Great Film Scores from Hollywood's Golden Age of Cinema
Great Music Scores
Great Film Scores from Hollywood’s Golden Age of Cinema
Note: You can enjoy these gorgeous film scores by simply visiting www.youtube.com
Film scores today are of a totally different nature than they were back in the 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s. Great film scores like the ones to The Shining, Predator and American Beauty, would have probably not made it back in Hollywood’s Golden Age of Cinema. For starters, horror and sci-fi flicks were of little consequence in the 40’s and 50’s, so this type of music wasn’t as necessary back then. And secondly, a trendy and groundbreaking film score like the one to American Beauty, would have most likely been rendered obsolete 70-80 years ago, because, love stories back in those days were much more tender and innocent than the harsh love narratives of today. Subsequently, some critics attacked James Cameron when he decided to make Titanic, because, of what I just said...nevertheless, Cameron laughed his way to the bank on that one....
Today, large orchestras like the ones used by Tiomkin in the 50’s are not as common anymore, mainly and because of budget reasons. - Remember, if you’re a composer and are hired to write a film score, the director might hand you a check for you to put the whole thing together - this includes orchestra, recordings, musicians, etc..., so be very conscientious about the money handed to you by the film director/producer. Hire an accountant if you need to, so they can calculate all possible expenses for you. This way, when it’s all said and done, you can walk out with some profit - even if little!... Back in Tiomkin’s day (using Dimitri Tiomkin as a hypothetical), many television networks owned their own orchestras, so you had little to worry about paying individual musicians...unions and the likes.... Point being, things were much cheaper and easier to produce in those days than they are nowadays. ...all said..., if you’re John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, or another well known film composer, then you’ve got little to worry about, because, most successful directors will pay any exuberant amount of money to have a famous composer score their upcoming film - possible Oscar winner?...
King Kong - 1933
Excellent score by Max Steiner.
The Wizard of Oz - 1939
One of the loveliest musical scores Hollywood has ever produced. Composers: Herbert Stothart, Harold Arlen and a few others get credit for this timeless Hollywood classic. Additionally, there’s a scene in the movie when Toto (Dorothy’s dog) is being chased by the Wicked Witch’s guards. In this scene, they play the Scherzo from Mendelssohn’s piano piece entitled: Trois Fantaisies ou Caprices (they also play the music of Schumann in the film). At the end of the film, no pertinent credits show up to advise you of this fact. Ah, as the saying goes: “those were the good old days...” Today, you must list any and all pertinent music, as well as any other information on the film’s beginning/final credits, or risk being fined....
Gone with the Wind - 1939
Another great film with a superb score by Max Steiner.
Citizen Kane 1941
Just like Gone with the Wind before it, and Casablanca after it, Citizen Kane is considered one of the greatest films of all times. The score was by none other than Bernard Hermann, who himself has been called one of the greatest film composers of all times. Trivia: Citizen Kane was the first film score that Hermann composed.
Casablanca - 1942
This movie, based on the goings on in Morocco’s largest city during WWII, has been called by many “the greatest film ever made!” The film’s music is also amongst the finest ever composed. Credit goes to Max Steiner, who was one of the most famous film composer of his day.
Now, Voyager - 1942
Another fine Max Steiner score. If you didn’t know Steiner had been a pupil of Brahms and Mahler, you’d think Tchaikovsky was his music teacher after listening to this overly melodramatic musical score.
A Place in the Sun - 1951
Another excellent film score, this time by Franz Waxman.
The Ten Commandments - 1956
Great film score by Elmer Bernstein.
Ben Hur - 1959
One of the greatest film scores ever written. Miklos Rozsa was of Hungarian background. Rozsa wrote some of the greatest film scores of all times, including this one.
Love Story - 1970
No list of great Hollywood classic film scores would be complete without this one. This is Francis Lai’s most famous musical score. Quirky plot, but as I was saying at the beginning of this article: they don’t make romantic narratives like these anymore....