Even from the silent days, movies were always accompanied by music, whether provided by a humble pianist or a grand orchestra. The arrival of sound, however, didn’t bring along with synchronized dialogue the recorded film score as we know it today, that is, music specifically arranged to subtly but powerfully deepen our connection with the characters, actions and emotions on screen. The modern film score had to be invented and no person was more instrumental in establishing its essential role and language, indeed, for inventing the profession of film composer altogether, than Austrian-born émigré Max Steiner.
The son of a famed theater impresario in Vienna, Steiner got his start in America on Broadway before moving to Hollywood in 1929 where he quickly saw how the new medium could benefit from established theatrical scoring techniques. More than an innovator, Steiner proved an astonishingly prolific master who created some of Hollywood’s most memorable scores for some of its most iconic films, including "King Kong" (1933), "Of Human Bondage" (1934), "Casablanca" (1942), 'Mildred Pierce" (1945), and "The Searchers" (1956). Steiner’s remarkable life and career are vividly recounted in the new biography, "Music by Max Steiner: The Epic Life of Hollywood’s Most Influential Composer," by historian and four-time Emmy-nominated producer and journalist Steven C. Smith.
The Archive is thrilled to host this special live webinar presented by Smith who will share selections from his extensive primary and archival research—including film clips, music cues and rare interviews with Steiner—to illuminate Steiner’s passions, his process and his lasting impact on the art and industry of film composing.
Please register for this webinar below. Space is limited!
Total runtime: 90 min.
(right) Steven C. Smith photo credit: Mark A. Vieira