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Warner Bros. - Fifty Years of Film Music - 1923 – 1973
Warner Bros. Records
Music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
1. The Sea Hawk (1940) (6:59)
THE SEA HAWK ranks as one of Errol Flynn’s best all around films, and remains a beautiful picture to watch and to hear. It deals with the exploits of a fictional character suggested by Sir Francis Drake (Flynn) who, along with other privateers, commanded marauding expedition against the Spanish, taking rich booty from treasure ships and Spanish possessions in the Americas for the treasury of Queen Elizabeth (Flora Robson).
ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD’S exuberant score splendidly captures the sweep and roll of 16th-century ships and the court pomp and intrigue.
In addition to the full-blooded Main Title music, included here is the score to accompany a love scene between Flynn and Brenda Marshall, and the sequence following the escape from the galley, when Flynn and his men – free of the oppressive shackles – break into a spirited song as they set sail for Dover and home on the captured Spanish galleon.
2. Kings Row (1942) (4:52)
Kings Row, a fictional small mid-Western town in 1890, was dissected in an elaborately mounted psychological melodrama. William Cameron Menzies’ ingenious production design, James Wong Howe’s striking black and white photography and Sam Wood’s first-rate direction fused to produce a potent film.
The final touch was ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD’S surging and passionate music, which emphasized the intricate relationships inherent in the original novel by Henry Bellamann and retained in Casey Robinson’s fine adaptation.
Beginning the short suite is an unexpected interpolation: ERICH KORNGOLD had a most distinctive manner of playing the piano. During a party given for Korngold in 1951 by Ray Heindorf, the head of Warner’s music department, the composer played selections from his work at the piano. Heindorf recorded him on tape, and the suite begins with Korngold’s piano rendition of the main theme from KINGS ROW, and then segues to the actual opening music with full orchestra from the original sound track. There is a short scherzo depicting the children at play in the ice house, and a full, rich statement of the lovely melody associated with Randy (Ann Sheridan) and Drake (Ronald Reagan).
3. THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938) (15:16)
One of the most extraordinary blends of dramatic music and visual imagery to come out of Hollywood, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD is truly an endearing and enduring masterpiece of the screen.
ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD’S operatic-like score is descriptive music of the highest order and exceptionally appropriate to the subject and its treatment. Korngold composed over a dozen themes for the principal characters and situations – many of which are included in this suite.
The opening title music starts with the March of the Merry Men – Robin’s band of outlaws. This rollicking motif melts into a noble and dual theme depicting Robin’s love for Lady Marian (Olivia de Havilland) and his loyalty to King Richard the Lion-Hearted (Ian Hunter). The title music ends with a brief fanfare used to denote Prince John (Claude Rains) and the villainous Norman knights. A short, “old English” interlude to set the scene of a banquet in Nottingham Castle is interrupted by Robin Hood’s entrance – with a deer over his shoulders – into the Main Hall.
A major sequence in the film occurs when Robin and his band drop from the trees onto Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone) and his entourage on horseback in order to save the ransom money for King Richard, who is a prisoner in Austria. A light-hearted feast in Robin’s Sherwood Forest lair follows.
The festive and heraldic Archery Tournament fanfares lead up to the scene in which Robin, in disguise, splits his opponent’s arrow with one of his own, thereby winning the tournament.
A beautifully developed music structure follows to support a love scene between Robin and Lady Marian at her balcony window on the evening following Robin’s escape from the hangman’s noose.
The last selection is the finale to the film Richard has returned to rule, Prince John and his followers are suppressed, and Robin and Marian will presumably live happily ever after.
WARNER BROS. PRESENTS
1. ALL THIS, AND HEAVEN TOO (1940) (1:40)
The important and commanding Warner Bros. fanfare – composed by MAX STEINER in 1937 – opens side two of 50 Years of Warner Bros. Film Music. This Trade Mark theme, used behind hundreds of Warner films, leads into the Main Title for one of Bette Davis’ more opulent period productions.
As governess to a nobleman’s children in 19th century France, Henriette’s (Davis) romance with the duke (Charles Boyer) eventually leads to murder, suicide, and scandal.
Steiner’s theme for Henriette is a lovely waltz, introduced in the Main Title and reprised in several moods during the film.
2. THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948) (4:35)
Once the characters portrayed by Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt begin their trek into the mountainous Sierra Madre in Mexico, MAX STEINER introduces his memorable and haunting theme to underline the journey and its participants.
The composer’s skill is evident in the way this particular music lends itself to the variety of changes it undergoes as the three men react to the stress, hardship, and psychological tests of the search for and the finding of promised riches.
Reflected in the score is Bogart’s increasing paranoiac behavior, which eventually leads to the sardonic ending of this justly famous film.
3. NOW, VOYAGER (1942 (1:24)
Bette Davis admirers vary in what they consider to be their favorite Davis film but usually a listing of the top three vehicles includes NOW, VOYAGER.
Despite its unabashed soap opera plot and characters, there is a perennial appeal to the story of the repressed an mother-dominated ugly duckling (Davis) who changes into a lovely lady and finds the perfect man (Paul Henreid) – charming, sensitive, romantic, European, and apparently pretty well off. But he’s married and can never divorce his wife. The picture ends with a final scene of unfulfilled love.
MAX STEINER’S extremely popular theme for the frustrated lovers underscores an idyllic interlude in South America during a voyage, when the two first discover their love and their plight. The score won for Steiner the second of three Academy Awards.
4. ADVENTURES OF DON JUAN (1948) (5:55)
MAX STEINER composed one of his major scores for another fine Flynn swashbuckling epic.
Variations on primary themes are heard in the selections on this recording. The Don Juan motif, featured initially in the Main Title, is sometimes exuberant, sometimes stately, dashing, sad or reflective, and works beautifully for any mood. It contrasts suitably with a serenade, used throughout the film to accompany the legendary character’s balcony climbings and lighter romantic escapades.
5. THE NUN’S STORY (1959) (3:04)
THE NUN’S STORY is a rare and totally successful attempt to make a serious film of the religious life. The masterful Fred Zinnemann directed the story of a young, independent and self-willed Belgian girl (Audrey Hepburn) who mistook a desire to nurse the sick for a religious vocation and joined a nursing order of nuns.
Through perseverance she finishes her training and eventually goes to the Congo where her work is to assist a surgeon (Peter Finch). Sister Luke is continually plagued by her inner conflict, and after seventeen years is officially released from her vows.
Filmed in Rome, the Congo, and Brussels, THE NUN’S STORY is still a superlative film which benefits enormously from FRANZ WAXMAN’S intelligent and moving score. The Main Title music, featured here, sets the scene for the drama to come.
6. SAYONARA (1957) (2:24)
SAYONARA is the MADAME BUTTERFLY of the Korean War. Based on James Michener’s novel and photographed to a large extent on location in Japan, the film is beautifully complemented by FRANZ WAXMAN’S sensitive and tasteful score.
Waxman weaves IRVING BERLIN’S title song (written for an aborted Broadway musical on the subject) with a secondary theme of his own for the character played by Miyoshi Umeki, who, in desperation, commits suicide when she becomes pregnant and cannot go the America with her Army husband (Red Buttons).
Marlon Brando portrays an American air ace who overcomes his prejudices and falls in love with and later marries a beautiful Japanese actress-dancer (Miiko Taka).
7. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951) (1:42)
One of the few genuinely timeless films, Elia Kazan’s production of Tennessee Williams’ A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE has mood, intricate and intriguing character involvement, and the omnispresent conflict between illusion and reality.
ALEX NORTH’S music is a landmark in the history of Hollywood film music: it was the first major jazz oriented score, and its impact was instantaneous.
The hot, humid New Orleans milieu and the undercurrent of sensuality are captured by plaintive saxophones, insinuating brass, nervous pizzicatos, rolling piano figures, and languid blues.
When coarse, compassionless Stanley (Marlon Brando) and complex, delicate Blanche (Vivien Leigh) confront one another at various times throughout the film, the musical counterpoint hints at the inevitable - the final disintegration of Blanche after Stanley attacks her.
North’s object was to simulate jazz in a classical structure, and the result was flawless.
8. WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLFE? (1966) (2:15)
The gifted ALEX NORTH’S contribution to Mike Nichols’ screen version of Edward Albee’s play WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? is a major and subtle one. For this extraordinarily difficult subject, North’s solution, after a good deal of pondering, was to play against the film with his own rather romantic concept of the man-woman relationship. This was expressed with a quasi-baroque score.
“I wanted to get to the soul of these people (played by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor) and suggest they were really meant for each other,” says North. Fortunately, the composer discarded the possibility of frenetic underscoring , jazz, or a twelve-tone approach.
9. LAND OF THE PHARAOHS (1955) (1:30)
DIMITRI TIOMKIN’S impressive score for augmented orchestra and chorus composed for LAND OF THE PHARAOHS gave a necessary added dimension to the saga of the 100,000 slaves who were put to work quarrying and transporting huge blocks of stone on the decree of a Pharaoh who wanted The Great Pyramid of Cheops as a monument to himself and as a hiding place for the treasures he wished to carry with him to his second life.
The haunting establishment of the primary theme from the Main Title immediately recreates the exotic atmosphere of ancient Egypt.
10. THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY (1954) (2:20)
Ernest K. Gann’s novel about a disabled airliner in flight from Honolulu to San Francisco and the stirring multi-drama of its passengers forced to face the prospect of sudden death was made into a gripping film by director William Wellman.
John Wayne played the co-pilot, and one remembers the lonely, haunting tune whistled throughout the film. The wistfully romantic melody melody was often taken up by the orchestra, and is here presented in an evocative statement.
DIMITRI TIOMKIN’S memorable score was certainly a major factor in the success of this Grand Hotel of the air.
Produced by Leslies Harsten
Associate Producer: Jeff Pennig
Engineer: Bob Hata
Music Consultant and Notes: Rudy Behlmer
WE’RE IN THE MONEY
1. WE’RE IN THE MONEY (from THE GOLD DIGGER OF 1933) (3:07)
Remember Ginger Rogers, dressed in a skimpy outfit consisting entirely of silver coins, leading a group of similarly attired chorus girls in a spirited optimistic HARRY WARREN and AL DUBIN song called “We’re in the Money”? This was in 1933 – the bottom of the Depression – and we were certainly not in the money. But Ginger and the girls made us temporarily forget that unpleasant trifle.
2. ABOUT A QUARTER TO NINE (from GO INTO YOUR DANCE – 1935) (1:49)
Al Jolson – co-starring for the first and only time with his wife, Ruby Keeler, in GO INTO YOUR DANCE - sang one of his biggest hits: WARREN AND DUBIN’S “About A Quarter to Nine.”
3. THE GIRL FRIEND OF THE WHIRLING DERVISH (from GARDEN OF THE MOON – 1938) (4:35)
The Garden of the Moon is the fictitious name of a nightclub where the orchestra does a novelty number, “The Girl Friend of the Whirling Dervish,” by WARREN AND DUBIN. Among those participating are Jerry Colonna, Johnny “Scat” Davis, Joe Venuti, and Ray Mayer. That’s John Payne, who plays the leader of the band, singing the first chorus.
4. I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU (from DAMES – 1934) (3:00)
Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler were together for the first time in 42nd STREET – and then together again and again – in THE GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933, FOOTLIGHT PARADE, FLIRTATION WALK, DAMES, and SHIPMATES FOREVER. Dick sang WARREN AND DURBIN’S “I Only Have Eyes For You” to Ruby for the first time on the Staten Island ferry boat in DAMES. It was reprised later in the film as a mammoth Busby Berkeley production number involving what appeared to be innumerable Ruby Keelers.
5. SHE’S A LATIN FROM MANHATTAN (from GO INTO YOUR DANCE – 1935) (3:14)
Another WARREN AND DUBIN hit from GO INTO YOUR DANCE was Al Jolson’s rendition of “A Latin from Manhattan” (“She’s a forty-second streeter”). Both “A Quarter to Nine” (band two) and “A Latin from Manhattan” were later reprised in THE JOLSON STORY (1946).
6. I’LL STRING ALONG WITH YOU (from TWENTY MILLION SWEETHEARTS – 1934) (2:03)
Dick Powell temporarily deserted Ruby Keeler to sing a duet with Ginger Rogers called “I’ll String Along With You” by WARREN AND DUBIN.
7. I’M LIKE A FISH OUT OF WATER (from HOLLYWOOD HOTEL – 1937) (2:54)
Dick Powell and Rosemary Lane (remember the Lane Sisters – Priscilla, Lola, and Rosemary?) sang “I’m Like a Fish Out of Water” by RICHARD WHITING and JOHNNY MERCER in HOLLYWOOD HOTEL, as they went wading – fully attired of course – in a small fountain. Note the reference such as “Like J.P. Morgan swingin’ it on the organ,” “Like Man O’War as an also ran,” “Like Sally Rand if she lost her fan.”
8. BY A WATERFALL (from FOOTLIGHT PARADE – 1933) (4:54)
Dick and Ruby were together again singing SAMMY FAIN and IRVING KAHAL’S “By a Waterfall,” which appropriately enough took place by a waterfall and pond. Halfway through the number the pond suddenly transformed into the world’s largest swimming pool. The introduction by James Cagney in the role of the director – “If this doesn’t get ‘em, nothin’ will!” – gives you a modest hint of the elaborate production number involving scores of aquatic chorines photographed from overhead, underwater, and all conceivable (and a few conceivable) angles.
THE LULLABY OF BROADWAY
In 1933 the Hollywood musical staged an astonishing comeback by the same studio’s GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933. Then for the next several years Warners produced steady stream of musical divertissements starring various combinations of Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Al Jolson, Ginger Rogers, Joan Blondell and, even on occasion, James Cagney.
Although various composers contributed songs, the team of HARRY WARREN AND AL DUBIN stands out and epitomizes the Warner musicals from 1933 to 1939. All of the numbers on this side (and most of the numbers on the reverse side) were composed by WARREN and DUBIN and directed by Busby Berkeley. Berkeley is famous for his geometric patterns, masses of people playing neon violins, swimming in gigantic pools, singing and dancing on top of taxi cabs, along Flirtation Walk, in Caliente, Shanghai, the Garden of the moon, drive-in restaurants, at the Wonder Bar, and on simulated Broadway stages that seemed to defy the laws of time, space and gravity.
1. THE LULLABY OF BROADWAY (from THE GOLD DIGGERS OF 1935) (2:07)
“The Lullaby of Broadway” was one of the longest (15 minutes) and most spectacular of the Busby Berkeley production numbers. The singing was handled by Wini Shaw and the chorus with a bit of Dick Powell for good measure.
2. 42nd Street (from (42nd STREET – 1933) (2:45)
The title song from 42nd STREET is rendered first by Ruby Keeler, who then does her famous tap dance on top of a taxi cab. Dick Powell picks up the vocal, and finally the large chorus wraps it up. This is a “dramatic” number that takes place on a simulated 42nd Street set as part of the stage musical show-within-a-show that harassed director Warner Baxter somehow manages to whip into shape with a last minute replacement for the ailing star. Naturally, little miss nobody (Ruby Keeler) becomes an overnight smash!
3. SHUFFLE OFF TO BUFFALO (from 42ND STREET – 1933) (2:52)
“Shuffle Off TO Buffalo” features Ruby Keeler, Ginger Rogers, Una Merkel, and Clarence Nordstrom on the sleeper train to Buffalo. All aboard for the Niagara Limited!
4. THE LULLABY OF BROADWAY (from THE GOLD DIGGERS OF 1935) (1:20)
Every dancer in Hollywood tap danced away on a night club set roughly the size of Grand Central Station.
5. DAMES (from DAMES – 1934) (3:22)
Dick Powell insisted that it’s not the story, cast or publicity that makes the show but – dames (“Knees in action – that’s the attraction”). After making the point to his cohorts, the stage opens up and Busby Berkeley brings on his infinite variety of dames to further illustrate.
6. THE GIRL AT THE IRONING BOARD (from DAMES – 1934) (4:09)
Joan Blondell, the wise-cracking blonde with the heart of gold, was always in there pitching at Warners during the 30s. she played opposite just about every male star on the lot and occasionally appeared in a musical. “The Girl At The Ironing Board” (Bring back, bring back, oh bring back your laundry to me) was her featured number in DAMES. The scene is a backyard and the laundry on the clothesline, consisting entirely of men’s garments, comes to life dancing and cavorting.
7. THE LULLABY OF BROADWAY (from THE GOLD DIGGERS OF 1935) (1:24)
The tap dance goes on (and on)!
8. SEPTEMBER IN THE RAIN (from MELODY FOR TWO – 1937) (2:15)
Following the success of ONE NIGHT OF LOVE with Grace Moore in 1934, several opera stars (Lily Pons, Gladys Swarthout, Lawrence Tibbit, etc.) temporarily were given the star treatment in Hollywood. Among them was concert artist James Melton, who introduced one of WARREN and DUBIN’S finest songs, “September In The Rain,” in MELODY FOR TWO. Later Melton was the leading tenor of the Metropolitan Opera.
9. THE LULLABY OF BROADWAY (from THE GOLD DIGGERS OF 1935) (2:47)
Since most of the Busby Berkeley production numbers were of marathon length, and one song usually was repeated - and repeated – and repeated, it seems only fitting to close this tribute to the music of HARY WARREN and AL DUBIN with yet another chorus (or two or three or more) of what is probably their most popular number. The ending is unusual: during a frenetic night on the town, the girl played by Wini Shaw accidentally falls off a skyscraper balcony to her death.
Produced by Leslies Harsten
Associate Producer: Jeff Penning
Engineer: Bob Hata
Music Consultant and Notes: Rudy Behlmer
Special thanks to Harry Warren for his guidance and humor.
AS TIME GOES BY
1. AS TIME GOES BY (from CASABLANCA – 1943) (3:04)
If there is one film that personifies the image, the style, and the evocative spirit of Warne Bros. it is probably the 1943 CASABLANCA – a romantic melodrama delivered with Warners’ customary pace, sentiment, and cynicism. It is the quintessence of the Bogart mystique and Ingrid Bergman’s continental loveliness.
CASABLANCA’S timeless ingredients are irresistible: The large and typical supporting cast (Claude Rains, Paul Henreid, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, S.Z. Sakall, etc.), the exotic milieu, Michael Curtiz’ expert direction, MAX STEINER’S lush underscoring, and certainly Dooley Wilson’s rendition of the song associated with the romance of Bogart and Bergman – “AS TIME GOES BY.”
Originally written by HERMAN HUPFELD and introduced in an obscure Warner film in 1931. “As Time Goes By” was resurrected for CASABLANCA and created a sensation.
Here is Sam playing “As Time Goes By” on the old upright piano for Ilsa and Rick at “Rick’s Café Americain” in Casablanca following the fall of France.
2. THE MAN THAT GOT AWAY (from A STAR IS BORN – 1954) (5:06)
Judy Garland made only one film for Warner Bros., but it just happened to be one of her most outstanding vehicles – A STAR IS BORN, a drama-with-music remake of the 1937 Janet Gaynor-Fredric March hit.
HAROLD ARLEN and IRA GERSHWIN composed many admirable tunes for the film. “The Man That Got Away,” and unconventionally structured blues, is a true classic and here is exceptionally well performed.
3. JEEPERS CREEPERS (from GOING PLACES – 1938) (2:04)
In GOING PLACES, a Warner film probably few people remember, Louis Armstrong introduced a novelty song by HARRY WARREN and JOHNNY MERCER called “Jeepers Creepers.” In fine form, the irresistible Satchmo sang and played the tune to a race horse, whose name, incidentally, was Jeepers Creepers.
4. HE NEEDS ME and SUGAR (from PETE KELLY’S BLUES – 1955) (3:19)
Peggy Lee was discovered working with a vocal group in Chicago, 1941, by Mrs. Benny Goodman. She sang with Goodman’s orchestra for two years and then went on to become one of the most jazz-oriented singers in the popular field, with many vocal qualities strongly reminiscent of Billie Holiday. ARTHUR HAMILTON’S “He Needs Me” is an effective example of her distinctive style.
Following immediately - as it does in PETE KELLY’S BLUES – is MACEO PINKARD and SIDNEY D. MITCHELL’S jazz standard, “Sugar.”
5. JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS (from THE YOUNG AT HEART – 1954) (2:03)
In 1953 Frank Sinatra staged a remarkable comeback, after a few years in the doldrums, with FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. A new recording contract, renewed confidence, and a rejuvenated, matured voice allowed him to dominate once again the popular singing field.
A sterling example of his superb singing style is evident on COLE PORTER’S “Just One Of Those Things,” sung in Warners’ THE YOUNG AT HEART (a remake of FOUR DAUGHTERS), in which he co-starred with Doris Day.
6. SECRET LOVE (from CALAMITY JANE – 1953) (3:42)
Doris Day has been a major star for a good number of years, but many people forget that she started out as a singer with the Bob Crosby and Les Brown bands. In addition to making successful records on her own, she sang with Frank Sinatra on the YOUR HIT PARADE radio show in the late 40s.
“Secret Love” is an exceptionally durable gem written by SAMMY FAIN and PAUL FRANCIS WEBSTER for the original screen musical, CALAMITY JANE.
7. WITH A SONG IN MY HEART (from YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN – 1950) (3:22)
Doris Day teams with trumpet star Harry James for RICHARD RODGERS and LORENZ HART’S “With A Song In My Heart” from YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN, a drama with music in which Kirk Douglas plays a role vaguely suggested by the legendary jazz cornet player, Bix Beiderbecke. At the end of the rendition the character portrayed by Douglas tries valiantly for an always elusive high note (James doubled for Douglas on the sound track), but in a dramatic moment breaks down completely.
8. PUT ‘EM IN A BOX, TIE ‘EM WITH A RIBBON (from ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS – 1948) (3:28)
Doris Day’s first film, ROMANCE ON THE HIGH SEAS, made her a Warner Bros. start. “Put ‘Em In A Box,” by JULE STYNE and SAMMY CAHN, presents a bouncing, swinging Doris accompanied by The Page Cavanaugh Trio.
Faultless phrasing and timing and an infectious lilt have all contributed to make the numbers edited from her early Warner films for this album a musical delight that will surprise quite a few who may think of Miss Day primarily as a charming actress who alternates between light comedy and drama.
BROADWAY TO HOLLYWOOD
1. HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD (from HOLLYWOOD HOTEL – 1937) (2:09)
RICHARD WHITING and JOHNNY MERCER’S “Hooray For Hollywood” is the opening number in Warners’ HOLLYWOOD HOTEL. After the familiar Warner signature fanfare and the opening titles, Benny Goodman and his band, Frances Langford, and Johnny “Scat” Davis are all discovered en route to the St. Louis airport to see the character played by Dick Powell off on his trip to Hollywood. That’s drummer Gene Krupa singing a few bars during the last half of the song.
2. SWANEE (from RHAPSODY IN BLUE – 1945) (1:55)
No highlights of the music of Warner Bros. would be definitive without the inclusion of Al Jolson. One of the really outstanding entertainers of the first half of the 20th century, Jolson starred in Warners’ pioneering sound picture THE JAZZ SINGER (1927) and continued to appear in a series of musical films for Warner Bros. well into the 1930s.
When the studio did RHAPSODY IN BLUE in 1945, based on the life and music of GEORGE GERSHWIN, Jolson was recalled to “Swanee,” a Gershwin song he popularized years before.
3. HOW TO HANDLE A WOMAN (from CAMELOT – 1967) (4:16)
CAMELOT, Warners’ film version of the FREDERICK LOEW – ALLAN JAY LERNER stage success of 1960, contains some of the finest music and lyrics ever created for one show. Here Richard Harris as the mythical King Arthur ponders a traditional dilemma: “How to Handle a Woman.” Harris, in a highly individual but simple rendition, concludes with a reasonable answer: “How to handle a woman, is to lover her, simply lover her, merely love her.”
4. MY HEART BELONGS TO DADDY (from NIGHT AND DAY – 1946) (2:50)
In 1937 a young lady from Texas made her Broadway debut and introduced a new COLE PORTER tune in LEAVE IT TO ME! The young lady was Mary Martin and the tune was “My Heart Belongs To Daddy.” In Warners’ musical success, NIGHT AND DAY, she reprised the song and it became one of the major highlights of the film.
5. TROUBLE (from THE MUSIC MAN – 1962) (4:18)
Harold Hill, the fast-talking love ‘em and leave ‘em, vintage 1912 con man who specializes in selling band instruments and uniforms in small towns, gives us a taste of his overwhelming style in “Trouble,” a revivial-styled pitch which was one of the many featured spots in Warners’ film version of MEREDITH WILLSON’S extraordinarily entertaining THE MUSIC MAN.
Robert Preston is, of course, the indefatigable traveling salesman – the role he created in the original Broadway musical. His masterful rendition of “Trouble” is a dazzling tour de force.
6. BOSOM BUDDIES (from MAME – 1974) (4:08)
The newest inclusion in this panoramic collection of Warner film music is a number from MAME, based on the 1966 Broadway musical hit, which in turn was taken from Patrick Dennis’ novel, AUNTIE MAME, and the stage play and Warner Bros. film of the same name.
MAME stars Lucille Ball in the title role. A highlight from the film is the unique Miss Ball and Bea Arthur (from the original Broadway company) singing JERRY HERMAN’S delightful “Bosom Buddies.”
7. YANKEE DOOLE DANDY MEDLEY: “Yankee Doodle Boy” “Harrigan,” “Give My Regards To Broadway,” (from YANKEE DOODLE DANDY – 1942) (6:56)
Easily one of the most popular films produced by Warner Bros., YANKEE DOODLE DANDY featured James Cagney and a full quota of the numbers written and made famous by that song-and-dance man GEORGE M. COHAN.
Cagney has done only a handful of musicals – being mostly associated with dramatic roles – but he is truly inspired and electric in this gem.
The medley made up for this recording from the original soundtrack consists of three of the best remembered songs. “Give My Regards To Broadway” and “Yankee Doodle Boy” were presented originally in a patriotic and sentimental Broadway show, written and performed by Cohan in 1904, called LITTLE JOHNNY JONES. The plot took Johnny Jones (Cohan) to England as an American jockey riding his horse Yankee Doodle in the Derby. “Harrigan,” performed here by Cagney and Joan Leslie, was first heard in a Cohan show, FIFTY MILES FROM BOSTON of 1908.
Cagney, in his Academy Award performance, not only captures many of Cohan’s mannerisms and stylized techniques, but he brought his own particular kind of zest and distinctive dancing ability to the role.
Produced by Leslie Harsten
Associate Producer: Jeff Penning
Engineer: Bob Hata
Music Consultation and Notes: Rudy Behlmer
FIFTY YEARS OF FILM MUSIC
1923 – 1973
The Warner brothers – Sam, Albert, Harry, and Jack – were involved in motion pictures since 1903. They owned “nickelodeons,” distributed feature films, and produced many relatively modest attractions in those early years.
In 1923 the brothers incorporated and began producing a steady stream of upgraded product at their studio on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.
During the next few years, Warners’ prime assets were John Barrymore, director Ernst Lubitsch, and Rin Tin Tin, the famous dog star.
The brothers pioneered sound with Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer, and after absorbing First National Pictures, moved to their large Burbank studios in 1930.
In the early 1930s, Warners perfected their highly characteristic style of fast-paced, headline-inspired topics (I Am A Fugitive from a Chain Gang), gangster themes (Public Enemy), and contemporary Busby Berkeley-directed musicals (42nd Street).
Later in the 1930s they re-introduced the swashbuckler in the form of Errol Flynn (The Adventures of Robin Hood), made prestige biographical films profitable (Paul Muni in The Life of Emile Zola), and started a long, successful run of Bette Davis romantic dramas (Dark Victory).
During the 1940s some of the best remembered films were from the Warner studio: Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre; James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy; Bette Davis in The Letter and Now, Voyager; Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce; Errol Flynn in They Died with Their Boots On and Adventures of Don Juan – to name a few.
Into the 1950s and 1960s there were such extraordinary attractions as Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire, James Dean in East of Eden; Sayonara, The Nun’s Story, My Fair Lady, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Wild Bunch and Bonnie and Clyde.
In the ‘70s Warner Bros. led the way with such controversial and exploratory films as The Devils, Death In Venice and A Clockwork Orange. Meanwhile, the studio continued to prove it could provide distinguished films of universal appeal with Summer of ’42, Come Back Charleston Blue and Mame.
Controversial, exploratory, distinguished, universal – a not inappropriate summation of the studio’s first half-century in the creation of sound motion pictures.
THE FIRST SOUND FILMS
During the 1920s when all movies were silent, Sam Warner became intrigued with developments in sound motion pictures taking places at the Bell Telephone Laboratories.
After a demonstration, Harry Warner - president of Warner Bros. - saw the possibilities, but not for “talking" pictures. He visualized non-talking feature films being enriched by synchronized music accompaniment. He could see fine symphonic and operatic talent being brought into theatres that couldn't afford full orchestras and concert artists. Plans were made to present Don Juan with John Barrymore - the first feature film with a synchronized musical score. The music was played by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and recorded at the old Manhattan Opera House in New York City.
Shortly afterwards, Warners used the newly christened Vita phone process to make The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson - the initial film with synchronized songs and partial dialogue. Interestingly, the bits of dialogue were an afterthought; music was the primary idea.
Even though the audience was instantly captivated by "talking" pictures, Warners continued to emphasize music. While other studios subdued the underscoring for the most part, Warner Bros. played it up - but never to the point where it interfered with the dialogue.
Year after year Warners led the industry in developments in sound recording, re-recording and sound reproduction.
THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT
It is March, 1938. We're on Stage Nine at Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank where the music for sound tracks of Super productions, A pictures, B pictures, shorts, and cartoons is recorded. Composer-conductor Erich Wolfgang Korngold is characteristically perched on a stool looking over his music score and preparing for a "take" of a poignant scene for The Adventures of Robin Hood.
This is an important picture, the most expensive Warner Bros. film to date. It has a colorful, legendary backdrop and Korngold has composed a rich textured, complexly developed music score to complement the extraordinary visuals.
The recording engineer, or music "mixer,” Dave Forrest, is making last minute checks in the recording booth. Director Michael Curtiz and Associate Producer Henry Blanke are standing on the sidelines. They have dropped in to listen - not to supervise or criticize. Often stars and leading players come by the stage for a few moments - or a few hours - while a session is in progress.
A sequence from the film is projected on a screen in front of Korngold. The orchestra on stage and the projected scene begin in unison. Korngold conducts his melodic and sweeping score in an impassioned, romantic manner. He regards his film scores as "operas without words" and, indeed, the orchestra sings.
First rate musicians are giving as much of themselves - concentration, muscle, timing, and technique - as they would playing Beethoven under Toscanini. The musicians have great pride in their professionalism and n being members of the Warner Orchestra.
Hugo Friedhofer, Korngold's orchestrator, is on the sidelines listening intently to the voicing of the individual instruments and the balance of the sections of the orchestra. Because of the usual deadlines, he had just finished orchestrating the scene that was being played at seven in the morning; it is now three in the afternoon. Friedhofer had met with Korngold at eight-thirty the previous evening to discuss the music.
After an hour or so going over Korngold's detailed four-line piano score, Friedhofer set out for home and began orchestrating - working through the night so that Art Grier and the other copyists could begin their work on each musician's part early in the morning. Due to the time pressure in writing music for films, composers rarely write a complete symphonic master score in which the parts for every instrument or section of instruments are given in full. However, Korngold's meticulously detailed piano score, though orchestrated by others (primarily Friedhofer), comes out sounding like Korngold.
At the beginning of the session, before the orchestra had played, Friedhofer - somewhat apprehensive and nervous - waited outside the stage until after the downbeat and the first few bars of music. Reassured by hearing the proper orchestral colorings that had been passed from mind to paper to player to instrument, he sighed, smiled and re-entered the stage.
Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland are playing a love scene on the screen, but there is no dialogue heard over loudspeakers on the music stage. Korngold hears the dialogue on earphones and accompanies it and the running film with an uncanny sense of timing. The picture appears in black and white with intermittent scratches, dirt marks, blank frames and splices. In other words, it is what is commonly referred to as a "work print” The film editor has put it on his editing machine (the Moviola) hundreds of times - trying this angle, splicing this closeup to that medium shot, trimming the cuts here and there to produce a better flow and rhythm. Later, of course, mint Technicolor prints minus the debris will be shipped to theatres.
The scene is a long one. Although we can't hear the dialogue, Korngold has wisely pitched the music just underneath the pitch of de Havilland's and Flynn's voices. This aids in the all-important and subtle balance between the spoken word and the music in the final dubbing (the combining of dialogue, music and sound effects), which will take place in a week.
It is Saturday and the Warner Orchestra worked ten hours yesterday. Scale for members of the orchestra is $10.00 per hour, with a three-hour minimum.
(Certain key musicians in the various sections negotiate over-scale rates.) Evenings, Saturdays and Sundays are paid at regular rates-no premium overtime. The musicians reported to work at nine this morning. First, the head of the Music Department, Leo F. Forbstein, conducted a brief main title for a B picture. Forbstein, an ex-motion picture theatre conductor with Warners since 1928, has built a brilliant department. He is given an annual budget rather than a per picture budget. His forte is administration: hiring top talent, knowing how to handle them, acting as liaison between the composers and the studio executives, etc. He rarely conducts anymore, and when he does it is generally something inconsequential and brief, done in his favorite 2/4 time.
Forbstein ran through the material a couple of times with the orchestra, recorded it, and was back at his desk by nine-twenty talking to composer Max Steiner about how effective his score for Jezebel sounded at the preview the previous evening. Carl Stalling, the Music Director of Warner Bros. Cartoon Department, entered the stage promptly at nine-thirty ready to rehearse the score for the latest Looney Tunes. Only the eighteen regular Warners contract musicians (including one woman - harpist Zhay Moor) plus six other players had been called at nine for the B picture and the cartoon. The augmented orchestra - which brings the total to fifty-six - would be there at one-thirty for the Korngold session. The additional players are on a "first call" basis, or are regular free-lance musicians. Included are three other women: a cellist, oboist, and a second harpist.
The backgrounds of the musicians are varied: they stem from the concert stage and symphony orchestras (both here and abroad), dance and jazz bands, radio staff orchestras, and the orchestra pits of movie palaces, opera houses, and Broadway musicals. Generally they are hired by word-of-mouth and literally "audition" on a job. Because of the demands, they must be able to sight read quickly and efficiently, play brilliantly over long periods of time, and adapt themselves immediately to any musical style – no small tasks.
Eleanor Slatkin, a fine cellist with the Warner Orchestra for thirty years, says that a woman had to be really outstanding in order to be considered for the orchestra. “The conductor generally didn’t like the restrictions that having women in the orchestra would entail,” she recalls. “He was freer and more at ease communicating with men.”
The musicians approach the recording of the cartoon music as professionally and conscientiously as they would a prestige feature. Concertmaster Dan Lube has all kinds of “talking violin” effects to rehearse. He has become a specialist in violin effect work for the cartoons. But for the afternoon recording he would be playing some intricate and beautiful solo violin in the Korngold idiom to underscore Errol and Olvia’s romantic interlude. That evening he was scheduled for an outside session with a record company in Hollywood for which he would be playing some of the latest Hit Parade numbers in dance tempo and, as always, enjoying the contrast thoroughly.
The Looney Tunes starts with the theme song, "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down;' which had been used since 1937 and would continue to be used through the years. (Warners other cartoon series, Merrie Melodies, used "Merrily We Roll Along" from about the same time.) Stalling guided the smaller orchestra through bits and pieces of popular songs (owned by Warners' publishing houses and used whenever possible), a multitude of musical thuds, pops, crashes, sighs, gallops, swishes, springs, explosions and, of course, chases. The split-second timing to the action on screen is aided by a device known as a click track - designed for the conductor and sometimes the musicians to hear over earphones. It carries a metronome-like beat which has been prepared to synchronize perfectly with the action and accents on the screen. Although standard for cartoons, the click track is relied upon at various times by many feature film composers. Max Steiner, Warners' other major composer, is a prime exponent of musically "catching things" that are visually happening on the screen. Sometimes this "Mickey-Mousing”, as it is called, can be genuinely effective in feature films, but on other occasions it is criticized for being blatant and overemphatic. Bette Davis, who is very fond of Steiner's marvelous scores for many of her films and who has said "Max knew more about drama than any of us and often improved our acting,” also was heard to observe that Steiner
would telegraph a dramatic point now and then with his music.
At eleven-fifty-five, following the musical sign off to accompany Porky Pig's "Th ... th ... that's all f... f... folks!,” almost everyone broke for lunch, but a crew remained to set up the additional chairs, risers, stands, and mikes for the one-thirty p.m. Korngold session.
Many of the musicians eat at the studio commissary; some leave the lot - since they have an hour and a half - and go to a nearby restaurant on Riverside Drive where they can have a drink along with their food. A few go up Barham Boulevard and over the Cahuenga Pass to the Musso and Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard - only fifteen minutes from the studio. If the break is just an hour, they generally eat in the commissary.
At three-forty-five the long Robin Hood scene is over. Producer Henry Blanke is visibly moved, and even hard-driving director Mike Curtiz is emotionally affected and actually in tears. (Musical Director Ray Heindorf observed him reacting thusly to Korngold's or Steiner's music more than once.) There is even "a Viennese contingent,” consisting of Korngold's friends - refugees from Hitler's Anschluss - applauding warmly from folding chairs set up in the comer.
Korngold enjoys relative freedom at Warners: "I feel very happy as an artist here. No one tells me what to do. I do not feel part of a factory. I take part in story conferences, suggest changes in the editing when it is dramatically necessary to coincide with a musical structure. It is entirely up to me to decide where in the picture to put music. But I always consult throughly with the music chief (Forbstein).”
While waiting for a playback from the 16" reference disc, Korngold, in the warm, easy-going manner of a major artist who knows exactly what he wants and how to get it, exchanges banter with members of the orchestra. He is typically Viennese in mood and humor, and quite witty.
Dan Lube, the concertmaster, says that orchestra players know all the jokes - and all the fakes. "Only the conductor tells the jokes - except for one 'favorite' in one of the sections who traditionally would be allowed also to joke or to be the butt of the leader's jokes. But otherwise it is an unwritten law that no other musician jokes with the leader at a session:'
During the playback over the speakers, everyone listens with a highly trained and critical ear. Korngold in his scoring had subtly picked up a somewhat slow scene. (Steiner is adroit at this too.) Korngold is humming along, singing da-de-dahs and boom-de-booms, occasionally beating time with a flaying right arm. He is smiling and obviously pleased. At the conclusion of the playback there is general excitement and pleasure. "Bravo, Erich!,” a scattered burst of applause, "ohs" and "ahs.” "That is good,” Korngold says, and all agree to go on to the next section of music for "Robin Hood in the Vienna Woods,” as some wag in the Music Department referred to Korngold's treatment of the film. If the playback had not been right, Korngold, the perfectionist, would do it over and over.
He comes from a world-renowned operatic and concert background, but does not feel he is slumming or "selling out" by composing for films: "When I am watching the picture unroll, when I am sitting at the piano improvising or inventing themes and melodies, when I am facing the orchestra conducting my music, I have the feeling that I am giving my own and my best … Never have I differentiated between my music for the films and that for my operas and concert pieces.” His attitude in this respect was not unique.
Hugo Friedhofer and Musical Director Ray Heindorf state that Korngold's contribution to film scoring was enormous and that he influenced everyone working in music at all the studios during that time.
Korngold started to compose the lengthy all elaborate Robin Hood score only seven weeks earlier. He had been in Vienna preparing for the premiere of his new opera when he received a cable from Leo Forbstein to return immediately and begin work on Robin Hood. Since coincidentally the opera premiere had to be re-scheduled for eight months later, the composer went back to California where he was taken immediately to Warners' Burbank studio to see the edited black and white work print of the film. Although enchanted with the picture, Korngold turned it down (his unusual contract gave him that option) because he felt he didn't want to attempt to compose in a brief period a great deal of difficult music for a picture that was so drenched in physical action. (The composing of music for action scenes takes longer because the tempo is fast, the writing is complex, and there are more notes per bar.)
A few days later, Leo Forbstein arrived at the Korngold residence on Toluca Lake Avenue nearby the studio to implore him to take the film. The composer finally agreed to start it on a weekly basis with the understanding that he might leave the project at the end of any given week, in which case someone else would finish it. Seven weeks later, after great pains and many sleepless nights, according to his son George, Korngold completed his operatic-like score. Two weeks later his property in Vienna was confiscated by the invading Nazis. He did not return to Vienna and his new opera until after World War II.
Forbstein was known to "type-cast" his composers and orchestrators. Korngold had done such a magnificent job with Warners' costume spectacles - A Midsummer Night's Dream, Captain Blood, Anthony Adverse and The Prince and the Pauper - that Forbstein could see no one else for Warners' number one project, Robin Hood. Later he will write for
entirely different kinds of films such as The Sea Wolf, Kings Row and Deception. Hugo Friedhofer is also a victim of "type-casting.” Under Forbstein's astute command Warners maintains the most formidable musical group ever assembled by a film studio. Some of the other fine composers working there in this era include Adolph Deutsch, Heinz Roemheld and Bernard Kaun. When he first went to work at Warners, Friedhofer
hoped he would be able to compose. .
("Forbstein was a good executive;” says Friedhofer. "He organized Warners' Music Department so well it could practically run itself. We were all cogs in his well-oiled machine. I was servicing Korngold and Steiner to everyone's complete satisfaction, so why change things? Working conditions were good, I was well paid, and I suppressed my creative ego until I could do so no longer.”)
Later, of course, after he leaves Warners, Friedhofer will compose many excellent scores for such diverse and interesting films as The Best Years of Our Lives, The Lodger, One-Eyed Jacks, and Body and Soul. But at Warners Forbstein categorizes him as a superb orchestrator - period.
The time now is eight-ten that Saturday evening.
The Robin Hood session is over. Nobody seems to complain about the long hours. All in all it has taken a total of twenty-six and a half hours on five different days spread over a two-week period to record the entire score. Korngold will go to his home with some of his Viennese friends; Hugo Friedhofer is a little late for an appointment at Max Steiner's home to discuss the score for a new Humphrey Bogart picture, Crime School, which is scheduled for recording the following week. Producer Blanke and director Curtiz linger briefly to talk about some last minute details regarding the completion of Robin Hood. The musicians scatter in all directions. Interestingly, there is little socializing among the individuals in the studio orchestra once they leave Stage Nine. Some, such as concertmaster Dan Lube and a member of the brass section, have a record session at Radio Recorders on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. They are going together in Lube's car, but at the last minute it won't start. They frantically call a cab and the recording studio to tell the contractor they will be a few minutes late. Often there is little time between pre-scheduled sessions.
Two other musicians are going out to dinner and then to the Paradise Club on Main Street in downtown Los Angeles to sit in and jam with the variety of jazz musicians from all over who congregate there.
Ray Heindorf, for a purely social evening, may gather in his home or over at Alfred Newman's home some studio musicians to make up a string or piano quartet or sextet to play classical repertoire. On occasion Jascha Heifetz participates in these get-togethers.
Cellist Eleanor Slatkin in 1947 will help form the Hollywood String Quartet with her husband Felix and two other Hollywood studio musicians. They will play constantly and tour all over the world for several years while continuing to spend the bulk of their professional time in the studios. (Felix Slatkin was the concertmaster of the Twentieth Century-Fox studio orchestra.)
Max Steiner greets Hugo Friedhofer at eight-forty p.m. in his home in Beverly Hills. Unlike Komgold, who begins sketching themes after reading the script, Steiner prefers not to be exposed to the film until it is run for him at the studio upon completion of the editing. Also unlike Komgold, he prefers to do all of his writing at the piano in his home.
Korngold composes a good deal of his material while seated at a piano in Projection Room Six and watching the film over and over. It is said by many that Korngold has the most extraordinary way of making the piano sound like an orchestra when he plays.
Friedhofer explains that "Steiner makes a complete, carefully annotated orchestra sketch on four staves. It is so complete that it requires a road map to find your way around it.” A Viennese like Korngold but with an operetta and musical comedy background, Steiner is an extraordinarily hard worker. Whereas Korngold only does one or two films a year (at his own request), Steiner is given picture after picture - scoring as many as twelve in one year (1939)! He is Jack L Warner's favorite for almost every kind of film - other than the Korngold specialties and the Ray Heindorf supervised musicals. As far as Warner is concerned, "Max can begin his music with the opening fanfare and keep it going until the end title is over.” He is equally adept at scoring a Bette Davis romantic vehicle (Now, Voyager), an Errol Flynn swashbuckler (The Charge of the Light Brigade), a James Cagney gangster opus (Angels with Dirty Faces), a prestige biographical film with Paul Muni (The Life of Emile Zola), or a romantic melodrama (Casablanca).
To digress to the future for a moment: Before Steiner was called in on Casablanca (1942), it had been decided to use "As Time Goes By,” a moderately successful tune of 1931. The film had been shot and the song was referred to here and there in addition to being sung by Dooley Wilson. Leo Forbstein and Hal Wallis discussed the score with Steiner. The composer said he would prefer to write his own theme for Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. Forbstein and Wallis went along with this. Of course with a new tune in the score, a few scenes referring to "As Time Goes By" would have had to be re-shot, but Wallis discovered that Miss Bergman already had her hair cut very short for the role of Maria and was shooting For Whom the Bell Tolls. So re-shooting was out of the question. Steiner had to use "As Time Goes By.”
He later admitted that it must have had something to attract so much attention.
Naturally film composers prefer to write their own songs in addition to the background score for the simple reason that the songs are published, played, and earn royalties for the composers; whereas background scores in those days before television, film music records and retrospectives, were thought to be relegated to oblivion. Steiner, writing to his music publisher in 1936, said: "It is a hell of a feeling for a composer of my standing and reputation and success to know automatically while I am writing that all of the (film) music I am putting on paper is dead.” Fortunately for all of us, this did not prove to be true.
"Real film music began with Max,” recalls Hugo Friedhofer. "Many of the techniques were invented by him, and many of his devices have become common practice. His is true mood music, unobtrusive background that is also connective tissue, subtle and sensitive.”
Prior to meeting with Friedhofer, Steiner had been composing in a frenzy day, night and weekends for a month or so. "When the dreaded 'release date' is upon us, sleep is a thing unknown,” says Steiner.
"I have had stretches of work for fifty-six consecutive hours without sleep in order to complete a picture for the booking date. The reason for this is that major film companies sell their pictures for a certain date before they have even been produced; and, if the film's final editing has been delayed through some unforeseen happening, the music and re-recording departments have to pitch in and make up for lost time.” Music and the laboratory are on the tail end of the long production line.
At nine a.m. the following Monday morning Ray Heindorf is on the podium in Stage Nine conducting a pre-recording session with Dick Powell and the orchestra. The musical number is "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" for a picture called Hard To Get.
In the early days of sound it was necessary to have an entire orchestra along with the vocalists on the set while a musical film was being photographed so that picture and music could be recorded at the same time. Later, it became accepted practice to record most of the numbers in advance of photography in order to insure an optimum music and vocal quality and to allow for more camera freedom during shooting.
The musical sequences are filmed to a playback over a loudspeaker. Sometimes a singer would pre-record to a subdued piano track only, then after photography a full orchestra would post-record the number, retaining the original vocal track, but with the advantage of being able to orchestrate after the fact to take advantage of the staging, the emphases, and whatever modifications might occur during the photography and editing of the number. Ray Heindorf, Warners' gifted musical director-arranger-orchestrator-conductor and sometimes composer (whose speciality is musicals), recalls another variation on the procedure in conjunction with the "By a Waterfall" number for Footlight Parade, a 1933 musical extravaganza with James Cagney, Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell.
Darryl F. Zanuck, at the time Jack L. Warner's executive producer, suggested that only one thirty-two bar chorus of the eleven-minute production number be pre-recorded to save money and allow for flexibility. Many copies of the sound track containing the full chorus of the tune were then run off, spliced together - repeating the chorus over and over - and transferred to a recording for use in playback on the set. After the number had been shot and edited, a final track - to catch the accents and embellish the visuals -was post-scored to the picture.
Another variation, involving Heindorf, will be for Bette Davis' number, "They're Either Too Young or Too Old,” in Warners' all-star wartime musical, Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943). Miss Davis, obviously not a professional singer, and needing the advantages
of a controlled pre-recording, will also want the freedom to be able to time and adapt her interpretation to the action and "business" as evolved during filming. So, after the set is put up, Davis and her dance director, LeRoy Prinz, will work out the staging while Ray Heindorf and the orchestra accompany on the sidelines. After considerable rehearsal, Davis and the orchestra will do several "takes" of just the track while going through the staging as if it is being photographed. Then the best portions of the various "takes" will be edited together and later played back for Davis when it comes time to actually photograph the sequence a few days later.
Sometimes it is difficult for non-singers doing numbers to maintain the beat and synchronize perfectly with the pre-recorded track while they are mouthing the words to playback. The problem will be solved at the last minute in the case of Olivia de Havilland in another number for Thank Your Lucky Stars by having her chew gum enthusiastically
on camera (fortunately, a bit of business in character for the song).
At the "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" pre-recording session, composer Harry Warren is on the sidelines watching Ray Heindorf rehearse Dick Powell and the orchestra. Warren is under contract to Warners and has been composing hit songs for the studio since 1932. Many have become standards: "42nd Street;” "Shadow Waltz;” "Lullaby of Broadway;” "September in the Rain;” "I Only Have Eyes for You;” "You're Getting to be a Habit with Me;” "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby;” and
several others (mostly written in collaboration with lyricist Al Dubin). Warren is in the front rank of composers, but like his cohorts at all the studios in Hollywood, he must "sell" his song to the executives before it is accepted for the picture. Warren generally sings his songs to Jack L. Warner, Darryl Zanuck, (later Hal Wallis), Leo Forbstein, and the various producers and directors accompanying himself on the piano.
"I learned quickly not to present several songs for a picture at one time,” Warren says. "Somebody would always prefer this one to that one, or want me to compose another one in place of one of the numbers I just sang. So I began singing one song at a time and then coming back in a week or so with another, and so on. Individually they were almost always well received.”
Warren will continue to sing his own songs at "auditions" for years, but later will have another pianist play for him. He has an office with a piano on the lot, and composes both at home and at the studio. But he does not go along with the strict regimentation and hard studio policy of nine a.m. to six p.m. (or much later), but rather comes in when he feels like it.
Sometimes, according to Warren, the music is written first and then the lyrics; other times the key line or lines of a lyric serve as a springboard for the music. Often the song writers are told to write a song to fit a specific situation, character, or production number idea for the film. But, as Heindorf says, "A tune must come easily. A struggle results in an inferior creation.”
After Warren wrote "The Lullaby of Broadway" for The Gold Diggers of 1935, he played it for director Busby Berkeley, who thought it was terrific.
Somehow Al Jolson, getting ready to do Go Into Your Dance with his wife Ruby Keeler, heard the number and went straight to Jack L. Warner to demand that the song be used in his film. After being tipped off, Berkeley stormed up to Warner's office and insisted the number be used in his film where it belonged. If this scene had taken place six or seven years earlier in 1928 or 1929, Jolson would have undoubtedly gotten his way, but by 1935 his position was not as strong, whereas Berkeley was very much the fair-haired boy "The Lullaby of Broadway" stayed in The Gold Diggers of 1935, but Jolson had a first-rate Warren and Dubin score for Go Into Your Dance.
Generally speaking, during these years at Warners, the background scoring to dramatic pictures does not have to be "auditioned.” Steiner, Korngold, et aI., after preliminary consultations with the executives, go about their business with little or no interference from producers, directors or executives.
However, concertmaster Dan Lube recalls much later Dimitri Tiomkin "presenting" his themes via piano, violin and perhaps one other instrument to producer-director George Stevens on Giant in 1956. Tiomkin has a good salesman's flair for creating the proper interest in his themes by interpolating enthusiastically, "Listen to that gorgeous melody!"
and the like.
Of course by the time Giant was done in the 1950s, certain "name" producer-directors had in their contracts full control of their pictures at Warners including the music. Elia Kazan, Alfred Hitchcock, and Stevens were three major figures who insisted on having their own way. Eleanor Slatkin remembers Stevens listening to Dimitri Tiomkin rehearse the Warner Orchestra in some music to be recorded for Giant. After a while, Stevens, seated on the sidelines, told Tiomkin that he did not think the material he had just heard was very good. Tiomkin turned on the podium to face Stevens. After a brief pause he said, "You are absolutely right:.” Without changing a note or altering a bar, but by masterful and subtle handling, within thirty minutes Tiomkiri had Stevens saying
that his music was the greatest he had ever heard.
Sometimes after a preview studio executives would order changes, slight or many, to a score. And of course there is little time to make these changes which could involve re·writing, additional recording, and/or another dubbing session. Perhaps a scene that has no music at time of preview doesn't play well, and will then be emphatically underscored in such a manner so as to bring out the meaning or heighten the drama. On occasion at the preview it is discovered that the music is too loud behind dialogue - or perhaps not loud enough, becoming a vague, but annoying muddle of sound. Then, too, there is the possibility that music may be eliminated from a certain scene after the preview if it seems to confuse or dissipate the meaning.
Back to Monday morning at 9 :00 a. m., Ray Heindorf, while conducting the orchestra in his own arrangement of Harry Warren's tune, is all business. Brisk, to the point, and outspoken, the multi·talented Heindorf has justifiably risen rapidly in the Warner Music Department. Cellist Eleanor Slatkin will later recall Korngold saying around 1940 that he regards Heindorf as one of the most brilliant young musical talents he has ever seen. When only fourteen years old Heindorf started his work with music and film as a pianist in motion picture houses, improvising accompaniments for silent films. He came to Hollywood and began arranging and orchestrating in 1929. In 1931 he did his first film at Warners. In 1943 he will receive the first of three Academy Awards for his work on Yankee Doodle Dandy. After Leo Forbstein's death in 1948, Heindorf will take over duties as head of the Music Department, a position he will hold until 1959.
Heindorf remembers when Leo Forbstein started the Warner orchestra of eighteen musicians in late 1933 (the first Hollywood studio staff orchestra). The nucleus was six men hired from Jimmie Grier's dance band - regulars at the Cocoanut Grove in the early 1930s. Heindorf, in addition to his studio work, played piano with the Grier band in 1931-32.
After 1933 Leo Forbstein handed Heindorf the baton more and more frequently. Harry Warren recalls Forbstein running up to Heindorf during a rehearsal and saying, "I'll take the baton for a few minutes. Jack Warner is on his way to the stage.”
"Jack L. Warner really was the champion of music,” Heindorf will say later, "and he encouraged Forbstein to make the Warner Bros. Music Department the best in Hollywood. He also gave Forbstein a free hand and considerable control. It was Forbstein who signed Korngold, Steiner, Franz Waxman, and many other fine artists. He decided what composer to assign for a background score. However, occasionally Warner would say, 'Put Maxie (Steiner) on this one. It's an important picture,’ or ‘This picture needs a lot of help,’ give it to Maxie: But usually Forbstein had absolute authority. He was fair and understanding, and everyone had great respect and affection for him. Although he was not a great conductor, the men would give him their best. His ego did not mind the Korngolds and the Steiners becoming stars and getting the glory. He was interested
only in getting the best people and keeping them and the studio happy.”
Heindorf recalls an occasion in the early days of sound when Warner was watching the conductor at a recording session for one of the studio's new films. After listening to the playback of a lengthy take the conductor, obviously unhappy, decided to do it again. "Why?" asked Warner equating time with money, "It sounded fine to me.” "The string bass came in two bars early halfway through,” replied the conductor.
That got to Warner. He looked at the conductor and asked rhetorically: "Whoever goes out of a theatre whistling the bass part?"
The Warner tradition of a strong emphasis on music is impressive: in 1926 a Warner production, Don Juan with John Barrymore, was accompanied by the first synchronized musical score, written specially for the production by David Mendoza and William Axt and recorded by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. "Vitaphone" sound was introduced.
In 1927 Warners presented Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer, the first feature film with synchronized songs and partial dialogue. Then came the first sound operetta, The Desert Song (1929), the first early Technicolor musical, On With The Show (1929), and the revival of the musical film on a grand scale commencing with 42nd Street (1933).
Franz Waxman, starting in the 1940s, will create some excellent music for Warner films - Mr. Skeffington, Objective Burma!, Sayonara, The Nun's Story, etc. Alex North will compose Hollywood's first major jazz oriented score, for A Streetcar Named Desire, and later do Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Dimitri Tiomkin will score superbly, among others, The High and the Mighty, Land of the Pharaohs, and Giant. Leonard Rosenman will contribute a contemporary symphonic treatment for James Dean's first two features - East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause.
In the 60s and 70s there will be no contract composers, orchestrators and musicians. Steiner, Korngold, Waxman, Forbstein and many of the others will be dead; the brilliant, musically interesting scores few and far between.
But in the late 30s, as well as subsequently during the 40s and most of the 50s, there is an unmistakeable quality to the "Warner Sound”: the many advancements in the sound department, the emphasis on good music and its intelligent treatment over the years, the skill with which the sound level of the music is raised, and the personalities of the people creating the music - all these combine to bring a colorful and energetic character to the
music of Warners.
ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD
Erich Wolfgang Korngold arrived in Hollywood from Vienna in 1934 to arrange and conduct the Mendelssohn music for Warner Bros: production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Behind him were the scores of four operas, a considerable quantity of chamber music and symphonic pieces, and an aura of the time when, at the age of seven, he had been a famous child prodigy.
The scores Korngold wrote for such films as Captain Blood, Anthony Adverse, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Juarez, The Sea Hawk, The Sea Wolf, and Kings Row (among others) sound today as when, thirty-five years ago, they set standards for film music composition, gave marvelous flow to the films, and made a truly significant contribution to the art of fusing sound and image.
Korngold was only nineteen when, in 1916, his two one-act operas, The Ring of Polycrates and Violanta were presented in Munich. At the age of twenty-one he completed a successful full-length opera called The Dead City, and then went on to other triumphs.
Much later, after twelve years at Warners, and two Academy Awards (for Anthony Adverse and The Adventures of Robin Hood), he left the studio in 1946 to return to composing for the concert stage. His brilliant Violin Concerto was premiered in 1947 by Jascha Heifetz and now is in standard repertoire.
In 1957, aged sixty, he died. The flag of mourning was flown over the State Opera House in Vienna.
It was Max Steiner more than any other composer who pioneered the use of original composition as background scoring under dialogue for films.
Steiner's career with Warner Bros. spanned almost thirty years and included the scores for 155 films - an incredible output. He perfected many of the techniques and procedures involved in putting music in a systematic, carefully timed and calculated way to sound motion pictures. Steiner virtually introduced the symphonic score to American feature films. He knew the potential impact of music to heighten, clarify or sustain dramatic situations and character transitions on the screen.
At the age of fourteen Viennese born Maximilian Raoul Steiner wrote the music, lyrics and book for an operetta, The Beautiful Greek Girl, which ran for a year in Vienna with Steiner conducting.
After spending several years conducting in London and then in various European cities, he left for America in 1914 to work in New York as a conductor, arranger, orchestrator, and concert pianist.
Steiner arrived in Hollywood in 1929 and soon became head of the RKO Radio Pictures music department where he composed the scores for King Kong, Little Women, The Informer, and well over a hundred other films.
For independent producer David O. Selznick he contributed his superlative and classic Gone With the Wind score.
Steiner's music for Warner Bros. - including the fanfare behind the opening trade mark -
contributed strongly to the Warner flavor and style. His characteristic music admirably served the full-range of films produced at that studio in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. During that period he won three Academy Awards (for The Informer at RKO, Now, Voyager at Warners, and Since You Went Away at Selznick International).
Max Steiner died on December 30, 1971.
A sampling of his profuse output, with the composer conducting, is heard on this recording from the original sound tracks.
Franz Waxman joined Warner Bros. in 1943 after being under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Universal. He contributed some first-rate scores while at Warners, including those for Mr. Skeffington, Objective Burma!, Humoresque, Sayonara, and The Nun's Story.
Waxman was born in Germany and began playing the piano at the age of six. In 1933, after many years of serious music study, he was commissioned to compose the music for a film version of Molnar's Liliom. Shortly afterwards he came to Hollywood to adapt the music of the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II stage musical, Music in the Air. He stayed on and eventually won two Academy Awards in succession for his scores for Sunset Boulevard (1950) and A Place in the Sun (1951).
Waxman also was a founder of the Los Angeles Music Festival in 1947, and its director for two decades, giving American and West Coast premieres of major compositions. In addition to his excellent film scores, Waxman composed oratorios, operas, and concert
works. He also conducted major orchestras in the United States, Israel, and Europe.
Franz Waxman died in 1967 following a truly impressive career.
At one time an acclaimed Russian concert pianist, composer Dimitri Tiomkin has probably been associated with more "big" movies, "name" directors and diverse studios than any other Hollywood composer.
Consider, as examples, Frank Capra's original Lost Horizon; the Hitchcock films -Shadow of a Doubt, Strangers on a Train, I Confess, Dial M for Murder; the Westerns, such as High Noon, Red River, Rio Bravo, Duel in the Sun; the extremely successful The High and the Mighty; the epic Guns of Navarone and Giant; the lovely Friendly Persuasion. These are merely a few representative works.
Tiomkin's mother taught him the piano from infancy, and at the age of twelve he entered the famed St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music. His first money-making association with motion pictures was playing the piano to accompany silent movies in St. Petersburg theatres.
After the Russian Revolution, Tiomkin went to Berlin and Paris and continued to study music in addition to forming a duo-piano team. Shortly after coming to America in 1925, he returned to solo concertizing and then began to compose ballet music for early sound musical films (The Rogue Song, Devil May Care). As the years went by, Tiomkin wrote more and more film music and did less and less concertizing.
Colorful, musically inventive, and shrewd, Tiomkin has won four Academy Awards for both the High Noon score and the song from the film; for The High and the Mighty and The Old Man and the Sea, the latter two for Warner Bros.
Since his first film, A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Alex North has composed distinctive and subtle music for such diverse and interesting subjects as Death of A Salesman, Viva Zapata!, The Long, Hot Summer, Spartacus, The Misfits, Cleopatra, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Born in Philadelphia of Russian parents, North as a youngster won a scholarship to study the piano at the Curtis Institute of Music. Later he won another scholarship to attend the Juilliard School of Music. Then he spent two years studying at the Moscow Conservatory before settling down in New York to write for ballet companies, the theatre, and government film projects.
At this time he was working under the tutelage of Aaron Copland and Ernst Toch.
Director Elia Kazan, after staging the original Broadway presentation of Death of a Salesman and being greatly impressed by North's incidental music for the play, asked for North to join him in Hollywood to work on the Warner Bros. screen version of A Streetcar Named Desire. North's reputation was immediately and deservedly enhanced by this major contribution to film scoring.
Although many top composers provided the songs for the Warner musicals of the 1930s (Richard Whiting and Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg, Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal, Allie Wrubel and Mort Dixon, etc.), the team of composer Harry Warren and lyricist Al Dubin is most strongly associated with those elaborate, charming, and naive productions.
Warren and Dubin wrote for Warners "September in the Rain,” "The Lullaby of Broadway,” "42nd Street,” "Shuffle Off to Buffalo,” "We're in the Money,” "The Shadow Waltz,” "I Only Have Eyes for You,” and innumerable other standards.
Born in Brooklyn and a self-taught musician, Harry Warren's introduction to motion pictures around 1916 was playing the piano on the set to "inspire" the actors at the old Vitagraph studio in New York.
Later he played the piano in movie theatres and started writing songs. Some of his early hits were "Nagasaki,” "Would You Like to Take a Walk?,” and "I Met a Million Dollar Baby in a Five and Ten Cent Store.”
In 1931 Warren teamed up with lyricist Al Dubin with whom he collaborated for eight years.
Warner Bros. signed them as a team in 1932 to do the score for 42nd Street, which was followed immediately by Gold Diggers of 1933 and Footlight Parade.
Warren went on to compose for other studios in the 1940s such hit songs as "Chattanooga Choo Choo,” "Kalamazoo,” "You'll Never Know,” and "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe,” He won three Academy Awards and is still alive and well, having recently celebrated his eightieth birthday.
Warner Bros. Records Inc., a Subsidiary of Warner Bros. Inc., 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, Calif. 91505 - 44 East 50th Street, New York, New York 10022 - Make in U.S.A. (C) 1973 Warner Bros. Records Inc.
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