1. When did you first discover the music of Elmer Bernstein?
Without a doubt THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN was my first exposure to Bernstein's music sometime in the early 60s. My parents had a an LP of movie themes (later replaced by "Music from Marlboro Country" after I wore out the other album).
I also owned "Music From Marlboro Country" at some point, but can't remember whether this was a regular store item or one of those "special products" I might have picked up at a used record store or somewhere... Anyone know the info on that? Bernstein must have made a fortune selling cigarettes...
As Elmer mentioned many times he had no control of who the publishers sold the rights to his music to. They, which I assume were United Artists, were the ones who made the deal with Marlboro. Bernstein said he never would have done that. Anyway I don't know if he got a piece of that deal but the most you could say was he made some money from others selling cigarettes but saying he made a fortune selling cigarettes would make probably make him bristle. It certainly did me. Luckily most notable composers had their music rights revert to them after a few years because after that it seemed a useless item for studios to hang onto (in those days).
I have great respect for Mr. Bernstein and would never suggest that he was responsible personally for promoting an unhealthy habit. I suspect however that he did earn a lot in royalties for the use of his music for commercial purposes. No shame in that, as the music was outstanding and worthy of compensation, and he was not responsible for the transaction that led to its use in selling cigarettes.
I am still interested in finding out more about how the MFMC album was distributed and the source of the cues, if anyone here can illuminate that for us.
It was just your wording.
I got my LP (as a teen) sending in a coupon from TV Guide and a nominal fee. No boxtops or any of such thing that I remember. I think they thought listening to an album with Marlboro country all over it and potentially getting some youngsters identifying with smoking was enough.
1. Tell me when did you first discover the music of Elmer Bernstein?
My mother took me to see THE TEN COMMANDMENTS when I was 4 years old in 1956/57 -- she told me that I stayed awake during the entire duration – and some of the scenes in the film still have a primal force for me entirely out of keeping with their somewhat questionable dramatic integrity. I am sure the music also made a forceful imprint on my impressionable mind. There is a 6 year gap until I vividly recall seeing THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN with my best friend, George -- we left the theater humming the main tune – and both of us saw the film a couple more times before it disappeared. We made a note of the music and who composed it – from then on I always knew that Mr. Bernstein’s name in a main title sequence meant something special. I also began collecting lps around that time, so I started to purchase his recordings when I had enough money from my allowance or from mowing lawns in the summer.
2. What are your favourite scores?
This is almost an impossibility for me to sort out:
Hawaii To Kill a Mockingbird The Hallelujah Trail The Carpetbaggers The Scalphunters The Comancheros Marie Ward The Scarlet Letter The Great Escape Walk on the Wild Side The Grifters Amazing Grace and Chuck Baby the Rain Must Fall Love with the Proper Stranger Summer and Smoke Slipstream The Rat Race Birdman of Alcatraz The Black Cauldron Rambling Rose Far From Heaven
I also love what Mr. Bernstein did with “Cape Fear.”
3. What Elmer Bernstein CD releases do you wish in the future?
To Kill a Mockingbird – original tracks The Ten Commandments Baby the Rain Must Fall The Miracle A River Runs Through It Thoroughly Modern Millie
Many thanks to Bob DiMucci and to Morricone for the information. This recording was but a sidebar in an amazing career.
I periodically read a section or two from Mr. B's groundbreaking "Film Music Notebook" and never fail to learn something new, interesting and insightful about the process of scoring as well as his contemporaries, the giants of the industry (Bernstein himself included of course). I highly recommend this volume, happily still available through the Film Music Society. The journal was written between 1974 and 1978, when not a lot else was being written about the subject of film music, and includes interviews, essays, film score analyses and also information about the Elmer Bernstein Film Music Collection which he produced during this period (and for subscribers to which the journal was originally intended). Bernstein's dedication to the art of film scoring and proactive work on behalf of the rights of film composers was unequaled.