots On” (1941), “Now Voyager” (1942), “Casablanca” (1942), “Mildred Pierce” (1945), “The Big Sleep” (1946), “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948), “Key Largo” (1948), “Johnny Belinda” (1948), “The Adventures of Don Juan” (1948) and “The Fountainhead” (1949). From the 1950s: “The Flame and the Arrow (1950), “The Caine Mutiny” (1954), “The Searchers” (1956), “A Summer Place” (1959) and “A Distant Trumpet” (1964).


1950s and 60s:
Two on a Guillotine (1965), Those Calloways (1965), A Distant Trumpet (1964), Youngblood Hawke (1964), Spencer’s Mountain (1963), FBI Code 98 (1963), Rome Adventure (1962), Susan Slade (1961), Parrish (1961), The Sins of Rachel Cade (1961), A Majority of One (1961), Portrait of a Mobster (1961), The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960), Ice Palace (1960), The Hanging Tree (1959), Cash McCall (1959), The FBI Story (1959), A Summer Place (1959), Fort Dobbs (1958), Darby’s Rangers (1958), Marjorie Morningstar (1958), China Gate (1957), All Mine to Give (1957), Band of Angels (1957), Escapade in Japan (1957), Bandido (1956), Battle Stations (1956), The Searchers (1956), Helen of Troy (1956), Come Next Spring (1956), Death of a Scoundrel (1956), The Violent Men (1955), Battle Cry (1955), Hell on Frisco Bay (1955), Illegal (1955), The Last Command (1955), The McConnell Story (1955), King Richard and the Crusaders (1954), The Caine Mutiny (1954), The Boy from Oklahoma (1954), The Charge at Feather River (1953), Trouble Along the Way (1953), By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953), The Desert Song (1953), So Big (1953), So This Is Love (1953), This Is Cinerama (1952), Mara Maru (1952), Room for One More (1952), The Iron Mistress (1952), The Jazz Singer (1952), The Lion and the Horse (1952), The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952), Springfield Rifle (1952), Distant Drums (1951), Lightning Strikes Twice (1951), Raton Pass (1951), Force of Arms (1951), Sugarfoot (1951), Operation Pacific (1951), Close to My Heart (1951), Jim Thorpe – All American (1951), On Moonlight Bay (1951), Without Honour (1950), The Flame and the Arrow (1950), Caged (1950), Dallas (1950), The Glass Menagerie (1950), Rocky Mountain (1950).

A Kiss in the Dark (1949), Beyond the Forest (1949), South of St. Louis (1949), Flamingo Road (1949), The Fountainhead (1949), The Lady Takes a Sailor (1949), Mrs. Mike (1949), Oh, You Beautiful Doll (1949), White Heat (1949), Johnny Belinda (1948), Key Largo (1948), Silver River (1948), Winter Meeting (1948), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), The Adventures of Don Juan (1948), The Decision of Christopher Blake (1948), Fighter Squadron (1948), My Girl Tisa (1948), The Woman in White (1948), My Wild Irish Rose (1947), Cheyenne (1947), Life with Father (1947), Deep Valley (1947), Pursued (1947), Love and Learn (1947), The Unfaithful (1947), The Voice of the Turtle (1947), Cloak and Dagger (1946), The Big Sleep (1946), Night and Day (1946), A Stolen Life (1946), My Reputation (1946), Tomorrow Is Forever (1946), The Beast with Five Fingers (1946), Her Kind of Man (1946), The Man I Love (1946), One More Tomorrow (1946), San Antonio (1945), Mildred Pierce (1945), Rhapsody in Blue (1945), The Corn Is Green (1945), Roughly Speaking (1945), Saratoga Trunk (1945), The Conspirators (1944), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944), Since You Went Away (1944), Passage to Marseille (1944), Watch on the Rhine (1943), Mission to Moscow (1943), Casablanca (1942), Now Voyager (1942), In This Our Life (1942), Captains of the Clouds (1942), Desperate Journey (1942), The Gay Sisters (1942), They Died with Their Boots On (1941), One Foot in Heaven (1941), Dive Bomber (1941), The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941), Sergeant York (1941), The Great Lie (1941), She Couldn’t Say No (1941), Shining Victory (1941), The Letter (1940), Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet (1940), City for Conquest (1940), All This and Heaven Too (1940), Virginia City (1940), A Dispatch from Reuters (1940), Santa Fe Trail (1940).

1920s and 30s:
Four Wives (1939), Gone with the Wind (1939), Dust Be My Destiny (1939), The Old Maid (1939), Daughters Courageous (1939), Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939), Dark Victory (1939), Dodge City (1939), The Oklahoma Kid (1939), They Made Me a Criminal (1939), Intermezzo (1939), We Are Not Alone (1939), The Dawn Patrol (1938), Angels with Dirty Faces (1938), The Sisters (1938), Four Daughters (1938), Gold Is Where You Find It (1938), The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938), Crime School (1938), Jezebel (1938), The Saint in New York (1938), White Banners (1938), Tovarich (1937), Fight for Your Lady (1937), The Life of Émile Zola (1937), That Certain Woman (1937), The Green Light (1937), Kid Galahad (1937), God’s Country and the Woman (1937), First Lady (1937), Slim (1937), A Star Is Born (1937), Submarine D-1 (1937), The Garden of Allah (1936), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), M’Liss (1936), Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936), Follow the Fleet (1936), Two in Revolt (1936), Winterset (1936), The Witness Chair (1936), The Three Musketeers (1935), Alice Adams (1935), She (1935), Becky Sharp (1935), The Informer (1935), Enchanted April (1935), Grand Old Girl (1935), Laddie (1935), The Silver Streak (1935), Lightning Strikes Twice (1934), The Richest Girl in the World (1934), His Greatest Gamble (1934), Bachelor Bait (1934), Of Human Bondage (1934), Stingaree (1934), Kentucky Kernels (1934), The Lost Patrol (1934), The Age of Innocence (1934), The Crime Doctor (1934), Down to Their Last Yacht (1934), Finishing School (1934), The Fountain (1934), Gridiron Flash (1934), Hat, Coat, and Glove (1934), Hips, Hips, Hooray (1934), Keep ‘Em Rolling (1934), Let’s Try Again (1934), The Life of Vergie Winters (1934), The Little Minister (1934), Long Lost Father (1934), Man of Two Worlds (1934), Sing and Like It (1934), Spitfire (1934), Strictly Dynamite (1934), Their Big Moment (1934), This Man Is Mine (1934), Two Alone (1934), Wednesday’s Child (1934), Little Women (1933), Ace of Aces (1933), Morning Glory (1933), The Cheyenne Kid (1933), Flying Devils (1933), Bed of Roses (1933), Diplomaniacs (1933), King Kong (1933), Sweepings (1933), The Great Jasper (1933), Aggie Appleby, Maker of Men (1933), Ann Vickers (1933), Blind Adventure (1933), Christopher Strong (1933), If I Were Free (1933), Midshipman Jack (1933), No Other Woman (1933), One Man’s Journey (1933), Rafter Romance (1933), Rockabye (1933), The Silver Cord (1933), So This Is Harris (1933), The The Son of Kong (1933), The Conquerors (1932), Little Orphan Annie (1932), A Bill of Divorcement (1932), Thirteen Women (1932), The Age of Consent (1932), Bird of Paradise (1932), Roar of the Dragon (1932), The Roadhouse Murder (1932), Symphony of Six Million (1932), The Lost Squadron (1932), Ladies of the Jury (1932), Girl of the Rio (1932), Hold ‘Em Jail (1932), Is My Face Red? (1932), Lady with a Past (1932), Men of Chance (1932), The Monkey’s Paw (1932), The Most Dangerous Game (1932), The Phantom of Crestwood (1932), The Sport Parade (1932), What Price Hollywood? (1932), Young Bride (1932), Secret Service (1931), Friends and Lovers (1931), Young Donovan’s Kid (1931), Way Back Home (1931), Are These Our Children? (1931), Beau Ideal (1931), Cracked Nuts (1931), Fanny Foley Herself (1931), The Gay Diplomat (1931), The Runaround (1931), Transgression (1931), Travelling Husbands (1931) and Dixiana (1930), The Bondman (1929).


As seen above, Max Steiner had an extensive canon of music. Regretfully many of his scores have yet to see the light of day given that some are now 90 years old! But hope remains as more and more his scores are being remastered or rerecorded. And so I offer you below, five scores that will introduce you to the Maestro.

gonewiththewindGONE WITH THE WIND (1939)

I believe this score to be his Magnum Opus, his timeless masterpiece that gains him immortality. Steiner infused this epic film with traditional southern Americana idioms and songs whose melodies interplay with a multiplicity of outstanding and memorable themes. The defining “Tara” Theme is in and of itself, one of the greatest and most recognizable themes in film score history. If you want sumptuous long flowing melodies that fill you with the grace, gentility and splendor that was the landed gentry of the old South, then this is the score for you. There are a number of recordings from which to choose, each offering different levels of sound quality. I believe your best bet would be to go with the Charles Gerhardt 1974 recording on RCA. There is just outstanding sound quality and I believe his performance would have made Steiner proud. It is reasonably priced and available and most distributors.

kingkongsteinerKING KONG (1933)

This is the score that stared it all and as stated above earned Steiner his epithet as the “Father of film score music.” It is an epic work whose opening massive and descending three notes powerfully inform you that a great adventure lay in store. Steiner understood that the story revolved around an emotional connection formed between the beauty and the beast. As such, given Kong’s inability to express himself in language, it was necessary to humanize him by transcending the limitations of his instinctual nature. As such we hear in his music an expression of Kong’s fascination and affection for Anne. Steiner’s ability to use the orchestra to emote the primal power of Kong was also masterful. Conmpoer/conductors John Morgan and William Stromberg have reconstructed the entire score with outstanding quality and expert conducting under Stromberg’s baton. It is available on either the Naxos or Marco Polo labels.

nowvoyagerNOW VOYAGER (1942)

This melodramatic score earned Steiner his second Oscar. It was emblematic of the music rich scores promoted by Warner Brothers. The film displays one of Bette Davis’ supreme performances as an ugly duckling that transforms into a swan when finally freed from the domination of her mother. Steiner’s powerful and evocative string rich music is anchored by one of his greatest themes. The music is dramatic, passionate and unabashedly expressive. Unfortunately there are no complete recordings of the score as such we must be content with recordings of suites that are found on a number of compilation albums. I recommend for now the Charles Gerhardt compilation Now Voyager: The Music of Max Steiner or Classic Film Scores for Bette Davis as your best option; this album also contains selections from several other Steiner scores, including Saratoga Trunk, The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Big Sleep, Johnny Belinda, and The Fountainhead.

adventuresofdonjuanTHE ADVENTURES OF DON JUAN (1948)

This recording is another triumph of the trio of Anna Bonn, John Morgan and William Stromberg. It is a stunning and exceptional rerecording of a Steiner classic. Performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the sound quality is again superb as is conductor Stromberg’s mastery of Steiner’s style. This is one of Steiner’s greatest creations. It features eight themes including the renowned Don Juan Theme and four motifs, which he frequently joins in masterful interplay. His music has it all, from rousing action pieces, to sumptuous romance, comedy, intrigue and villainous treachery. This score attests to Steiner’s genius in understanding a film’s narrative and for his wondrous gift for melody. I highly recommend it for inclusion in your collection!

wielcykompozytorzyfilmowisteinerMAX STEINER (GREAT FILM MUSIC COMPOSERS)

If you are looking for a good starter compilation album, then I suggest you consider this album. It provides you with a combination of twelve suites and main themes from some of Steiner’s greatest triumphs including, the suite from “The Flame and the Arrow” (1950), Tara’s Theme from “Gone with the Wind” (1939), the First Love Scene from “Now, Voyager” (1942), a suite from “Casablanca” (1942), the Main Title from “A Summer Place” (1959), the Opening Theme from “The Searchers” (1956), the Serenade Theme from “The Adventures of Don Juan” (1948), music from “King Kong” (1933) several others. The selections provide you with a wonderful array of the classic lyricism and melodrama power that Steiner infused into his scores. The CD is an import from Poland in the Wielcy Kompozytorzy Filmowi series of releases, but it well worth tracking down if you can find it.


1. “Max Steiner – Father of Film Music”, trailer to documentary film
2. Eder, Bruce. “Max Steiner: Artist Biography” Barnes & Noble
3. Burlingame, Jon. Sound and Vision: 60 Years of Motion Picture Soundtracks. New York: Billboard books, 2000.
4. Max Steiner – Wikipedia
5. Palmer, Christopher. The Composer in Hollywood, “Max Steiner: Birth of an Era”, Marion Boyars Publishers (1990) pp. 15–50
6. Max Steiner at the Internet Movie Database
7. Max Steiner at the Internet Broadway Database
8. Max Steiner at AmericanComposers.com

  1. Gorbadoc
    April 9, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    What an interesting and insightful read! While I must say that I’m not really a fan of the Golden Age style of film scoring, I certainly respect Steiner and appreciate the themes I’ve heard from him.

    Looking forward to the next Father of Film Music in line!

  2. ran Chapman
    March 2, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    very interesting music history, have been searching “Sargent York ” soundtrack, not much luck, any advice ?

  3. July 29, 2016 at 8:09 am

    I have just discovered this website, while searching for information on Bronislau Kaper.

    Your work in presenting biographies of all these film composers is remarkable.

    I’m looking forward to reading them!

    Thank you.

  4. Michael J. Senay
    May 31, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Does anyone know the name of the music being play on The Woman in White? Also, where I can fine it.

  5. Andrew S Grundy
    May 3, 2020 at 3:50 am

    Amazing composer and this is the man that started it all and paved the way for all the rest that followed. Without him u wouldn’t have Korngold, Newman, Herrman, Rosza, Goldsmith, North,Barry,Horner and the man I believe is the best film composer of all time John Williams

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