Hugo Friedhofer: Composing Emotions

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hugo Friedhofer, born in San Francisco in 1901, was the orchestrator of choice for two of the most accomplished composers of Hollywood's golden era, Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Max Steiner. Eventually, Friedhofer composed his own film music, winning an Oscar in 1947 for the post-war classic "The Best Years of Our Lives."

Friedhofer brought an unusual level of skill, and a great deal of emotion to his work, and was particularly admired by his colleagues. David Garland shows why, with highlights from Friedhofer's "The Young Lions," "One-Eyed Jacks," "The Bishop's Wife," "An Affair to Remember," "The Barbarian and the Geisha," "The Best Years of Our Lives," and more.

Friedhofer's music makes the aircraft graveyard scene from "The Best Years of Our Lives" unforgettable:

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Comments [5]

John Kayfman from Allston, Massachusetts

One Eyed Jacks is definitely worth checking out.In some ways it seems to me like a direct antecedent to some of the later work by Sam Peckinpah. The rumor was that Brando's rough cut was some five hours long.

May. 07 2012 12:32 AM
Joe Longo

I love "One-Eyed Jacks." It's worth the time. Brando is great in it: moody and intense. Karl Marlden is at his evil best and gives ones of his best preforamances. And the cinematography by the great Charles Lang is worth the viewing. Lovely shots of the Northern California coast. See it.

Apr. 30 2012 12:45 AM

Many thanks for shining the spotlight on this under-rated composer, David. I recently watched One-Eyed Jack again (one of those rare films that stands the test of time) and at first, I thought the score was somewhat overwrought; but eventually, you begin to understand where he's going with it - especially those magnificent scenes along the Pacific shore. Brando may have had contempt for the film industry, but he certainly contributed much to it and it's a shame he didn't direct other movies.

I've always wondered about Kubrick's involvement: "After buying the rights to the novel, producer Frank P. Rosenberg worked on the first draft of the script together with Rod Serling. Sam Peckinpah was then hired to rewrite it. [Brando's final cut LOOKS like a Peckinpah movie.] A complex deal was then made where money earlier spent attempting to develop Louis L'Amour's novel To Tame a Land into a film was allocated for accounting purposes to this film, and Stanley Kubrick was hired as director. Kubrick fired Peckinpah and brought in Calder Willingham for more rewriting, but later Rosenberg fired him and hired Guy Trosper instead."

Apr. 22 2012 09:59 AM
Ellen Lienhard from West Chester, PA

What a great program; I am especially enjoying the music from Best Years of our Lives, long a favorite movie but never appreciated how much the music adds to the impact. I will be searching the archives for more programs. Hoping you have featured Howard Shore in the past; if not please consider him.

Apr. 21 2012 10:00 PM
Dave Wilson

Re One-Eyed Jacks. It was a favorite of some of my friends in the Sixties. They could recite passages of Brando's dialogue. I think when I saw it, back then, I had firmly in my mind that the music was by Elmer Bernstein, whom I then believed was Leonard's brother. It wss only later that I heard The Best Years of Our Lives and fell in love with it. Thank you for playing Friedhofer's music!

Apr. 21 2012 09:17 PM

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