All posts under Max Steiner

9 Favorite Main Titles

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Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, movies used to have main titles that were scored. For two minutes, the composer laid the musical groundwork and set the tone for the film to follow. Then along came main title songs, sometimes written by the score composers, sometimes not. If not, the composer usually weaved that song melody (a la “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing,” “Three Coins in the Fountain,” etc.) into the fabric of the score. Come the ’80s and ’90s, it was all about marketing the soundtrack…

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9 Most Influential Film Composers

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Every film composer brings his or her talent to a project. They carve out a career path for themselves in which they (hopefully) can make a living through the art and craft of creating music. But some film composers change the face of the art form. In the course of doing their jobs, they leave a lasting impression on the industry that reaches far beyond a fan’s favorite score or film. The list below contains an alphabetized list of what I consider to be the most influential film composers. These…

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Tall Tales


THE ADVENTURES OF MARK TWAIN is exactly what the title suggests: an episodic, highly entertaining (and highly fictionalized) “biography” of the celebrated author through his childhood, riverboating on the Mississippi River, his books and legendary lecture tour. Fredric March is a delight as—and the spitting image of—Twain, and even though much of the film contains barely a kernel of truth, it plants enough seeds to potentially inspire further investigation into the “real” story. MARK TWAIN was originally filmed in 1942 but wasn’t released until 1944, as a morale booster for…

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50 Favorite Film Scores, Part 2: #40–31

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Yesterday, I began a week-long look at 50 of my favorite film scores. If you want to read about the background behind the project, check out the earlier post. The remaining scores will be covered throughout the rest of the week. Now, on with the next installment of 50 of my favorite film scores… 40. GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) [audio:gonewiththewind.mp3] Max Steiner’s classic score is made for the Technicolor sweep of the big screen. Anchored by arguably the most famous piece of film music ever written (if for no…

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9 Favorite Film Composers

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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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The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima

The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima

In 1917, three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, reportedly saw a vision of a lady in a cloud. Over a period of six months, the crowds expanded on the 13th of each month as news spread of sightings of what appeared to be the Blessed Virgin Mary. THE MIRACLE OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA (1952) explores the age-old combination of fear, faith and religious persecution without ever treating the story with a heavy hand. The performances by the three children are never cloying and Gilbert Roland’s breezy role as the town skeptic helps…

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9 Favorite Film Music Marches

The Music Man

Because my quota of clever (such as it is) is already used up for the month, March’s “9 on the 9th” post celebrates, well, marches. (Oy.) Having spent more than my dues in marching bands back in high school, the strict 4/4 march tempo can make me break out in a cold sweat, as do the horrific memories of rehearsing in 100+ degree temperatures in the middle of August on Texas blacktop pavement. (You could literally feel the heat through your sneakers. But I digress…) You’d think that pretty much…

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9 Favorite Film Scores of Max Steiner


“The Father of Film Music”… How’s that for a moniker to live up to? I don’t know when or where that title was given to Max Steiner, or whether it gave him pause or not. Probably not. But few titles are more apropos. Sure, there was film music prior to Steiner’s arrival in Hollywood. But his score for KING KONG in 1933 arguably “invented” the modern film score and set a new standard for dramatic film music. This month celebrates the 75th anniversary of the publication of Margaret Mitchell’s GONE WITH…

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9 Oscar-Nominated Scores That Deserve (Re)discovery


With the 2010 Academy Awards just weeks away, this month’s “9 on the 9th” post covers some real “lost in the shuffle” Oscar-nominated film scores. With over 75 years worth of scores to choose from, I had to set myself some ground rules. The main rule was no CD’s. Sure, a CD does not necessarily guarantee discovery by general film music fans, but the odds improve significantly. LP releases were eligible. These scores are not necessarily my “favorites” per se, as in other posts, though I heartily recommend them all. Instead,…

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