Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Music Behind The Mask

An enjoyable if extremely fictionalized biopic of silent screen legend Lon Chaney, 1957's Man of a Thousand Faces stars James Cagney in the main role as the man who became famous as The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, among others. Of course, this being the '50s, you also get a lot of sentimal schmaltz thrown in for good measure. The solid, old-fashioned Hollywood score comes from composer Frank Skinner, who certainly knew his way around a monster or two thanks to his work in the '40s on films like Son of Frankenstein, Man Made Monster and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, though the warmer style here is also similar to the work he was doing for Douglas Sirk around the same time on films like Imitation of Life and Magnificent Obsession.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Honored General said...

Thank You SO much for this one! Another underated film composer, who is very unreprepresented on LP and disc. Thank You, once again!

3:14 AM  
Anonymous Ray Faiola said...

Skinner was an extremely versatile composer with a devine gift for melody. He idolized Max Steiner and much of his technique is Steineresque, particularly his talent for interpolation and adaptation. Other wonderful Skinner scores are SABOTEUR, BACK STREET, HARVEY, WRITTEN ON THE WIND and TOWER OF LONDON. He was also the foremost arranger for bands and wrote several books on orchestration and composition. And, reportedly, he was an extremely nice and modest gentleman.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Posted this under your "Les Baxter Swings" post, but again: Will you be making available any more of the "isolated AIP scores" you mentioned you had in that thread? What are the other titles? Looking forward to getting those....and were any of them made available on the DVD releases?

3:32 AM  
Blogger 7 Black Notes said...

Hi,
Some of the other AIP scores posted here include The Last Man on Earth, Scream and Scream Again, Panic in Year Zero, plus the full LPs of Master of the World, Angel Angel Down We Go and Bloody Mama. More are forthcoming; haven't decided on which title to do next, but I have a great one from AIP's Filmways era I've been sitting on...

11:42 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Well, post away! :-)

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great! The only Skinner I'd heard was on that marco Polo release with "Son of Frankenstein" and "The Wolfman".
Thanks for sharing!

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