My Favourite Scores – 1933

  • King Kong
  • Max Steiner
  • Marco Polo/Naxos / 1997 / 72:19

This year was the year of King Kong: with both King Kong and The Son of Kong being released this year, both with scores by Max Steiner.

It’s difficult to choose anything other this iconic score; a milestone score of quality. Steiner’s music is great on all levels: it’s a summation of the film in music. The effective title track gets things off to a great start and then we are thrown into a series of low-key and restrained cues that Steiner pulls off very well. (This is a movie that’s not over-scored: I believe that it’s some time before the second track here is featured in the film.)

It’s a score that has tribal music (forewarning the audience (and the characters if they could hear the music!) of the events to come), the already-mentioned restrained tracks and some excellent action scoring for the latter parts of the film. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to have been in the cinema when this movie was released, listening to Steiner’s music featured in “Entrance of Kong” and awaiting the spectacle of Kong’s final reveal? And Steiner’s music captures that anticipation wonderfully well. I’m not too keen on Steiner’s tendency to replicate as much of the on-screen action in his music (“mickey-mousing”), but it works very well here.

A iconic film score.

Mention should go to William Stromberg, John Morgan and the musicians of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra (as well as Marco Polo/Naxos) for a wonderful re-recording. This re-recording shows off Steiner’s score to maximum advantage.


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