Franz Waxman


Composer

About

Also Known As
Franz Wachsmann
Birth Place
Konigshutte, Germany
Born
December 24, 1906
Died
February 24, 1967
Cause of Death
Cancer

Biography

Began his film career with UFA in 1930 and scored a number of German films before leaving the country in 1934. Waxman subsequently moved to the US, where he emerged as one of Hollywood's finest and most prolific composers of the 1940s and 50s. Adept at psychologically laden scores and romantic or fantastic material, Waxman contributed to several Hitchcock films, notably "Rebecca" (1940) ...

Notes

One of six motion picture composers honored with a postage stamp in 1999

Biography

Began his film career with UFA in 1930 and scored a number of German films before leaving the country in 1934. Waxman subsequently moved to the US, where he emerged as one of Hollywood's finest and most prolific composers of the 1940s and 50s. Adept at psychologically laden scores and romantic or fantastic material, Waxman contributed to several Hitchcock films, notably "Rebecca" (1940) and "Rear Window" (1954), other outstanding credits include "Bride of Frankenstein" (1935), "The Philadelphia Story" (1940), "Mr. Skeffington" (1944), "Humoresque" (1946) and "Sunset Boulevard" (1950).

(Following courtesy of franzwaxman.com):

Franz Waxman® led a variety of musical lives as composer, conductor and impresario. He was born in Konigshutte, Upper Silesia, Germany, on December 24, 1906, and was the youngest of six children. No one in the family was musical except Franz, who started piano lessons at the age of seven. His father was an industrialist, and not believing his son could earn a living in music, encouraged him in a banking career. He worked for two and a half years as a teller and used his salary to pay for lessons in piano, harmony and composition. He then quit the bank and moved to Dresden and then to Berlin to study music.

During this period he paid for his musical education by playing piano in nightclubs and with the Weintraub Syncopaters, a popular jazz band of the late 1920s. While with the band he began to do their arrangements, and this led to orchestrating some early German musical films. Frederick Hollander, who had written some music for the Weintraubs, gave Waxman his first important movie assignment: orchestrating and conducting Hollander's score for Josef von Sternberg's classic film, "The Blue Angel." The film's producer, Erich Pommer, who was also head of the UFA Studios in Berlin, was so pleased with the orchestration of the score that he gave Waxman his first major composing assignment: Fritz Lang's version of "Liliom" (1933) which was filmed in Paris after their exodus from Germany. Pommer's next assignment, Jerome Kern's "Music in the Air" (Fox Films, 1934), took him to the United States, and he brought Waxman with him to arrange the music.

Waxman's first original Hollywood score was James Whale's "The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935), which led to a two-year contract with Universal as head of the music department. He scored a dozen of the more than 50 Universal films on which he worked as music director. Among the best known are "Magnificent Obsession, "Diamond Jim" and "The Invisible Ray."

Two years after he went to Hollywood, Waxman, then 30, signed a seven-year contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to compose. He averaged about seven pictures a year, and it was during this period that he scored such famous Spencer Tracy films as "Captains Courageous," "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and "Woman of the Year." In 1937, he was loaned by M-G-M to David O. Selznick for "The Young at Heart" and was nominated for both Best Original Music and Best Score - the first two of 12 Academy Award nominations he was to receive for the 144 films he scored in his 32 years in Hollywood. In 1940 he was again loaned to Selznick, this time for "Rebecca," and was nominated for his third Academy Award.

Waxman left M-G-M in 1943 and began a long association with Warner Brothers. "Old Acquaintance" is from this period. (Selections from three more of his Warner Brothers scores can be heard on RCA albums: "Mr. Skeffington" is included in "Classic Film Scores for Bette Davis," "To Have and Have Not," and "The Two Mrs. Carrolls" are included in "Casablanca - Classic Film Scores for Humphrey Bogart, and "Objective, Burma!" are on "Captive Blood" - Classic Film Scores for Errol Flynn)

In 1947 Waxman founded the Los Angeles International Music Festival, which he was to head for 20 years. World and American premieres of 80 major works by composers such as Stravinsky, Walton, Vaughan Williams, Shostakovitch and Schoenberg were given at the festival.

By 1947 Waxman had a busy schedule indeed. In addition to devoting a great deal of time to the festival, he was in demand at all the major studios, was guest conducting symphony orchestras in Europe as well as in the United States and was composing concert music. For the film "Humoresque" he wrote a special piece based on themes from Bizet's "Carmen," which was played by Isaac Stern on the soundtrack. The "Carmen Fantasie" has become standard repertoire and was recorded by Jascha Heifetz for RCA. Among Waxman's other concert works are "Overture for Trumpet and Orchestra," based on themes from "The Horn Blows at Midnight;" "Sinfonietta for String Orchestra and Timpani;" a dramatic song cycle "The Song of Terezin," and an oratorio, "Joshua."

Waxman won the Academy Award in 1950 for Billy Wilder's "Sunset Boulevard" and in 1951 for George Stevens' "A Place in the Sun." For over half a century, he was the only composer to have won the award for Best Score in two successive years. It was during the '50s and '60s that he composed some of his most important and varied scores. These are represented by the above two Academy Award winners as well as by "Prince Valiant" and "Taras Bulba." He had usually been associated with romantic films, but now he progressed to epic and jazz-oriented scores. "Crime in the Streets," "The Spirit of St. Louis," "Sayonara," "Peyton Place" and "The Nun's Story" are also from this period and the complete scores were issued on soundtrack albums. Franz Waxman® received many honors during his lifetime, including the Cross of Merit from the Federal Republic of West Germany, honorary memberships in the Mahler Society and the International Society of Arts and Letters, and an honorary doctorate of letters and humanities from Columbia College. He died February 24, 1967, in Los Angeles at the age of 60.

Together with Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Max Steiner, Dimitri Tiomkin, Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Newman a United States postage stamp was issued in 1999. During the recent Waxman centenary a street in his birthplace was named Franz Waxmanstrasse. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and Turner Classic Movies held tributes. The Museum of Modern Art in New York presented a 24 picture retrospective; this was the first time that MoMA honored a composer. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra recently performed the complete score THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN live to film.

Franz Waxman® Bibliography:

Crawford, Dorothy, Lamb: A WINDFALL OF MUSICIANS Hitler's Emigres and Exiles in Southern California pages 169-175. Yale University Press, New Haven & London. 2009. ISBN 9 780300 127348

Palmer, Christopher: THE COMPOSER IN HOLLYWOOD, "Franz Waxman®" pages 94-117, Marion Boyars Publishers, London & New York 1990, ISBN: 0-7L45-2884-4

Darby, William & Du Bois, Jack: AMERICAN FILM MUSIC: Major Composers, Techniques, Trends, 1915-1990, "Franz Waxman®" pages 116-156, McFarland & Company Inc. Publishers, Jefferson North Carolina & London 1990, ISBN: 0-89950-468-X

Thomas, Tony: MUSIC FOR THE MOVIES, "Franz Waxman®" page 92-102, Silman-James Press, Los Angeles 1997, ISBN: 1-879595-37-1

Thomas, Tony: Ed: FILM SCORE: A View From the Podium, "Franz Waxman®" pages 49-59 A.S. Barnes & Co. South Brunswick & New York 1979 ISBN: 0-498-02358-3

Karlin, Fred: LISTENING TO MOVIES: The Film Lover's Guide to Film Music "Franz Waxman" Schirmer Books, New York 1994 ISBN: 0-02-873315-0

Brown, Royal: OVERTONES & UNDERTONES: Reading Film Music, "Franz Waxman®", University of California Press, Berkeley, ISBN: 0-520-08544-2

Evans, Mark: SOUNDTRACK: The Music of the Movies "Franz Waxman®" Hopkinson & Blake, New York, ISBN: 0-91974-19-9

Marmorstein, Gary: HOLLYWOOD RHAPSODY: Movie Music & Its Makers 1900 to 1975 "Franz Waxman®" Shirmer Books, New York ISBN: 0-02-864595-2

Cleslinski, Marek, Kosma, Franz Waxman®: The Winner of Oscars from Konigshutte.' Chorzow 2006., November 2007. Chorzow, Poland, www.medial.media.pl ISBN 83-60360-05-7

Filmography

 

Music (Feature Film)

The Shape of Water (2017)
Song
The Post (2017)
Song
The Dressmaker (2016)
Song
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)
Song
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part One (2011)
Song
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part One (2011)
Song Performer
Small Soldiers (1998)
Song
Hollywood Sound (1995)
Music Composer
Fire in the Sky (1993)
Song ("A Message Of Murder")
What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
Music ("Sorry, Wrong Number")
Peyton Place: The Next Generation (1985)
Theme Song
Murder in Peyton Place (1977)
Song
Lost Command (1966)
Music
Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962)
Music comp & Conductor
My Geisha (1962)
Music
Taras Bulba (1962)
Music
My Geisha (1962)
Composer
Taras Bulba (1962)
Composer
Return to Peyton Place (1961)
Music
King of the Roaring 20's--The Story of Arnold Rothstein (1961)
Music comp & Conductor
Return to Peyton Place (1961)
Composer
The Story of Ruth (1960)
Music
Sunrise at Campobello (1960)
Music Composition and Conducting
Cimarron (1960)
Music
Cimarron (1960)
Composer
Count Your Blessings (1959)
Music Composition and Conducting
Beloved Infidel (1959)
Music
The Nun's Story (1959)
Music Composition and Conducting
Career (1959)
Music
Beloved Infidel (1959)
Composer
Run Silent Run Deep (1958)
Music
The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)
Music Composition and Conducting
Peyton Place (1957)
Music
Sayonara (1957)
Music
Love in the Afternoon (1957)
Music Adapted
Sayonara (1957)
Composer
Back from Eternity (1956)
Music Composition and Conducting
Miracle in the Rain (1956)
Music Composition and Conducting
Crime in the Streets (1956)
Music
Untamed (1955)
Music
The Silver Chalice (1955)
Music Composition and Conducting
The Indian Fighter (1955)
Music
Mister Roberts (1955)
Music Composition and Conducting
The Virgin Queen (1955)
Music
The Indian Fighter (1955)
Composer
Prince Valiant (1954)
Music
Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)
Music
Elephant Walk (1954)
Music Score
Rear Window (1954)
Music Score
This Is My Love (1954)
Music
Rear Window (1954)
Composer
This Is My Love (1954)
Composer
Man on a Tightrope (1953)
Music Director
Botany Bay (1953)
Music Score
Stalag 17 (1953)
Music settings
My Cousin Rachel (1953)
Music
Come Back, Little Sheba (1953)
Music Score
I, the Jury (1953)
Music
A Lion Is in the Streets (1953)
Music
Phone Call from a Stranger (1952)
Music
Red Mountain (1952)
Music Score
Lure of the Wilderness (1952)
Music
He Ran All the Way (1951)
Music
A Place in the Sun (1951)
Music Score
The Blue Veil (1951)
Music
Anne of the Indies (1951)
Music
Only the Valiant (1951)
Music
Decision Before Dawn (1951)
Music
The Furies (1950)
Music Score
Johnny Holiday (1950)
Music
Night and the City (1950)
Music
Dark City (1950)
Music Score
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Music Score
Alias Nick Beal (1949)
Music Score
Night unto Night (1949)
Music
Task Force (1949)
Original Music
Rope of Sand (1949)
Music Score
Whiplash (1948)
Music
Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)
Music Score
The Paradine Case (1948)
Music
No Minor Vices (1948)
Music
Nora Prentiss (1947)
Music
The Unsuspected (1947)
Music
Cry Wolf (1947)
Music
Possessed (1947)
Music
Dark Passage (1947)
Music Director
That Hagen Girl (1947)
Music
The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947)
Music
Humoresque (1947)
Music Conductor
Her Kind of Man (1946)
Music
Hotel Berlin (1945)
Music
The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945)
Music
Confidential Agent (1945)
Music
God Is My Co-Pilot (1945)
Music
Objective, Burma! (1945)
Music
Pride of the Marines (1945)
Music
The Very Thought of You (1944)
Music
Mr. Skeffington (1944)
Music
In Our Time (1944)
Music
Destination Tokyo (1944)
Music
Edge of Darkness (1943)
Music
Old Acquaintance (1943)
Music
Air Force (1943)
Music
Reunion in France (1942)
Music Score
Seven Sweethearts (1942)
Music Score
Tortilla Flat (1942)
Music Score
Journey for Margaret (1942)
Music Score
Woman of the Year (1942)
Music Score
Kathleen (1942)
Music Score
The Vanishing Virginian (1942)
Addl Music
Her Cardboard Lover (1942)
Music Score
Tortilla Flat (1942)
Composer
Honky Tonk (1941)
Music Score
Unfinished Business (1941)
Music Director
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)
Music Score
Suspicion (1941)
Music
The Feminine Touch (1941)
Music Score
Design for Scandal (1941)
Music Score
Strange Cargo (1940)
Music Score
Rebecca (1940)
Music Director
Flight Command (1940)
Music Score
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Music Score
Florian (1940)
Music Score
Boom Town (1940)
Music Score
I Love You Again (1940)
Music Director
Sporting Blood (1940)
Music Score
On Borrowed Time (1939)
Music Score
Lucky Night (1939)
Music Director
At the Circus (1939)
Music Director
The Ice Follies of 1939 (1939)
Music Director
Lady of the Tropics (1939)
Music Score
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939)
Music Score
Honolulu (1939)
Incidental Music
The Shining Hour (1938)
Music Score
Three Comrades (1938)
Music Score
Test Pilot (1938)
Music Score
A Christmas Carol (1938)
Music Score
Man-Proof (1938)
Music Score
Dramatic School (1938)
Music Score
Port of Seven Seas (1938)
Music Score
Too Hot to Handle (1938)
Music Score
The Young in Heart (1938)
Music
Arsene Lupin Returns (1938)
Music Score
Three Comrades (1938)
Composer
Personal Property (1937)
Music Score
A Day at the Races (1937)
Music Director
The Bride Wore Red (1937)
Music Score
Captains Courageous (1937)
Music Score
The Emperor's Candlesticks (1937)
Music Score
Captains Courageous (1937)
Composer
The Bride Wore Red (1937)
Composer
Love on the Run (1936)
Music Score
Don't Get Personal (1936)
Music Director
Trouble for Two (1936)
Music Score
The Invisible Ray (1936)
Music Score
His Brother's Wife (1936)
Music Score
Absolute Quiet (1936)
Music Score
The Devil-Doll (1936)
Music Score
Magnificent Obsession (1936)
Music Director
Fury (1936)
Music Score
Next Time We Love (1936)
Music Director
Sutter's Gold (1936)
Music Score
Love on the Run (1936)
Composer
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Music Score
Three Kids and a Queen (1935)
Music Score
East of Java (1935)
Music Director
Remember Last Night? (1935)
Music Score
The Great Impersonation (1935)
Music Score
Liliom (1935)
Musique de [Music by]
Diamond Jim (1935)
Music Score
His Night Out (1935)
Music Score
The Affair of Susan (1935)
Music Score
Music in the Air (1934)
Music Adapted
Mauvaise Graine (1934)
Music
Der Mann, der Seinen Morder Sucht (1931)
Music

Music (Special)

Music For the Movies: The Hollywood Sound (1995)
Music

Life Events

Videos

Movie Clip

Peyton Place (1957) - I've Made My Choice Rossi the new principal (Lee Philips) has graciously asked veteran teacher Miss Thornton (Mildred Dunnock) to lead Auld Lang Syne at the graduation dance, after which he thanks widow-parent Constance (Lana Turner) for acting as a chaperone, then continues, in Peyton Place, 1957, the scandalous box-office hit from producer Jerry Wald.
Suspicion (1941) - Your Ucipital Mapilary Johnny (Cary Grant) and Lina (Joan Fontaine) have strayed from church for this flirtatious, wind-blown encounter, their second meeting in Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion, 1941.
Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) - To A Dead Crew! Crew of the Nerka (Jack Warden, Brad Dexter, et al) stands by as Commander Richardson (Clark Gable) ducks a Japanese convoy, and is challenged by his "Exec" Bledsoe (Burt Lancaster), in Robert Wise's Run Silent, Run Deep, 1958.
Christmas Carol, A (1938) - My Name Is Scrooge Nephew Fred (Barry MacKay) is bidding farewell to Cratchit (Gene Lockhart) when two do-gooders (Halliwell Hobbes, Charles Coleman) solicit Scrooge (Reginald Owen) in MGM's A Christmas Carol, 1938.
Tortilla Flat (1942) - Ay, Paisano! John Garfield (as "Danny"), Spencer Tracy (as "Pilon"), Akim Tamiroff (as "Pablo") and Sheldon Leonard (as "Tito") sing "Ay, Paisano!" by Frank Loesser and Franz Waxman, followed by chatter, in Tortilla Flat, 1942, very loosely based on the John Steinbeck novel.
Suspicion (1941) - Open, Is That Your Leg? Standard credits followed by an opening scene in the dark, as Johnny (Cary Grant) meets Lina (Joan Fontaine) on a train, in Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion, 1941.
Suspicion (1941) - Johnny Saved Your Life? Nervous Lina (Joan Fontaine) is delighted to find Beaky (Nigel Bruce) still alive, fussing about the house with her dilettante husband Johnny (Cary Grant) in Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion, 1941.
Taras Bulba - Opening, Prologue Nice paintings, Franz Waxman music, Paul Frees narration and fancy visual effects, opening the offbeat epic Taras Bulba, 1962, starring Yul Brynner and Tony Curtis, based on Nikolai Gogol's novel.

Trailer

Stalag 17 -- (Re-issue Trailer) He's a cynic but is he a traitor? William Holden won a Best Actor award as the hard-boiled POW running scams in Billy Wilder's Stalag 17 (1953).
Cimarron (1960) - (Original Trailer) A pioneer couple plays a major role in the settling of Oklahoma in Cimarron (1960), directed by Anthony Mann and starring Glenn Ford & Maria Schell.
Night Unto Night -- (Original Trailer) A terminally ill scientist (Ronald Reagan) seeks comfort from a mentally disturbed widow (Viveca Lindfors) in Night Unto Night (1949).
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The (1939) - (Original Trailer) Mickey Rooney is Mark Twain's classic troublemaker who helps a runaway slave (Rex Ingram) escape to the North.
Absolute Quiet - (Original Trailer) When a plane filled with shady characters is forced to land on a tycoon's ranch Absolute Quiet (1936) is a lost cause.
Trouble For Two - (Original Trailer) Before he can marry, a European prince (Robert Montgomery) gets mixed up with a suicide club. Based on short stories by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Cry Wolf - (Original Trailer) Barbara Stanwyck comes to claim her late husband's estate and uncovers a mystery involving Errol Flynn in Cry Wolf (1947).
Flight Command - (Original Trailer) Walter Pidgeon introduces himself as Commander Gary, also the host of the original theatrical trailer for MGM's Flight Command, 1940, starring Robert Taylor and Ruth Hussey, directed by Frank Borzage.
Tortilla Flat - (Original Trailer) Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr and John Garfield star in Tortilla Flat (1942), based on the novel by John Steinbeck.
His Brother's Wife - (Original Trailer) A man helps his brother skip town, then steals his girlfriend in His Brother's Wife (1936) starring real-life couple Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor.
Horn Blows At Midnight, The - (Original Trailer) Jack Benny plays an angel sent to destroy the Earth with a trumpet blast in The Horn Blows At Midnight (1945).
Air Force - (Original Trailer) A bomber crew sees World War in action over the Pacific in Air Force (1943), directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Garfield and Gig Young.

Family

John Waxman
Son
Survived him.

Bibliography

Notes

One of six motion picture composers honored with a postage stamp in 1999