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Broken Lance (1954)
Music by Leigh Harline
Broken Lance Broken Lance
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $11.21
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: December 2001
Catalog #: Vol. 4, No. 18
# of Discs: 1

You may not think you are familiar with the music of Leigh Harline, but you are—he wrote (with lyricist Ned Washington) the classic Disney song, "When You Wish Upon a Star," heard in everything from Pinocchio to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In addition to his work for Disney, Harline (1907-1969) had a long and successful career composing for a variety of studios, including a productive run at Twentieth Century-Fox during the "CinemaScope" era of the 1950s.

One of Harline's best scores at Fox was for Broken Lance (1954), a superior western starring Spencer Tracy as an iron-willed cattle baron losing control of his family. The film was an early "revisionist" western in which traditional settings and characters are given added psychological depth through the realities of encroaching law and order, and the King Lear-like study of sons Robert Wagner and Richard Widmark turned against one another. By all accounts, it is a first-class production.

Fans of the glorious Golden Age of Hollywood scoring have long known of the quality of Harline's Broken Lance score. The composer evokes the requisite Americana and western refrains, but centers his approach on the imposing Tracy figure, with a five-note fanfare sounded at the opening of the main title. This figure dominates the score, much as the Tracy character dominates the film, in everything from solemn, melancholy interludes to exciting, galloping action cues.

In addition, Harline provides an exuberant, joyful melody for the budding love story between Wagner's character and the governor's daughter (Jean Peters), and makes judicious use of an Irish folk song, "My Love, Oh She Is My Love" for the tender relationship between Tracy's character and his Indian wife (Katy Jurado).

Harline's Broken Lance score is presented complete (save for one short cue which was lost) and in chronological order, remixed from the original six-track masters. Liner notes are by Ross Care. 

Leigh Harline Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Leigh Harline (1907-1969) was a Golden Age composer with stints at Walt Disney Studios (where he wrote "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinocchio), RKO and Twentieth Century-Fox, as well as freelance work at other studios like M-G-M, where he scored two projects for George Pal. His score for Pal's 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (one of his last) is an absolute delight. IMDB

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Track List
Instruments/Musicians
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
Felix Slatkin

Violin:
Sol Babitz, George Berres, Henry Camusi, Joachim Chassman, Harold Dicterow, Adolph DiTullio, Peter Ellis, Jacques Gasselin, Anatol Kaminsky, Murray Kellner, Marvin Limonick, Sid Lippman, Paul Lowenkron, Irma W. Neumann, Joseph Quadri, David Selmont, Paul C. Shure, Felix Slatkin, Leon Trebacz

Viola:
Myer Bello, Norman Botnick, Alvin Dinkin, Alex Neiman, Robert Ostrowsky, Sven Reher

Cello:
Joseph Coppin, Joseph DiTullio, Virgil Gates, Leonard Krupnick, Kurt Reher, Harold Schneier

Bass:
Joseph Kaufman, C. Magdelano Rivera, Meyer (Mike) Rubin

Flute:
Arthur Hoberman, Luella Howard, Sterling D. Smith

Oboe:
William Kosinski, Gordon Pope

Clarinet:
Russell Cheever, Morris Crawford, Charles Gentry, Abe Most, William A. Ulyate

Bassoon:
Don Christlieb, Arthur Fleming, Glen Johnston

French Horn:
Joseph B. Eger, Fred Fox, Alan I. Robinson, Harry Schmidt

Trumpet:
Frank Beach, John Clyman, Jack R. Coleman

Trombone:
Marlo Imes, Ray Klein, John Tranchitella

Tuba:
Clarence Karella

Piano:
Urban Thielmann

Harp:
Anne Stockton (Mason)

Drums:
Richard Cornell, Paul DeDroit, Preston Lodwick, Harold L. "Hal" Rees

Orchestra Manager:
Simon Waronker

© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.