Compact Discoveries®
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited
by Fred Flaxman

©2013 by Fred Flaxman

Program 212
"Hollywood's Greatest Themes"

MUSIC: orchestral excerpt from Ernest Gold: Exodus [Shout Factory TJL 826663-97645, CD 1, Track 6] [under the following]

Welcome to Compact Discoveries.  I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman. Stay with me for the next hour and we’ll listen together to some of the greatest themes from Hollywood movies!  We’ll take our journey in chronological order, starting in 1939 with the mother of all great film scores, Max Steiner’s lush overture to Gone with the Wind, and ending in 1993 with the beautiful, melancholy theme to Schindler’s List.

In between we’ll hear the themes from Laura, The High and the Mighty, The Bridge on the River Kwai, A Summer Place, Exodus, The Magnificent Seven, The Pink Panther, “Lara’s Theme” from Doctor Zhivago, Love Story, Summer of ’42, and Star Wars.

We remember a great theme even when the movie has faded from our memory. But in the case of “Tara’s Theme” from Gone with the Wind, we might remember this powerful, emotional Civil War story as well as its powerful, emotional score by Max Steiner.

MUSIC:
Max Steiner: “Tara’s Theme” from Gone with the Wind  [Shout Factory TJL 826663-97645, CD 1, Track 1]
  [4:08]

“Tara’s Theme” from Max Steiner’s overture for Victor Fleming’s 1939 film, Gone with the Wind. Steiner wrote this music, as well as the score for another MGM film, in less than a month. He did it, he recalled years later, by getting exactly 15 hours of sleep during those four weeks.

The 1944 Twentieth Century Fox film Laura was based on the 1943 novel of the same name by Vera Caspary. It was directed by Otto Preminger and starred Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, and Clifton Webb. In 1999, Laura was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

The American Film Institute ranked the film number 73 on its list of “100 Years… 100 Thrills,” it was ranked number four in the mystery genre, and David Raksin’s film score was ranked number 7 in AFI’s “100 Years of Film Scores."

MUSIC:
David Raksin: theme from Laura [Shout Factory TJL 826663-97645, CD 1, Track 2]
  [2:20]

David Raksin’s music for the 1944 movie Laura.  Johnny Mercer added lyrics and the song was recorded by Billy Eckstine, Charlie Parker, Woody Herman, Frank Sinatra, and Julie London, among many others.

Composer Dimitri Tiomkin won an Academy Award for his original score to the 1954 disaster film, The High and the Mighty, which starred John Wayne. Here is the theme from that score performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Kaufman. It is from an LSO CD of “The Greatest Film Scores of Dimitri Tiomkin,” which also includes Cyrano de Bergerac, The Alamo, Giant, Dial ‘M’ for Murder, High Noon, Rawhide, and many others.

MUSIC:
Dimitri Tiomkin: The High and the Mighty performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Kaufman [LSO 0720, Track 9]
  [6:37]
 
A suite from the filmscore for The High and the Mighty performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and London Voices conducted by Richard Kaufman.

The 1957 Columbia Pictures release, The Bridge on the River Kwai, directed by David Lean, was based on the 1952 French novel by Pierre Boulle. Although the film is a work of fiction, it uses the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942 as its historical setting. The film stars William Holden, Jack Hawkins, Alec Guinness and Sessue Hayakawa. It was filmed in Ceylon, which is now called Sri Lanka.

The Bridge on the River Kwai achieved near universal critical acclaim, winning seven Academy Awards (including Best Picture) at the 30th Academy Awards, and in 1997, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected for preservation in the United States Library of Congress National Film Registry. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest films of all time.

A very memorable feature of the film is the tune that is whistled by the POWs—the first strain of the march Colonel Bogey—when they enter the camp. The march was originally written in 1914 by Kenneth Alford, a pseudonym of British Bandmaster Frederick J. Ricketts. The Colonel Bogey strain was accompanied by a counter-melody using the same chord progressions, then continued with film composer Malcolm Arnold's own composition The River Kwai March, played by the off-screen orchestra taking over from the whistlers. Mitch Miller and His Orchestra had a hit with a recording of both marches.

MUSIC:
Alford & Arnold: March from the River Kwai and Colonel Bogey [Shout Factory TJL 826663-97645, CD 1, Track 4]
  [2:27]

The March from the River Kwai and Colonel Bogey from The Bridge on the River Kwai, music by Kenneth Alford, also known as Frederick Ricketts, and Malcolm Arnold. The performance was by Mitch Miller and His Orchestra.

The 1959 romantic drama from Warner Brothers, A Summer Place, is now remembered mainly for one of its musical themes. It is by Max Steiner, the composer of Tara’s Theme from Gone with the Wind. It is performed by Percy Faith and His Orchestra.

MUSIC:
Max Steiner: theme from A Summer Place [Shout Factory TJL 826663-97645, CD 1, Track 5]
  [2:26]

The theme from the 1959 movie, A Summer Place, composed by Max Steiner.  It was performed by Percy Faith and His Orchestra.

The 1960 epic war film, Exodus, produced and directed by Otto Preminger, was based on the 1958 novel by Leon Uris. Its dramatic, inspiring soundtrack music was written by Ernest Gold. The film has been credited with stimulating support for Israel in the United States.

MUSIC:
Ernest Gold: Exodus performed by Sinfonia of London Orchestra [Shout Factory TJL 826663-97645, CD 1, Track 6]
[2:30]

The Sinfonia of London Orchestra performed Ernest Gold’s theme music for the 1960 motion picture, Exodus.

You are listening to “Hollywood’s Greatest Themes” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional one-minute break not included in the total timing of this program]

The 1960 film, The Magnificent Seven, was a western-style remake based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 Japanese film, Seven Samurai. The film stars Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, and Horst Buchholz. They play a group of seven American gunmen who are hired to protect a small agricultural village in Mexico from a group of marauding native bandits played by Eli Wallach. The film’s musical score was composed by Elmer Bernstein, and is performed here by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by José Serebrier.

MUSIC:
Elmer Bernstein/arr. Bateman: Overture to The Magnificent Seven [Royal Philharmonic Orchestra RPO 017 CD, Track 15]
  [4:13]

Elmer Bernstein’s overture to The Magnificent Seven from the 1960 movie. José Serebrier led the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

We’re up to 1964 now in our review of “Hollywood’s Greatest Themes.” That was the year when United Artists released the comedy, The Pink Panther, directed and co-written by Blake Edwards and starring David Niven, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner, Capucine, and Claudia Cardinale. The film introduced the cartoon character of the same name in the opening credits sequence, which also featured this catchy music by Henry Mancini, performed by his orchestra.

MUSIC:
Henry Mancini: theme from The Pink Panther [Shout Factory TJL 826663-97645, CD 3, Track 10]
  [2:40]

Henry Mancini’s theme for The Pink Panther.  In the film the Pink Panther is the largest diamond in the world. The huge pink gem has an unusual flaw: looking deeply into the stone, one sees a tiny discoloration resembling a leaping panther. As the camera moves in, this image comes to life and participates in the opening credits.

You are listening to “Hollywood’s Greatest Themes” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional one-minute break not included in the total timing of this program]

The 1965 movie version of Boris Pasternak’s novel, Doctor Zhivago, starred Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. It was directed by David Lean. This movie has remained popular ever since it was first released, and as of 2012 was the eighth highest-grossing film of all time in the United States, adjusted for inflation. Maurice Jarre’s score brought him his second of three Academy Awards.

MUSIC:
Maurice Jarre: Prelude and Lara’s Theme from Doctor Zhivago [Telarc CD-80600, Track 12]
  [5:46]

The Prelude and Lara’s Theme from Doctor Zhivago. The music is by Maurice Jarre. Erich Kunzel led the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra on a Telarc compact disc.

MUSIC:
Lai/Chertock: Love Story performed by pianist Michael Chertock [Telarc CD-80357, Track 14]
  [starts under the following]

We arrive now in 1970 and Love Story, a romantic drama written by Erich Segal from his best-selling novel. It was directed by Arthur Hiller and starred Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw. The film is considered one of the most romantic of all time by the American Film Institute -- it’s number 9 on that AFI list. Here the theme by Francis Lai is arranged for piano and played by Michael Chertock from a Telarc CD called “Cinematic Piano.”

MUSIC:
Lai/Chertock: Love Story performed by pianist Michael Chertock [Telarc CD-80357, Track 14]
  [ends at 3:29]

The theme to the 1970 film, Love Story. Music by Francis Lai. Piano arrangement and performance by Michael Chertock.

The next year, 1971, saw the release of a Warner Brothers film called Summer of ’42. The coming-of-age drama was based on the memoirs of screenwriter Herman Raucher. It tells the story of how Raucher, in his early teens on his 1942 summer vacation on Nantucket Island, embarked on a one-sided romance with a woman whose husband had gone off to fight in World War II. The music is by Michel Legrand.

MUSIC:
Michel Legrand: Summer of ’42  [Shout Factory TJL 826663-97645, CD 1, Track 14]
[3:48]

Summer of ’42. Music by Michel Legrand.

Summer of ’42 was released in 1971. Our next musical theme is from a film that came out in 1977 -- Star Wars, the beginning of a fictional universe franchise created by George Lucas. The music is by John Williams. First we’ll hear the main theme, then the love theme from Episode 2: Attack of the Clones.

MUSIC:
John Williams: Stars Wars [Shout Factory TJL 826663-97645, CD 1, Track 18]
  [2:16]

MUSIC:
John Williams: Star Wars, Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones: Love Theme performed by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra [Telarc CD 80600, Track 9
  [3:25]

The main theme from the 1977 Twentieth Century Fox movie, Star Wars by John Williams was followed by the love theme from Episode 2: Attack of the Clones.

You’ve been listening to “Hollywood’s Greatest Themes” on Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide to good music, Fred Flaxman. I’ll conclude this hour with one of my very favorite motion picture filmscore themes: John William’s, again. This time it is his melancholy main theme for the 1993 Steven Spielberg film, Schindler’s List.

Based on the novel Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally, an Australian novelist, the film is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories.

Schindler’s List won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Score, as well as three Golden Globes and many other awards. In 2007 the American Film Institute ranked the film number 8 on its list of the 100 best American films of all time.

Here the music is performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Carl Davis. The violin soloist is Thelma Handy. This is from a Naxos 2-CD set called “Discover Film Music.”

MUSIC:
John Williams: main theme for Schindler’s List [Naxos 8.558210-11, CD1, Track 18]
  [4:24]

John William’s main theme for the motion picture, Schindler’s List.

MUSIC:
Maurice Jarre: Prelude and Lara’s Theme from Doctor Zhivago [Telarc CD-80600, Track 12]
  [under the following]

Well that does it for this hour of Compact Discoveries devoted to “Hollywood’s Greatest Themes.”  If you missed any of this program or would like to hear it again, go to compactdiscoveries.com on the internet, where you’ll find links to stream Compact Discoveries programs on demand without charge.   You’ll also find information on every recording used in every program. This is program number 212. I’m Fred Flaxman. Thank you for listening!

MUSIC:
fades out

ANNOUNCER
(Steve Jencks):
Compact Discoveries is made possible in part by Story Book Publishers and their latest offering, a tongue-in-cheek memoir by Compact Discoveries host Fred Flaxman called “Sixty Slices of Life ... on Wry: The Private Life of a Public Broadcaster.”  And by the financial support of Isabel and Marvin Leibowitz, and an anonymous donor from Palm Beach, Florida. And by listeners who donate to their local public radio stations. Thank you!

Program Ends at 59:00