Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Max Steiner’

THE SEARCHERS – Max Steiner

June 19, 2017 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Renowned director John Ford had long been recognized as a master of the Western genre with successes, which included Stagecoach (1939), My Darling Clementine (1946), Fort Apache (1948) and Wagon Master (1950). He came upon a novel The Searchers (1954) by Alan Le May that he believed offered a powerful narrative, which needed to be brought to the big screen. Warner Brothers Studio approved the project, purchased the film rights and tasked Ford with bringing his vision to fruition. Frank Nugent was hired to write the screenplay and Ford assembled a stellar cast, which included; John Wayne as Ethan Edwards, Jeffrey Hunter as Martin Pawley, Vera Miles as Laurie Jorgensen, Ward Bond as Reverend Captain Samuel Clayton, Natalie Woods as Debbie Edwards and Henry Brandon as Scar. The story was set in Texas and inspired by a real life event, the 1836 kidnapping of Cynthia Ann Parker by Comanche Indians. She would spend twenty-four years of her life among them, bearing and raising three sons with her Comanche husband. Read more…

THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE – Max Steiner

December 5, 2016 Leave a comment

treasureofthesierramadre100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Writer-Director John Huston saw an opportunity with the novel Treasure of Sierra Madre (1935) by B. Traven to bring a timeless tale to the big screen. He convinced Warner Brothers studio executives of his vision and purchased the film rights for $6,500 from the reclusive author. He himself wrote the screenplay and he secured a first class cast for the project, which included; Humphrey Bogart as Fred Dobbs, Walter Huston as Howard, Tim Holt as Bob Curtin, Bruce Bennett as James Cody, Barton MacLane as Pat McCormick, Alfonso Bedoya as Gold Hat, and Arturo Soto Rangel as El Presidente. The theme of the story is as old as time itself – a study in human greed explored through the lives of three gold prospectors. Read more…

CASABLANCA – Max Steiner

August 8, 2016 1 comment

casablanca100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

In January of 1942 story editor Irene Diamond became enamored with the unproduced stage play “Everybody Comes to Ricks” by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison. She convinced Warner Brothers producer Hal B. Wallis to purchase the film rights, and brothers Julius and Philip Epstein were brought in to write the screenplay. Wallis was unable to secure William Wyler to direct, and so turned to his friend Michael Curtiz to manage the project. They brought in one of the most notable casts of the day with Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund, Paul Henreid as Victor Laszlo, Claude Reins as Captain Louis Renault, Conrad Veidt as Major Henrich Strasser, Sydney Greenstreet as Signor Ferrari, Peter Lorre as Signor Ugarte and Dooley Wilson as Sam. Read more…

NOW VOYAGER – Max Steiner

July 25, 2016 1 comment

nowvoyager100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Now Voyager was unusual in that it was perhaps a film before its time, the first woman’s film, what we would describe today in the vernacular as a “Chick Flick.” Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis) suffers under a cruel and tyrannical mother (Gladys Cooper) until a nervous breakdown sends her to a sanatorium. A kind physician (Claude Rains) heals her psychic wounds and we witness Charlotte reborn. She begins her new life with a Latin American cruise where she at last discovers love, with the unhappily married Jerry Durrance (Paul Henreid). Their love and attraction is real, but they are reconciled to their fates. Charlotte leaves the cruise a stronger woman, and we retain hope that some day the two will reunite. It turns out that they do, through Jerry’s daughter Tina whom Charlotte helps heal, and in so doing, heals herself. The film was a critical success and firmly cemented Davis as the star of her day. Read more…

GONE WITH THE WIND – Max Steiner

November 30, 2015 2 comments

gonewiththewind100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Margaret Mitchell’s novel “Gone With The Wind” caught legendary producer David O. Selznick’s eye and he saw destiny in the making. MGM purchased the film rights for and unprecedented $50,000 and set about to do the impossible – translate the massive 1,037 page story to the big screen. No film to this date provided such an epic sweep and six hours of film were shot, which featured thousands of actors. Set in the Ante-bellum era of the South circa 1860, its tells a story of love, envy, betrayal and the clash of cultures, which results in the loss of a way of life, swept away in the destructive torrents of war. Max Steiner had already firmly established himself as first among his peers and was tasked by Selznick to bring his passion project to fruition. He insisted on a score that was authentic and provided the epic sweep necessary to support the film’s narrative. Steiner responded and provided a masterwork, which many believe is his Magnum Opus. Consistent with the methods of the European Romantic traditions, which he championed, he provided eleven leitmotifs, one for each of the primary actors. Read more…

KING KONG – Max Steiner

October 12, 2015 1 comment

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. Read more…

SINCE YOU WENT AWAY – Max Steiner

May 25, 2015 Leave a comment

sinceyouwentawayMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Legendary producer David O. Selznick wanted to make a film, which demonstrated his patriotic support for the war effort. However, he was adamant that he did not want to make a traditional war movie. As such he personally adapted the screenplay from the 1943 novel “Since You Went Away: Letters to a Soldier from His Wife” by Margaret Buell Wilder. Selznick hired veteran director John Cromwell with whom he had collaborated on nine prior films, and then assembled a quality cast including; Claudette Colbert (Mrs. Anne Hilton), Jennifer Jones (Jane Deborah Hilton), Joseph Cotton (Lieutenant Commander Tony Willett), Shirley Temple (Bridget ‘Brig’ Hilton), Monty Woolley (Colonel William G. Smollett) and Lionel Barrymore as Clergyman. The movie is set in a typical American town located near a military base, where people with loved ones serving in the armed forces struggle to cope with their absence. The main storyline concerns Anne, a housewife whose husband is fighting overseas. She struggles with his absence as she tries to meet the challenges of youthful romance from their two daughters who are growing into womanhood. The film overflows with sentimentality against the somber backdrop of families coping with grief, loneliness or fear for the future. I believe Selznick achieved his ambition, as the film was both a commercial and critical success, earning nine Academy Award nominations, winning one for Best Score. Read more…