Friday Film (13)

Yes, it’s still ‘Sergei Eisenstein Month’ here at Doran Mansions; but if you’ll forgive me, I’ll leave the Russian director’s two-part historical epic Ivan the Terrible (1942-46) to one side for a little while longer: I’m still not sure that I’ve ‘found my way into it’ to the extent that would make my observations anything more than empty autobiography

This postponement is no big problem, though — as I’m aware that I still owe this blog’s loyal readers some remarks on the screen ‘fights to the death’ we were examining a little while ago. And in particular, I need to say a few things about Korngold’s approach to scoring them…

In other words, I want to switch back from Ivan the Terrible to ‘Erich the Magnificent’…

Not for the first time, it was a ‘Comment’ from my good pal Hugh that prompted me to reconsider what I was planning to write. You see, a few weeks ago he responded to my posting of a couple of clips by saying that he felt the Sea Hawk swordfight looked ‘on the face of it, like a re-run of Robin Hood‘.

Now, Hugh has a pretty good ear — so I was very intrigued when I read his message: had he spotted that very small and purely musical connection between the two scenes that no-one I’ve asked has ever noticed…? It’s very easy to overlook, after all…

And to demonstrate what I mean, let me start with a tiny clip from Robin Hood … and follow it immediately with a short extract from The Sea Hawk: I think everyone will hear that, just for a moment, the Korngold of 1940 comes very close indeed to repeating the Korngold of 1938…


Me being me, I do have a little mental list of all the places I’ve noted where Korngold’s film scores use the same (or almost the same) ideas, as well as where his concert music and film music intersect with each other. I’d happily demonstrate them all on here — except that most of the films aren’t uploaded anywhere that I can find, and there’s not much I can do with the ancient VHS bootlegs that I have in a stack of boxes somewhere. But if anyone is desperate to know what I mean, I can give them some kind of idea by quickly presenting the trailer to the 1937 melodrama Another Dawn

… moving straight away to a slab of the 1945 Violin Concerto…

… and then presenting a clip from the 1939 Juarez. (Don’t be looking for Errol Flynn: he’s not in it)…

All of which I hope has proved enjoyable as well as enlightening.

But, as Hugh is no doubt poised to tell me, it wasn’t musical connections he was talking about when he referred to the duels in Robin Hood and The Sea Hawk.

Very well, then: we’ll look at the action in those two scenes — and Korngold’s approach to accompanying it! — in next week’s posting.

Meanwhile, if anyone fancies a ‘quiz question’: try and spot the well-defined musical idea that’s heard in Robin Hood (which you can see here) as well as in the Another Dawn trailer. Answers in the ‘Comments’ section — if there are any…!


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2 thoughts on “Friday Film (13)

  1. There’s certainly a link to the Robin Hood “march” at 1:32 in the Another Dawn trailer – whether it counts as a direct quotation or simply re-use of a standard idea is another matter entirely. But re the duels, it was the overall style of the film (and, in general terms, the music) that I had in mind, not specific musical links (you think I have the time to go looking for those…).


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