Home > 100 Greatest Scores, Reviews > KING KONG – Max Steiner

KING KONG – Max Steiner

October 12, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

kingkongsteiner100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

If Steiner slightly cracked open the door for film scores with his Symphony of Six Million in 1932, his stunning effort with King Kong in 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.

This is the score that stared it all and 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 anthropomorphize him, to humanize him by transcending the limitations of his instinctual nature musically. As such we hear in his Steiner’s music an expression of Kong’s fascination and affection for Anne. His ability to use the orchestra to emote the primal power of Kong was also masterful. John Morgan has masterfully reconstructed the entire score and the conducting under Stromberg’s baton is superb. I believe this Max Steiner this to be absolutely essential to your collection

To provide a taste of Steiner’s magnificent effort, I have embedded a YouTube link to the Main Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTdOjpGhvPs

Buy the King Kong soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store

Track Listing:

  • Main Title (2:08)
  • A Boat in the Fog (1:36)
  • The Island – The Railing (3:32)
  • Jungle Dance (2:34)
  • Meeting With the Black Men (3:26)
  • The Little Monkey Escapes (1:14)
  • Sea at Night – Forgotten Island Steiner,… (3:38)
  • Aboriginal Sacrificial Dance (3:48)
  • Entrance of Kong/The Sailors (7:04)
  • The Bronte (5:43)
  • Log Sequence (1:20)
  • Cryptic Shadows (1:46)
  • Stolen Love – The Cave (4:39)
  • The Snake – The Bird – The Swimmers (7:38)
  • The Return (1:28)
  • “Hey Look Out! It’s Kong, Kong’s Coming! ” (4:50)
  • King Kong March (3:12)
  • Fanfares 1, 2, 3 (0:49)
  • Kong Escapes (4:26)
  • Elevated Train Sequence (2:04)
  • Aeroplanes (2:07)
  • Finale – It Was Beauty Killed the Beast (3:03)

Running Time: 72 minutes 05 seconds

Marco Polo 8-233763 (1933/1997)

Music composed by Max Steiner. Conducted by William Stromberg. Performed by The Moscow Symphony Orchestra. Orchestrations by Bernhaud Kaun. Score produced by Max Steiner. Album produced by William Stromberg and John Morgan.

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  1. October 28, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Saved as a favorite, brilliant web site!

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