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May 10's Music Men

May 10's Music Men

Posted by Mike Finnegan on May 10th 2018

For fans of monumental movies and the magnificent musical scores that help transform them into the realm of cinematic immortality, May 10 marks the birthday of three of the best: producer/studio mogul David O. Seznick (1902-1965) and influential composers Max Steiner (1888-1971) and Dimitri Tiomkin (1884-1979). These formidable fellows, as pioneering practitioners at the height of their respective craft were inevitably wont to do, memorably crossed paths several times in Tinseltown’s Golden Age. Steiner wrote the scores for such Selznick executive-produced RKO projects as Symphony of Six Million,The Most Dangerous Gameand A Bill of Divorcement (all 1932) and Little Women and King Kong (both 1933) as well as the great features Selznick shepherded at his own independent studio: Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Garden of Allah (both 1936),A Star Is Born (1937),Gone with the Wind (1939) and Since You Went Away (1944). Tiomkin would intersect with Selznick on Duel in the Sun (1946) and Portrait of Jennie(1948, beautifully adapting Claude Debussy). Later this year a more obscure but rather fun Tiomkin score (complete with, like many Tiomkin projects, a theme song) will tentatively enter the Twilight Time library.

A fourth eminence, also drawing together the parallel strands of movie and musical excellence, shares today’s natal day spotlight, 119-years-young Fred Astaire (1899-1977), the co-star – perfectly partnered with the beautiful and agile Rita Hayworth – of the delightful You’ll Never Get Rich (1941). With songs by Cole Porter, comedy from Robert Benchley and dexterous dance staging by Robert Alton, the title of this light-stepping musical lark in which showbiz chicanery is coupled with military mayhem proves quite the misnomer, because this TT hi-def Blu-ray provides a true embarrassment of riches, with enough festivity and glamour to fuel the birthday celebration of four Hollywood titans.