Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Erich Wolfgang Korngold’

KINGS ROW – Erich Wolfgang Korngold

August 1, 2016 1 comment

kingsrow100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Kings Row continued Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s late career transition from period piece and swashbuckling adventure films to adult dramas whose darker tones and complex narratives, which lent themselves well to his operatic writing. Hal Wallis of Warner Brothers saw a powerful social narrative after reading Henry Bellamann’s stunning novel Kings Row (1940) and immediately secured film rights. The story follows Parris Mitchell of small town America circa 1900 as he sees the idyllic and pristine veneer of his Midwest town slowly stripped bare before his eyes with a grim and damning commentary, which included sadism, suicide, homosexuality, insanity, euthanasia, and murder. When compared to the novel, the film is tame, as the Hays Code censored most of the more sordid and controversial elements of the plot. Nevertheless the film did find its day in the sun both commercially and critically, earning three Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Cinematography. Read more…

THE SEA HAWK – Erich Wolfgang Korngold

December 7, 2015 1 comment

seahawk100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Captain Blood (1935) was such a stunning box office success that Warner Brothers Studios decided to follow-up with a second sea faring adventure, which would again feature their dashing swashbuckling hero Errol Flynn. Production delays and script rewrites delayed the film until 1940, however the time was well spent, as the final product was just brilliant, perhaps the greatest swashbuckling film of all time. Korngold was the natural choice for composer and his classic European romantic style was perfectly suited for the film. He always viewed films as an opera libretto for orchestra and sought to create a complex, ornate, and thematically rich contrapuntal soundscape. For The Sea Hawk he created an amazing eleven leitmotifs that fully captured the sea faring, adventure, heroism and pageantry of the Spanish and Elizabethan courts. Read more…

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD – Erich Wolfgang Korngold

November 16, 2015 Leave a comment

adventuresofrobinhood100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

I offer my heartfelt thanks to Anna Bonn, John Morgan and William Stromberg for yet another masterful rerecording of a treasured Golden Age score. Performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the sound quality is superb as is conductor Stromberg’s mastery of Korngold’s music. This expert team have once again superbly reconstructed and re-recorded the entire score with outstanding quality. This score is a rousing, rich, multi-thematic effort that offers you the regal splendor and gallantry of Medieval England. The story was Errol Flynn’s vehicle, and his brash, bold, charismatic and fiercely defiant persona animated the film. Korngold music is perfectly attenuated to his heroic persona and expertly captured his irrepressible spirit. From the fanfare of the Main Title, to the lush Love Theme where the Lady Marian succumbs to his charm, to the epic and culminating Duel, this score is a testimony to Korngold’s genius, and mastery of his craft. His countless melodies and fan fares are timeless, peerless, and continue to echo through time. Read more…

ANTHONY ADVERSE – Erich Wolfgang Korngold

July 20, 2015 Leave a comment

anthonyadverseMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Warner Brothers Studio was in the market for a period piece romance and found its inspiration in Harvey Allen’s massive 1200 page novel “Anthony Adverse” (1933), paying an amazing $40,000 for the screen rights. Veteran director Mervyn LeRoy was hired to manage the project with Sheridan Gibney and Milton Krims tasked with adapting the mammoth novel for the big screen. The stellar cast included Frederic March as Anthony Adverse, Olivia de Havilland as Angela Giuseppe, Donald Woods as Vincent Nolte, Anita Louise as Maria Bonnyfeather, Edmund Gwenn as John Bonnyfeather and Claude Rains as Marquis Don Luis. Set in late 18th century Italy, the story offers a classic morality tale abounding with treachery, betrayal and misfortune. Maria is in an arranged marriage to the rich and cruel Marquis Don Luis, who is very much her senior. She however is in love with the man her dreams, a young and dashing French Calvary officer with who she becomes pregnant. When the Marquis discovers her dishonor, he kills her lover in a duel, and after she dies in childbirth, leaves her bastard son at a convent. When young Anthony reaches manhood he falls in love and marries his sweetheart Angela. By a twist of fate they become separated, tragically he is bereft at her disappearance while she feels he has abandoned her. As Anthony seeks his fortune overseas Angela rises to become an opera star. Years later when our lovers finally reunite, Anthony discovers that Angela has bore him a son, but she fails to disclose that she is now the famous opera star Mlle. Georges, mistress of Napoleon Bonaparte. When Anthony learns her secret, he is heart-broken and departs for America with his son in search of a better life. The film was a commercial and critical success, earning seven Academy Award nominations, winning four, including Best Original Score. Read more…

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD – Erich Wolfgang Korngold

July 6, 2015 1 comment

adventuresofrobinhoodMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

In 1935 Warner Brothers Studio sought to bring an epic swashbuckling film to the big screen and William Keighley was hired to direct. Screenwriters Norman Reilly Raine and Seton Miller were brought in to write the script, for which they drew inspiration from the Medieval Robin Hood legends. A stellar cast was assembled including; Errol Flynn (Sir Robin of Locksley AKA Robin Hood), Olivia de Havilland (Lady Marian Fitzwalter), Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisbourne), Claude Reins (Prince John), Patrick Knowles (Will Scarlett), Eugene Pallette (Friar Tuck), Alan Hale Sr. (Little John) and Melville Cooper (High Sheriff of Nottingham). The story reveals that in 1,191 C.E. King Richard the Lionheart of England has been taken captive by Leopold V, Duke of Austria, as he returned from the Third Crusade. Regretfully his imprisonment provides a pretext for his treacherous brother Prince John to usurp the throne. As a member of the ruling Norman elite, he begins a reign of terror and oppression of the native Saxons, raising taxes supposedly to ransom Richard’s freedom, but in reality the money flows into his personal coffers for his own enrichment. Only one nobleman has the conscience to oppose John’s duplicity, the Saxon knight Sir Robin of Locksley. At a court dinner he boldly declares that he will do all in his power to oppose John and restore Richard to the throne. For this affront John issues an arrest warrant. With his lands and title now forfeit, Robin assembles a band of “Merry Men” who rob from the rich and provide for the poor. When Lady Marion becomes his prisoner, her initial disdain turns to admiration and then love when she sees Robin’s nobility and care for the people. Eventually Robin discovers Richard has returned and devises a plan to overthrow John. He and his men enter Sir Guy’s castle dressed as monks and succeed in winning the day, which features an epic duel with Sir Guy. Now vanquished, a contrite John begs for Richard’s forgiveness, and is exiled. Richard then pardons the Merry Men, knights Robin as Baron of Locksley and Earl of Sherwood and Nottingham. He then commands Robin to marry his ward, the Lady Marian resulting in a classic happy ending! The film was both a huge commercial success and critical success, earning four Academy Award nominations, winning three, including Best Original Score. Read more…

ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD – Fathers of Film Music, Part 2

June 1, 2014 1 comment

Erich Wolfgang KorngoldArticle by Craig Lysy

Born: 29 May 1897, Brünn, Moravia.
Died: 29 November 1957

Erich Wolfgang Korngold was born of Jewish ancestry in the city of Brünn located in the province of Moravia, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (and is now Brno in the Czech Republic). He was the second son of renowned music critic Julius Korngold and his wife Josephine. His innate musical gifts manifested early when he played his Cantata “Gold” for composer Gustav Mahler, who was so impressed that he declared him a musical genius. When at age 11 his ballet “Der Schneemann” premiered at the Vienna Court Opera house for Emperor Franz Josef his destiny was set. His parents chose to act on Mahler’s recommendations and enrolled Erich to study under the auspices of Alexander von Zemlinsky and Robert Fuchs. To support his education Korngold made live recordings for player piano rolls, some of which survive today. Read more…

THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER – Erich Wolfgang Korngold

October 11, 2012 Leave a comment

MOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The Prince and the Pauper was Mark Twain’s first effort to write a historical fiction novel. Director William Keighley had screenwriter Laird Doyle adapt the tale for film and hired swashbuckler star Errol Flynn (Miles Hendon) to head his cast, which included Claude Raines (Lord Hertford) and the twins Billy and Bobby Mauch. The story involves the birth of two boys who share both an uncommon resemblance and destiny: the pauper Tom and prince Edward. As a kid, Tom would often sneak into the palace garden and play with the prince. One day they change clothes with each other and are discovered by the guards, which eject the prince who they assumed, was a pauper. As the two boys struggle with their new lives, King Henry VIII dies leaving Tom under the malevolent control of Lord Hertford the duty of assuming the throne. With the assistance of mercenary Miles Hendon, Edward succeeds in interrupting the coronation and regaining his standing as rightful heir. The film did not achieve critical success but was never the less a commercial success. Read more…