All posts under Miklos Rozsa

When In Rome…

Ben-Hur_1

…I do as the Romans do. I recently got back from a trip to Switzerland where I hopefully wrapped up the research for my book on the music of Charlie Chaplin. After a week of furiously plowing through scores and correspondence at the Chaplin Archives in Montreux, I decided to take ten days of much needed R&R in Italy, all of which was underscored by a proper playlist of appropriately chosen film music. Though famous musical Venetians like Vivaldi and Monteverdi helped me navigate their slender, tourist-clogged streets, some film composers also accompanied…

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9 Favorite FSM CDs

fsm

With the release of Jerry Fielding’s THE WILD BUNCH last month, it’s the end of the line for the Film Score Monthly label. With a roster of 250 releases since 1996, FSM filled a very important void in the soundtrack business. With its primary concentration on the MGM library (which later incorporated other studios), producer Lukas Kendall had access to one of the richest veins of Silver and Golden Age film music. FSM had its share of heavy-hitters—the Newman’s, Goldsmith’s, Williams’s, Barry’s, Morricone’s, North’s, Waxman’s, Herrmann’s, Bernstein’s, and basically the…

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50 Favorite Film Scores, Part 4: #20–11

ben-hur-image

If you want to refresh your memory of earlier entries in the list, check out the past few posts—Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. We’re coming into the home stretch but not just yet. Herewith are the next batch of some of my favorite scores… 20. THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR (1947) Bernard Herrmann goes romantic. The fantastical story of a young widow in love with a dead sea captain features arguably Herrmann’s most ravishing work (and Herrmann’s personal favorite). The score beautifully captures the crashing waves and swirling…

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The Green-Eyed Monster

A Double Life

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock The meat it feeds on. (Othello, Act 3, Scene 3) Jealousy certainly does make monsters of us all. In A DOUBLE LIFE (1947), Ronald Colman stars as an actor whose latest role as the jealous, murderous Othello begins to take over his psyche, blurring reality. George Cukor’s direction is tight, Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin’s script is clever, and Colman gives the performance of a lifetime, winning himself an Oscar in the process. With lines that blur…

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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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CD Review: Casablanca – Classic Film Scores for Humphrey Bogart

casalbanca

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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Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity

Billy Wilder’s DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) wasn’t the first film noir, but it was the beginning of a new phase in Miklos Rozsa’s already stellar career. Adapted from James M. Cain’s classic crime novel, Fred MacMurray stars as insurance salesman Walter Neff, Barbara Stanwyck is the sultry housewife Phyllis who convinces him to bump off her husband for the insurance money, and Edward G. Robinson is the claims adjuster who smells something fishy. Rozsa’s music matches the film noir genre with its light and shadows, tension and release. The score contains few themes and the music…

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9 Favorite Miklos Rozsa Scores

Ben-Hur

I just recently finished Film Score Monthly’s massive, and massively entertaining, 15-CD Miklos Rozsa Treasury (1949-1968). So who better to focus on for this month’s “9 on the 9th” post than this multiple Oscar-winner. If you listen to Rozsa’s music with any regularity, you’ll notice many of the same harmonic progressions and rhythmic motifs. Much of his writing, especially for brass, is stiff and unforgiving. But Rozsa was often given very serious subjects to score, and he treated the music with the same respect he did his concert writing. And…

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Spellbound

Spellbound

Producer David O. Selznick, who had recently gone through a “successful” bout of therapy (not at all common in the mid-1940s), was determined to bring the world of psychoanalysis to the screen and hired his REBECCA director, Alfred Hitchcock, to direct SPELLBOUND (1945). Ingrid Bergman stars as a cold-hearted therapist who falls in love with an amnesiac (Gregory Peck) accused of murder, and tries to help him unlock the depths of his subconscious to find out who he really is. The film has all those wonderful Hitchcock touches and has some…

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Row, Row, Row Your Boat

benhur

In 1959, M-G-M’s future was riding on the success or failure of the studio’s $15 million remake of the 1925 silent classic, BEN-HUR. They needn’t have worried. Epics with biblical themes reaped big rewards at the box office in the 1950s and BEN-HUR was no exception. It turned into a colossal hit and became the number one movie of the year. Based on General Lew Wallace’s bestselling novel, Charlton Heston stars as Judah Ben-Hur, a proud Jew, whose friendship with the Roman sentry Messala (Stephen Boyd) eventually turns them into bitter…

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