These pictures were produced by Milton Sperling's United States Pictures Company and released by Warner Bros. between 1946 and 1951. The scores are taken from acetate recordings in the Max Steiner Collection at Brigham Young University and the album is produced under license from Richard Feiner and Company.
The scores are presented, for the most part, in comprehensive format. While
merely an overture from CLOAK AND DAGGER survives (produced using the composite
soundtrack's main and end cast cues), all of Steiner's underscore for MY GIRL
TISA was preserved in his private disc collection. Remarkably, Steiner's
contribution to TISA amounted to just over 13 minutes of music, the rest of the
film's score accounted for by "source" music (played by an on-screen band,
SOUTH OF ST. LOUIS survives almost in its entirety and in remarkably clean
condition. Only the music from the last reel was not preserved in the Steiner
In addition to Max's score, you will be able to hear Bonnie Sue Williams'
vocal (lip-synched by Alexis Smith in the picture) on Ray Heindorf's "Too Much
DISTANT DRUMS is a favorite score of Steiner fans. The film is a re-working
of OBJECTIVE BURMA with little story, but plenty of tense and evocative drama.
The star of the hour is the on-location photography done in the Florida
Everglades. Steiner responded to this unusual setting and his music has a
tropical serenity permeating the suspenseful atmosphere as Gary Cooper and
company are on the run from a band of renegade Seminoles.
While all of the primary motifs are original in this score, Steiner fans will
pick up on some mood and action bits that Max originally wrote in 1933 for
Merian C. Cooper's KING KONG. The recycling of score material by composers was a
logical practice since there was never any thought paid to the idea that, once a
film concluded its theatrical run, the music would very likely ever be heard
SOUTH OF ST. LOUIS is a prime example of Steiner's approach to western and American historical dramas. In addition to the expected quotes from period melodies, Steiner's score features a beautiful love theme and a uniquely rhythmed battle motif for the rivercrossing shootout.
One of the themes in 1948's MY GIRL TISA has an interesting lineage. It
originated as a Russian folk song and was adapted by Steiner as the film's love
theme, "Ever Beginning." However, during the course of the film's production,
producer Milton Sperling hired Mack David to write lyrics to the tune so that MY
GIRL TISA might benefit from some added exploitation. The result was a beautiful
ballad, "At the Candlelight Cafe," sung by Al Jolson on NBC's KRAFT MUSIC HALL
and recorded for Capitol Records by Gordon MacRae. Due to the publication of the
song, Steiner's employment of the melody had to reflect its new title, "At the
Candlelight Cafe," in the cue sheets registered with ASCAP and the Library of
DISTANT DRUMS: MAX STEINER'S SCORES FOR UNITED STATES PICTURES includes a lavish 32 page booklet featuring poster art reproduction, original stills and advertising art, reproductions of published sheet music from two of the films featured, and detailed notes on the films' production and scoring. Also available now is a single disc release features Steiner's score for Milton Sperling's production of PURSUED, one of the great film noir westerns.
Also available is Dimitri Tiomkin's THE COURT-MARTIAL OF BILLY MITCHELL.
PURSUED CD $17.98