All posts under Franz Waxman

9 Purple Cows of Film Music


In his excellent 2002 book, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable, Seth Godin tells the story of a trip he took to France with his family. He describes driving around the French countryside, “enchanted by the hundreds of storybook cows grazing on picturesque pastures…For dozens of kilometers, we all gazed out the windows, marveling about how beautiful everything was.” But after the first 20 minutes, he started ignoring the cows. “The new cows were just like the old cows, and what once was amazing was now common. Worse than…

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9 Favorite Presidential Film Scores

Presidential Seal

For all our real-time fascination with the Presidency, audiences usually show very little interest in cinematic portrayals of the Commander in Chief. Perhaps because we have either lived through the period and don’t want to watch it all play out again onscreen, or maybe the era is so far removed that we just don’t care. Whatever the reason(s), these film and TV portraits  provide meaty roles for actors and dramatic stories composers can sink their musical chops into. For this month’s “9 on the 9th,” we visit the Oval Office—real…

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9 Favorite Film Composers

film-composers-e1344453067638 (1)_edited-1

As I approach my 50th birthday on the 19th, I’ve naturally been taking stock of my life so far and looking back at the good, bad and the ugly over my first half century. Arguably the most consistent element among the ups and downs is my love of film music. So, in a purely selfish move to celebrate my birthday month, many of this month’s blog posts will feature elements of wonderful film music memories from my first 50 years. This month’s “9 on the 9th” is a particularly dangerous,…

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9 Oscar-Winning Scores Still To Be Released

Thoroughly Modern Millie

You’d think there be a month that went by that I didn’t think about the Oscars. Alas, I’m just that shallow. Even though an Academy Award is no indication of quality, the Oscars are how I taught myself about the history of film music and I don’t like holes in my Oscar collection. Yet after 35+ years of burdening myself with such a foolish obsession, my collection is still minus too many excellent Oscar scores. I doubt the collection will ever be complete when it comes to nominated scores. There…

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9 Favorite Film Scores of 1962

Lawrence of Arabia

August is my birthday month. Back in school it sucked because kids never bothered to remember your birthday during the summer. As a young adult, I used to have a mental list that I’d check off each year as friends wished me a happy birthday (or not). (Pathetic.) Now, due to the marvel of Facebook, complete strangers (who are still friends) send me birthday greetings! And my ego is just delicate enough that that makes me happy. (Equally pathetic.) So rather than wait for the 19th to roll around (hint,…

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CD Review: Taras Bulba

Taras Bulba

Bernard Herrmann called it “the score of a lifetime.” And, oh, what a lifetime! Except for some TV work and one final score, Franz Waxman‘s 1962 score for TARAS BULBA brought the composer his 12th Oscar nomination and put a capper on a distinguished career. In this adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s novella, Yul Brynner starred as the leader of the Ukrainian Cossacks battling the invading Poles, with Tony Curtis as his son. While the film doesn’t offer much dramatically, Brynner and Curtis seem to be having fun with their father/son roles (even if Curtis…

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CD Review: Captain Blood – Classic Film Scores for Errol Flynn

Captain Blood

Out of the numerous albums in Charles Gerhardt’s Classic Film Scores series, CAPTAIN BLOOD–CLASSIC FILM SCORES FOR ERROL FLYNN, released in 1975, was the final album devoted to a particular star. While some of the scores on the album are familiar from other entires in the series, Gerhardt and the New Philharmonic Orchestra once again bring this great Golden Age film music stunningly to life. Three of Flynn’s most famous films were featured on Gerhardt’s first album in the series, THE SEA HAWK, devoted to the music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold….

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CD Review: Casablanca – Classic Film Scores for Humphrey Bogart


In addition to albums devoted to certain composers, Charles Gerhardt compiled a series of albums devoted to various film stars as part of his Classic Film Scores. The second album (the first was devoted to films of Bette Davis), and the sixth in the series overall, was CASABLANCA–CLASSIC FILM SCORES FOR HUMPHREY BOGART, released in 1974. Since Bogart did most of his work on the Warner Bros. lot, much of the album is devoted to music by Max Steiner. The first half of the album belongs to Steiner and begins,…

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The star of HUMORESQUE was composer Franx Waxman, not John Garfield’s driven concert violinist or Joan Crawford as his patroness-slash-lover. Waxman’s Oscar-nominated score took center stage, featuring everything from Tchaikovsky to Chopin, Rimsky-Korsakov to the Dvorak piece upon which the film’s title was based, plus a couple of Gershwin songs thrown in for good measure as source cues. Waxman was responsible for all the adaptations of the classical music as well as a small amount of original music, though he only gets a perfunctory “Music Conducted By” credit. Isaac Stern was credited as…

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9 Favorite Franz Waxman Scores

Franz Waxman

For this month’s “9 on the 9th” post, we focus on one of my favorite film composers, Golden Age or otherwise–Franz Waxman . Waxman got his start in Germany scoring films like Marlene Dietrich’s THE BLUE ANGEL (1932) before he was forced to flee the country when the Third Reich came into power. He composed his first Hollywood film score for James Whale’s THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935). Over the years, Waxman worked with legendary directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder, and in 1952, became the first composer to win…

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