My Favourite Scores – 1935


  • She
  • Max Steiner
  • Tribute Film Classics / 2008 / 69:42

I never really appreciated the quality of Max Steiner’s She until I heard Tribute Film Classics’ re-recording. I was familiar with this score as I already had the original score recording that had been released by Brigham Young/Film Music Archives. But that recording – though remarkable considering that it is a recording from 1935 – does show its age. With the re-recording Steiner’s score just shines.

Original Soundtrack

What is so wonderful about this score is Steiner’s hypnotic and intoxicating main theme, best heard at the beginning of “The Queen / Tanya In Bed” for when She first appears. That particular passage, when compared with the original recording, highlights just how much can not be heard! The beguiling use of the wordless choir  in such a way must surely have been in the minds of composers scoring TV’s Star Trek many years later.

I usually have to approach Steiner’s music with a certain amount of trepidation since I usually only like my mickey-mousing film scoring in very small doses (She does have a smattering of this style of scoring). But there’s so much more that is there to enjoy in the whole score.

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. [Read more…]