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Posts Tagged ‘Franz Waxman’

A PLACE IN THE SUN – Franz Waxman

March 6, 2017 Leave a comment

aplaceinthesun100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The film was adapted from a 1925 novel “An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser. Director George Stevens hired Michael Wilson and Harry Brown for the screenplay, and assembled a stellar cast to at last bring this tragic story to life. George Stevens (Montgomery Clift), Angela Vickers (Elizabeth Taylor) and Alice Tripp (Shelley Winters) were hired as the principles and paired with a great cast of supporting players. The film centers on George Eastman, a poor man raised by an evangelical mother, who is tragically undone by his own actions. He leaves Chicago dirt poor, determined to make a name for himself working in the company of his wealthy Uncle in California. While there he begins dating Alice, a girl he met in the plant. All seems fine until he becomes completely enamored with Angela, a drop dead gorgeous socialite whom he meets at a party. He abandons Alice without a thought and begins dating Angela. The two fall in love, yet things begin to unravel when Alice discloses to George that she is pregnant. When she threatens a public disclosure if he does not marry her, George feels cornered and so devises a plot to murder her. When the time comes to strike through a staged boat accident, his conscience prevails and he relents only to see Alice drown anyway by accident. He survives, but inexplicably fails to report her death to the authorities. As such, although innocent, circumstantial evidence and his own guilty behavior make authorities suspicious. His arrest comes just as Angela’s father grants him permission to marry his daughter. He is then tried and sentenced to death in the electric chair. Read more…

SUNSET BOULEVARD – Franz Waxman

February 27, 2017 Leave a comment

sunsetboulevard100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Director Billy Wilder and producer Charles Brackett created a brilliant film noir screenplay, which told the story of a once proud but now aged Hollywood actress who wished to end her seclusion and regain past glory. For the principle actors, Gloria Swanson was given the part of Norma Desmond. A young William Holden was selected for Joe Gillis and Erich von Stronheim was cast as Norma’s former husband and now butler Max von Mayerling. The story tells the tale of Joe Gillis, a young screenwriter down on his luck that drives into Desmond’s estate while fleeing a car repossesor. Norma, who has written a script to propel her comeback, hires Joe to create a screenplay. She lavishes her wealth and affection on him, which he freely and shamelessly accepts. Ultimately she falls in love with Joe and when he rejects her she shoots him. The story ends as a now elegantly dressed yet mad Norma descends her grand staircase to greet the police. Halfway down she pauses and announces proudly that she is happy to be making films again, ending with “All right, Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up.” The movie was both a commercial and critical success earning eleven Academy Award nominations, winning three for Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction and Best Film Score. Read more…

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN – Franz Waxman

October 26, 2015 Leave a comment

brideoffrankenstein100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Due to the tremendous commercial success of Frankenstein in 1931, Universal Studios was highly motivated to film a sequel. However, director James Whale was not interested preferring to pursue other projects, going on to make The Old Dark House in 1932 and The Invisible Man in 1933. Ultimately, he succumbed after four relentless years of badgering, and agreed to direct The Bride of Frankenstein for release in 1935. He brought in trusted screenwriters John Balderston and William Hurlbut to write the script for “The Return of Frankenstein” and he was given a budget of $300,000. Over time the story evolved leading it to be retitled “The Bride of Frankenstein”. Boris Karloff would reprise the role of the monster, while Colin Cleve would return as Henry Frankenstein. Joining them would be Valerie Hobson as Elizabeth, Ernest Thesiger as Doctor Pretorius, Elsa Lanchester as the Monster’s bride, Glavin Gordon as Lord Byron, Douglas Walton as Percy Bysshe Shelley, Dwight Frye as Karl Glutz, and Una O’Connor as Minnie. The story opens on a stormy night with Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron commending Mary Shelley on the success of her novel “Frankenstein”. She thanks them and then discloses that there was much more to be said regarding the story and we shift to the fiery ending of the first film. We discover that the monster and Henry Frankenstein have apparently survived. After recuperating, Henry meets with Dr. Pretorius who reveals his successful experiments creating homunculi. They decide to collaborate in the audacious creation of a mate for Frankenstein’s monster. After much intrigue they succeed in creating the monster’s bride only to see him shattered as she summarily rejects him. The monster is unable to bear this fate and in a fit of rage destroys the laboratory killing himself and his intended bride. The film was a commercial success earning $2 million or five times its production costs of $397,000. It was also critically praised yet secured only one Academy Award nomination for Best Sound Recording. Read more…

FRANZ WAXMAN – Fathers of Film Music, Part 5

October 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Franz WaxmanArticle by Craig Lysy

Born: 24 December 1906, Königshütte, Germany.
Died: 24 February 1967

Franz Wachsmann was born of Jewish ancestry in the city of Königshütte in Germany (now Chorzów, Poland). He was the youngest of eight children and suffered permanent impairment to his eyes from a scolding water accident in the kitchen at age three. Very early on Franz revealed a natural gift for the piano, but his development was stymied by his father, a salesman in the steel industry, who preferred that he pursue a more traditional career. As such young Franz became a bank teller and used his meager earnings to support his piano lessons.

Waxman was determined to pursue music and so in 1923, at age 16, he enrolled in the Dresden Music Academy where he studied composition and conducting. His success playing popular music on piano allowed him the means further advance his education by later enrolling in the prestigious Berlin Conservatory. During his work as a pianist with a dance band called the Weintraub Syncopaters, he met lifelong friend Frederick Hollander, who introduced him to Bruno Walter, one of the preeminent conductors of the age. Waxman’s career momentum began to build as he gained notoriety as an orchestrator for the German film industry. He got his first break to score Hollander’s film for the Marlene Dietrich “The Blue Angel” (1930). But a dark pall was descending upon German society and later that year Waxman suffered a severe beating by Nazi sympathizers in Berlin that led him to flee Germany with his wife to Paris. Read more…

SUNSET BOULEVARD – Franz Waxman

August 25, 2014 1 comment

sunsetboulevardMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Director Billy Wilder and producer Charles Brackett created a brilliant film noir screenplay for Sunset Boulevard, which told the story of a once proud but now aged Hollywood actress who wished to end her seclusion and regain past glory. For the principle actors, after considering Mae West and Mary Pickford for the leading role Gloria Swanson was given the part of Norma Desmond. A young William Holden was selected for Joe Gillis and Erich von Stronheim was cast as Norma’s former husband and now butler Max von Mayerling. The story tells the tale of Joe Gillis, a young screenwriter down on his luck that drives into Desmond’s estate while fleeing a car repo man. Norma, who has written a script to propel her comeback, hires Joe to create a screenplay. She lavishes her wealth and affection on him, which he freely and shamelessly accepts. Ultimately she falls in love with Joe and when he rejects her she shoots him. The story ends as a now elegantly dressed yet mad Norma descends her grand staircase to greet the police. Halfway down she pauses and announces proudly that she is happy to be making films again, ending with “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” The movie was both a commercial and critical success earning eleven Academy Award nominations, winning three for Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction and Best Film Score. Read more…

A PLACE IN THE SUN – Franz Waxman

August 18, 2014 1 comment

aplaceinthesunMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

A Place in the Sun was adapted from a 1925 novel “An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser. Director George Stevens hired Michael Wilson and Harry Brown for the screenplay, and assembled a stellar cast to at last bring this tragic story to life. George Stevens (Montgomery Clift), Angela Vickers (Elizabeth Taylor) and Alice Tripp (Shelley Winters) were hired as the principles and paired with a great cast of supporting players. The film centers on George Eastman, a poor man raised by an evangelical mother, who is tragically undone by his own actions. He leaves Chicago dirt poor, determined to make a name for himself working in the company of his wealthy Uncle in California. While there he begins dating Alice, a girl he met in the plant. All seems fine until he becomes completely enamored with Angela, a drop dead gorgeous socialite whom he meets at a party. He abandons Alice without a thought and begins dating Angela. The two fall in love, yet things begin to unravel when Alice discloses to George that she is pregnant. When she threatens a public disclosure if he does not marry her, George feels cornered and so devises a plot to murder her. When the time comes to strike through a staged boat accident, his conscience prevails and he relents only to see Alice drown anyway by accident. He survives, but inexplicably fails to report her death to the authorities. As such, although innocent, circumstantial evidence and his own guilty behavior make authorities suspicious. His arrest comes just as Angela’s father grants him permission to marry his daughter. He is then tried and sentenced to death in the electric chair. Read more…

DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS – Franz Waxman

March 17, 2014 4 comments

demetriusandthegladiatorsMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Demetrius and the Gladiators was the sequel to the first CinemaScope picture, “The Robe”. Twentieth Century Fox chief, Darryl F. Zanuck, decided that there was money to be made with the new revolutionary format and so production was already under way as “The Robe” premiered. Of the original cast, Victor Mature (Demetrius), Michael Rennie (Peter), and Jay Robinson (Caligula) returned to reprise their roles and were joined by newcomers Susan Hayward (Messalina) and Debra Paget (Lucia). The story unfolds as a classic tale of faith and personal redemption. Demetrius, the guardian of the Robe of Christ loses his faith when his love Lucia, is ravaged by Roman gladiators and apparently dies. When his fervent prayers fail to revive her he becomes bitter and angry with God. Demetrius abandons his faith and embarks upon a life of violence, indulgence and lust. But when he later discovers that Lucia had not died due to the grace of God he regains his faith and lives to see the day of the emperor Caligula’s death, when the long suffering Praetorian Guard at last turns on him. This sequel outperformed The Robe and was both a commercial and critical success. Read more…