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FOREVER AMBER – David Raksin

May 31, 2021 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Kathleen Winsor’s novel Forever Amber proved to be a sensational success with the public, one fully noticed by the major movie studios. 20th Century Fox executive Darryl F. Zanuck moved quickly to secure the film rights paying an astounding $200,000 to Winsor. Writing the screenplay proved to be torturous with Winsor and then Jerome Cady failing to adapt the massive novel in a way that would gain approval by the National League of Decency. Ultimately the team of Philip Dunne and Ring Lardner Jr. succeeded. William Perlberg was assigned to produce the film with a budget of $3 million and John M. Stahl was tasked with directing. The project went off the rails immediately when star Peggy Cummins collapsed on the set. After a three-month delay, she was pulled from the lead role, Stahl was assigned to another project and the studio found itself $1 million in the hole. Otto Preminger was brought in to direct and salvage the project and a new cast assembled, which included Linda Darnell as Amber St. Clair, Cornel Wilde as Bruce Carlton, Richard Greene as Lord Harry Almsbury, and George Sanders as King Charles II of England. Read more…

LAURA – David Raksin

September 12, 2016 1 comment

laura100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Director Otto Preminger came upon a story authored by Vera Caspary titled “Ring Twice Laura” which he sought for a theatrical release on Broadway. He was attracted to the high society setting and plot twist. Unfortunately the project never came to fruition. Caspary later expanded the story into a novel, with the sequel titled, “Laura”. 20th Century Fox purchased the film rights for both and Darryl Zanuck tasked Preminger with producing the film – they had clashed in the past and he out of spite would not allow Preminger to direct. After repeated clashes between Preminger and Director Rouben Mamoulian over casting Laird Creagar for the pivotal Waldo Lydecker role, Zannuck relented, fired Mamoulian and turned over the directing duties to Preminger. He immediately brought is a fine cast, which included Gene Tierney as Laura Hunt, Dana Andrews as Detective Mark McPherson, Clifton Webb as Waldo Lydecker, Judith Anderson as Ann Treadwell, Vincent Price as Shelby Carpenter and Dorothy Adams as Bessie Clary. Read more…

DAVID RAKSIN – Fathers of Film Music, Part 10

May 1, 2015 Leave a comment

David RaksinArticle by Craig Lysy

Born: 4 August 1912, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Died: 9 August 2004.

David Raksin was of Russian Jewish heritage; the eldest of three sons born in Philadelphia after his parents had emigrated to America. He was blessed with a musical family as his father Isidore played the clarinet professionally while also writing and conducting music for silent films. Isidore encouraged his son’s nascent talents and instructed him in both the piano and woodwinds. Well, young David was a quick study and by age twelve he had formed his own dance band, which he later expanded for broadcasting on the local CBS radio station, WCAU. During high school his talent earned him steady employment playing the clarinet for professional dance bands. Remarkably, he taught himself orchestration and received a bona fide Bachelors of Fine Arts degree. Upon graduation he enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania to study composition under Harl McDonald. He paid for his education by playing in society bands and radio orchestras. He also both arranged and conducted the first programs of improvised jazz at football games, for which he won several prizes. Read more…