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Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)
Music by Franz Waxman
Demetrius and the Gladiators Demetrius and the Gladiators
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $12.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: January 2002
Catalog #: Vol. 4, No. 19
# of Discs: 1

Biblical epics have always brought out the best in film composers. From the pagaentry and color of the ancient world, to the bold, dramatic gestures of divine involvement, one could not ask for a better canvas for music. And now—finally—one of the legendary Biblical scores of the 1950s gets a premiere CD release: Demetrius and the Gladiators by Franz Waxman.

Demetrius and the Gladiators is the 1954 sequel to the The Robe (1953), Twentieth Century-Fox's blockbuster introduction of the stereo CinemaScope format. As such Demetrius features a fascinating collaborative situation in which Waxman, who wrote largely an original score, interpolated Alfred Newman's themes from the preceding film. This includes Newman's powerful, awe-inspiring melodies for the Robe itself, for the Apostle Peter, for Diana (briefly), and an adaptation of the crucifixion music for a crucial flashback. Furthermore, Waxman based his central theme, a soldier's march for Demetrius (Victor Mature), on chord progressions from the Robe theme, and utilized staples of the Fox "historical epic" sound like Ken Darby's choir.

Waxman wrote all-new music for Demetrius' sizable Roman dimension, including a malevolent march for Caligula and a seductive yet ambiguous theme for Messalina (Susan Hayward). The themes for Caligula and Demetrius double as the fanfares and marches associated with the gladiators' arena, and exotic dance cues accompany the film's baccanal sequences. The aforementioned soldier's march for Demetrius is adapted into a powerful "Gloria in excelsis" for orchestra and choir for the titles.

Demetrius and the Gladiators was one of the earliest CinemaScope recordings at Fox, and time has not been kind to the stereo masters. Although most cues sound marvelous, some damaged passages have been placed at the end of the album (the liner notes identify the chronological sequence). Only three cues were completely lost, and the album also includes the film's surviving temporary music. As a final bonus, the CD includes a five-minute selection from The Egyptian previously released on FSMCD Vol. 4, No. 5, but with a minor synchronization error between orchestra and choir corrected. We regret the mistake (which was identified too late to repress and recall the discs), and hope that fans apperciate having the correct version here.

Franz Waxman Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Franz Waxman (1906-1967) was one of the greatest composers of Hollywood's Golden Age, having fled his native Germany to escape the Nazis. Jerry Goldsmith—no slouch himself—admired Waxman for the great versatility of his accomplishments; for example, Waxman created lasting efforts for horror (The Bride of Frankenstein), biblical epics (Demetrius and the Gladiators), Americana (Peyton Place), biopics (The Nun's Story) and westerns (Cimarron)—to say nothing of his back-to-back Oscar wins for Sunset Boulevard and A Place in the Sun. He was a master dramatist and a distinguished, modern composer who pushed the envelope of the symphonic score. IMDB

Comments (6):Log in or register to post your own comments

Down to less than 80 copies!

Don't miss this!

(But if you do, where've you been the last 10 years?)


Down to less than 80 copies!

Don't miss this!

(But if you do, where've you been the last 10 years?)


Bought this long ago. It was certainly one of my earlier FSM purchases.
Not my favorite Waxman score but it is up there.

Love the distinctive main theme, which first struck me upon hearing the Varese suite, but how wonderful to have the entire score -- thanks to Lukas and FSM!

I waited for this soundtrack score for 48 years until 2002.

I'm not giving mine up so you'll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands.....


you can buy one of the remaining 80 copies while they last---if you're smart.

It's a wonderful score and particularly interesting in how it builds on
Alfred Newman's original score for THE ROBE.

I waited for this soundtrack score for 48 years until 2002.

I'm not giving mine up so you'll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands.....


you can buy one of the remaining 80 copies while they last---if you're smart.[/endquote]

But it's nice to know we have the other option if we miss out on these last eighty.

I loved the music( and liked the movie better than THE ROBE) by Franz Waxman when I first saw this on reissue in the 60s but never dreamed that it would one day surface on disc. It is a glorious score and any real filmusic fan MUST own this -- you'll be sorry if you miss it now - hard to believe that it has taken a decade to sellout!

Track List
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
Franz Waxman

Sol Babitz, George Berres, Henry Camusi, Joachim Chassman, Adolph DiTullio, Peter Ellis, Marvin Limonick, Paul Lowenkron, Irma W. Neumann, David Selmont, Paul C. Shure, Felix Slatkin

Myer Bello, Alvin Dinkin, Alex Neiman, Sven Reher

Joseph Coppin, Joseph DiTullio, Leonard Krupnick, Kurt Reher

C. Magdelano Rivera, Meyer (Mike) Rubin

George Drexler, Arthur Hoberman, Luella Howard, Richard Linden, Barbara Moore (Putnam), Sylvia Ruderman, Sterling D. Smith

William Kosinski, Gordon Pope

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

Don Christlieb, Arthur Fleming

French Horn:
Alfred Brain, Joseph B. Eger, Alan I. Robinson, Harry Schmidt

Frank Beach, John Clyman, Jack R. Coleman

Marlo Imes, Ray Klein, John Tranchitella

Clarence Karella

Urban Thielmann

Irma Louise Clow, Anne Stockton (Mason)

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

Orchestra Manager:
Simon Waronker

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