Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Alfred Newman’

ALEXANDER’S RAGTIME BAND – Irving Berlin and Alfred Newman

January 23, 2023 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

In 1937 composer Irving Berlin was solicited by 20th Century Fox studio executive Darryl F. Zanuck to write a biopic about his life to be called “Alexander’s Ragtime Band, which would showcase some of his greatest songs. Berlin balked, believing such a story would be too intrusive. Zanuck pivoted and asked him if he could instead write a story, which could feature his greatest songs. He agreed, collaborated with screen writer Richard Sherman, and their story was accepted. Zanuck took personal charge of production, hired Kathryn Scola and Lamar Trotti to write the screenplay, and tasked Henry King with directing. The cast would be anchored by singers Ethel Merman as Jerry Allen, and Alice Faye as Stella Kirby. Joining them would be Tyrone Power as Alexander, Don Ameche as Charlie Dwyer and Jack Haley as Davey Lane. Read more…

PRINCE OF FOXES – Alfred Newman

November 7, 2022 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

In 1948 20th Century Fox studio executive Darryl F. Zanuck sought to recapture the box office success of Captain of Castile with the latest best-selling novel from author Samuel Shellabarger, Prince of Foxes. Zanuck purchased the film rights for $200,000 and envisioned studio star Tyrone Power in the lead role. Sol Siegel was assigned production, Milton Krims was hired to write the screenplay, and Henry King was tasked with directing. To create an old-world feel, Zanuck sent teams to Italy for filming in a number of palaces and gardens, which would be very expensive, ballooning the budget to over $4 million. To offset the projected costs, he made the creative decision to film in black and white, a decision opposed by King, and one he in hindsight regretted. The cast would include Tyrone Power as Andrea Orsini, Orson Welles as Caesare Borgia, Wanda Hendrix as Camila Verano, Marina Berti as Angela Borgia, and Everett Sloane as Mario Belli. Read more…

DRAGONWYCK – Alfred Newman

August 29, 2022 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Renowned 20th Century Fox Studio executive Darryl F. Zanuck, who was always looking for a new story to film, came upon an 19th century period piece novel Dragonwyck, written by Anya Seton in 1944. He believed that its film noir tale of mystery and romance could be adapted to the big screen. He purchased the film rights and would personally oversee production with a $1.9 million budget. Joseph L. Mankiewicz was tasked with directing the film, and would also write the screenplay. In assembling the cast, Vincent Price won the lead role of Nicholas van Ryn when Gregory Peck withdrew after the original director Ernst Lubitsch was replaced by Mankiewicz due to illness. Joining Price would be Gene Tierney as Miranda Wells, Walter Huston as Ephraim Wells, Glenn Langan as Dr. Jeff Turner, Anne Revere as Abigail Wells, Spring Byington as Magda, Harry Morgan as Bleecker and Jessica Tandy as Peggy. Read more…

WILSON – Alfred Newman

July 18, 2022 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

20th Century Fox Studio Director Darryl F. Zanuck had long been an admirer of President Woodrow Wilson and for many years resolved to bring a biopic homage of his hero to the big screen. The film became a passion project, if not obsession, which led him to micromanage all aspects of its production. When finished it resulted in the greatest budget expenditure in the studio’s history, nearly $5 million. He personally took charge of production, hired Lamar Trotti to write the screenplay, and tasked Henry King to direct. He brought in an exceptional cast, which included, Alexander Knox as Woodrow Wilson, Charles Colburn as Professor Henry Holmes, Geraldine Fitzgerald as Edith Wilson, Thomas Mitchell as Joseph Tumulty, Ruth Nelson as Ellen Wilson, Cedric Hardwicke as Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Vincent Price as William G. McAdoo, William Eythe as George Felton, and Mary Anderson as Eleanor Wilson. Read more…

STORMY WEATHER – Cyril J. Mockridge and Alfred Newman

July 4, 2022 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

In 1942 Wendell Wilkie, the 1940 Republican candidate for president visited 20th Century Fox Studio executives as an advocate for the Black Movement. He successfully obtained a commitment from the studio to “Regard the Negro as an integral part of American Life”. The studio affirmed that commitment in 1943 with the production of its first musical with an all-Black cast. It purchased the story’s film rights from authors Jerry Horwin and Seymour B Robinson, hired H.S. Kraft to write the screenplay, William LeBaron was assigned production, and Andrew L. Stone was tasked with directing. For the cast, Lena Horne would star as Salina Rogers and Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson as Bill Williamson, as well as Cab Calloway and his Cotton Club Orchestra, Fats Waller, The Nichols Brothers, Ada Brown, Dooley Wilson, and Katherine Dunham as themselves. Read more…

THE BLACK SWAN – Alfred Newman

June 20, 2022 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Following the massive success of Warner Brothers The Sea Hawk in 1940, 20th Century Fox Studios decided to cash in on the 1932 Rafael Sabatini novel The Black Swan. Production chief Darryl F. Zanuck purchased the film rights as the perfect new adventure for the studio’s star actor Tyrone Power. Robert Bassler was placed in charge of production and provided a budget of $1.494 million. Henry King was tasked with directing, and Ben Hecht and Seton I. Miller hired to adapt the novel and write the screenplay. A stellar cast was assembled, which included Tyrone Power as Jaime Waring, Maureen O’Hara as Lady Margaret Denby, Laird Cregar as Henry Morgan, Thomas Mitchell as Tom Blue, George Sanders as Billy Leech, Anthony Quinn as Wogan and Edward Ashley as Roger Ingram. Read more…

ANASTASIA – Alfred Newman

October 25, 2021 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

In 1955 three Hollywood studios, Warner Brothers, MGM, and 20th Century Fox, entered into a bidding war to secure the film rights to the popular 1952 Broadway play Anastasia by Marcelle Maurette. They all believed that the tragedy that befell the Russian Romanov dynasty and the mystery of Anastasia would resonate with the public. In the end 20th Century Fox prevailed and paid Maurette £20,000. Buddy Adler was assigned production with a $3.5 million budget, Arthur Laurents was hired to write the screenplay, and Anatole Litvak was tasked with directing. A stellar cast was hired with Ingrid Bergman making her Hollywood return after seven years of being black-listed for her romance and marriage with director Roberto Rossellini. She would play Anna Koreff/Anastasia, and joining her would be Yul Brynner as General Bounine, Helen Hayes as Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna, Matitia Hunt as Baroness Elena von Livenbaum, Ivan Desny as Prince Paul von Haraldberg, and Akim Tamiroff as Boris Andreivich Chernov. Read more…

THE HURRICANE – Alfred Newman

August 30, 2021 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Actor James Hall’s uncle James Norman Hall co-wrote the 1936 novel The Hurricane, which he felt would provide an exiting romantic adventure set in the South Seas. He sold director John Ford on the idea, and financial backing for production was provided by Samuel Goldwyn Productions. A massive $2.0 million budget was provided with $450,000 allocated to special effects specialist James Basevi, who spent $150,000 building a native village and lagoon, and $250,000 destroying it! Screenwriters Dudley Nichols and Oliver H. P. Garrett were hired to adapt Hall’s novel, and Ford assembled a stellar cast, which included Dorothy Lamour as Marama, John Hall as Terangi, Mary Astor as Madame Germaine De Laage, Raymond Massey as Governor Eugene De Laage, C. Aubrey Smith as Father Paul, John Carradine as the Warden, Thomas Mitchell as Dr. Kersaint, and Jerome Cowan as Captain Nagle. Read more…

THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM – Alfred Newman

May 10, 2021 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

After the critical success of translating two novels to the screen with Gone with the Wind in 1939 and Rebecca in 1940, producer David O. Selznick decided to roll the dice again with A. J. Cronin’s latest novel, The Keys of the Kingdom. He purchased the film rights for $100,000, with Cronin assisting with writing the screenplay. However, he could not secure the cast he desired and so sold the film rights to Darryl F. Zanuck of 20th Century Fox. Zanuck tasked director Joseph Mankiewicz with the project, providing a budget of $3 million. A new screenplay was provided by Nunnally Johnson and Mankiewicz, and a fine cast was assembled including Gregory Peck as Father Francis Chisholm, Thomas Mitchell as Dr. Willie Tulloch, Vincent Price as Angus Mealey, Rose Stradner as Reverend Mother Maria-Veronica, Edmund Gwenn as Reverend Hamish MacNabb, Benson Fong as Joseph, Roddy McDowell as Francis Chisholm as a boy, and Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Monsignor Sleeth. Read more…

HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY – Alfred Newman

March 1, 2021 Leave a comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

20th Century studio executive Darryl F. Zanuck was seeking an epic film in the vein of Gone With The Wind, and believed he had at last found his answer in Richard Llewellyn’s popular 1939 novel How Green Was My Valley. He purchased the screen rights and tasked William Wyler to direct with an $800,000 budget. Wyler was shortly thereafter replaced by John Ford who wanted to shoot the film live in Wales, but was overruled by the studio as the raging Nazi Blitz and the Battle of Britain made it too dangerous. A set was constructed in Malibu and the film shot in black and white as the indigenous California flowers were different colors that the Welsh flowers. A fine cast was hired, including Walter Pidgeon as Pastor Gruffydd, Maureen O’Hara as Angharad Morgan, Donald Crisp as Gwilym Morgan, Roddy McDowall in his acting debut as Huw Morgan, Sara Allgood as Beth Morgan, Patric Knowles as Ivor Morgan, John Loder as Lanto Morgan, Richard Fraser as Davy Morgan, Evan Evans as Gwilym Morgan Jr., James Monks as Owen Morgan, Anna Lee as Ivor’s wife Bronwyn, and Irving Pichel as an adult Huw Morgan, who narrates the film. Read more…

ALL ABOUT EVE – Alfred Newman

October 19, 2020 Leave a comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

In 1949 renowned director Joseph Mankiewicz envisioned for his next project a story about an aging actress. By chance he came upon a short story “The Wisdom of Eve” by actress Mary Orr, published in the May 1946 issue of Cosmopolitan, which piqued his interest. He contacted 20th Century Fox studio executive Darryl Zanuck who was receptive, and was given the green light to proceed with the project. Zanuck agreed to produce the film and provided a generous $1.4 million budget. Mankiewicz would not only direct, but also write the screenplay, which was significantly edited to incorporate numerous suggestions for improvement offered by Zanuck. Casting the lead role was challenging to fill with Susan Hayward, Marlene Dietrich, Gertrude Lawrence and Claudette Colbert all considered before Mankiewicz finally selected Bette Davis. Joining her would be Anne Baxter as Eve Harington, Gary Merrill as Bill Sampson, George Sanders as Addison DeWitt, Celeste Holm as Karen Richards, and Hugh Marlowe as Lloyd Richards. Read more…

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME – Alfred Newman

April 20, 2020 Leave a comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The dawning of the new age of film with dialogue and music had arrived and Universal Studio executives decided to explore a remake of their 1923 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. A favorable fan poll in 1936 added impetus to the endeavor, but the studio was never able to assemble the lead actors to launch the project and so sold the film rights to MGM, which in turn sold them to RKO. RKO was committed to the project and built a massive recreation of Paris and the cathedral on their ranch in the San Fernando Valley outside Los Angeles. Pedro Berman was hired to produce the film and provided a massive budget of $1.8 million. William Dieterle was given the reigns to direct the film, which would again be adapted from Victor Hugo’s famous 1831 novel Sonya Levien and Bruno Frank provided the screenplay and a fine cast was assembled, which included Charles Laughton as Quasimodo, Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Jehan Frollo, Thomas Mitchell as Clopin, Maureen O’Hara in her screen debut as Esmeralda, Edmund O’Brien as Pierre Gringoire, Walter Hampden as Archbishop Claude Frollo, and Harry Davenport as King Louis XI of France. Read more…

HOW THE WEST WAS WON – Alfred Newman

October 16, 2017 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

MGM Studios, in an effort to regain its former glory, embarked on a sweeping multi-generational tale, an epic story so grand in its storytelling that three directors would be needed to shoot its five vignettes. The film drew inspiration from a Life magazine photo essay titled “How the West Was Won”. Producer Bernard Smith hired James R. Webb to write a screenplay with a massive canvass and Henry Hathaway was tasked with directing three of the vignettes; The Rivers (1839), The Plains (1851) and The Outlaws (1889). John Ford would direct The Civil War (1861–1865) segment, and George Marshall would direct The Railroad (1868). A massive stellar cast was hired, which many consider to be the greatest assembly of stars ever hired for a single project; Carroll Baker as Eve Prescott, Agnes Moorhead as Rebecca Prescott, Karl Malden as Zebulon Prescott, Debbie Reynolds as Lilith Prescott, Lee Cobb as Lou Ramsey, Henry Fonda as Jethro Stewart, Carolyn Jones as Julie Rawlings, Gregory Peck as Cleve Van Valen, George Peppard as Zeb Rawlings, Robert Preston as Roger Morgan, John Wayne as General William Tecumseh Sherman, Richard Widmark as Mike King, Walter Brennan as Colonel Jeb Hawkins, Raymond Massey as President Abraham Lincoln, and Harry Morgan as General Ulysses S. Grant. Read more…

THE ROBE – Alfred Newman

April 3, 2017 Leave a comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

20th Century Fox Studio chief Darryl Zanuck chose to use “The Robe” to introduce his new creation Cinemascope to the world. Cinemascope used an anamorphic lens that allowed the filming process to create an image of up to a 2.66:1 aspect ratio, almost twice as wide as the industry standard. He hired veteran Henry Koster to direct and adapted the script from the novel by Lloyd Douglas, which he had envisioned for years. “The Robe” is a Biblical epic, a love story and a tale of a man’s struggle for redemption. Marcellus (Richard Burton) is a Roman military tribune from a noble family who offends Caligula, heir to the Roman throne. In retribution he is deployed to Palestine, thus separating him from his life of luxury and his lover Diana (Jean Simmons). Upon his arrival he is given command of the unit charged with executing Jesus Christ, which he dutifully discharges. While drunk he happens to win in a craps game Jesus’ homespun robe after the crucifixion. The death of Jesus affects Marcellus profoundly, and henceforth he is tormented by recurring nightmares, delusions and guilt for his role in his crucifixion. On orders from Tiberius he returns to Palestine in search of the robe, which he believes has bewitched him. He thus begins a personal journey that will lead him to discover faith, forgiveness and ultimately redemption. The film was a huge critical success, winning two Oscars and a Golden Globe for Best Picture. The film and Cinemascope were also a huge commercial success, earning profits seven times that of its production costs. Read more…

CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE – Alfred Newman

November 28, 2016 Leave a comment

captainfromcastile100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

20th Century studio executive Darryl F. Zanuck came across the novel Captain From Castile (1945) by Samuel Shellabarger and was captivated by its love story and grand adventure. He paid an astounding $100,000 for the film rights and hired trusted director Henry King to manage the project. Lamar Trotti wrote the screenplay, which had to go through several incarnations to appease the Hayes Commission and the Catholic Church who objected to the novel’s critical portrayal of the Spanish Inquisition. King brought in a fine cast, which included; Tyrone Power as Pedro de Vargas, Jean Peters as Catana Pérez, Cesar Romero as Hernán Cortéz, Lee J. Cobb as Juan García, John Sutton as Diego de Silva, Antonio Moreno as Don Francisco de Vargas, and Thomas Gomez as Father Bartolomé de Olmedo. The story is set in Spain circa 1518 CE and offers a classic romance and adventure. Our hero Pedro de Vargas and his family are opposed to the Spanish Inquisition, which is directed by the diabolical Diego de Silva. Read more…