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A Bernard Herrmann Documentary: What would you want in it?


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I like Bernard Herrmann. I have endeavoured to answer your questions to the best of my ability, Monsieur Marron: - Would you be remotely interested in a documentary about Herrmann? Yes. - Would y

Suspicious. Karol

- Yes

- I think interviews and the like are almost always a better choice than reenactments

- It would be nice to have proper attention given to his concert pieces

- I don't think anything warrants exclusion

- Of course, you couldn't possibly leave that out

- If there's anything noteworthy, sure

- Hm, quite a few come to mind. Not sure which would necessarily be the best though

- I suspect that using his own music, perhaps excerpts from each score or concert piece as they're being discussed, would be best

- Sure

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I'd like to see interviews of the man himself! I don't know if any exists....I can't remember ever having seen any live footage of the man (beyond conducting in a few glimpses here and there).

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Have you heard An Unvarnished Chat Thor?

It's an (almost) unedited audio interview with him spanning a bit over an hour, from the 70s.

The area I'm most interested in is his relationship with various directors, and how they dealt with his rather unique attitude.

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Have you heard An Unvarnished Chat Thor?

It's an (almost) unedited audio interview with him spanning a bit over an hour, from the 70s.

The area I'm most interested in is his relationship with various directors, and how they dealt with his rather unique attitude.

An Unvarnished Chat is a great interview/chat which I happened to listen again just yesterday. Herrmann is such a great figure in every sense of the word and it comes off even in an audio interview very clearly. Uncompromising artist with very strong opinions and beliefs, volatile with blazing temperament, slightly bitter at his current situation, cantankerous and dismissive of the pop culture, disillusioned about the Hollywood machine. Still underneath he is a very warm and caring human being with great love and passion for music. The less sharp side of his personality is clearly witnessed in the discussion he is having on and off with his wife Norma during the interview as they talk about their dog and about taking it to the vet and how Herrmann tries to calm her down although it is obvious he himself who is the one fretting more for the dog than his wife. :)

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Have you heard An Unvarnished Chat Thor?

It's an (almost) unedited audio interview with him spanning a bit over an hour, from the 70s.

The area I'm most interested in is his relationship with various directors, and how they dealt with his rather unique attitude.

Yup, it's a good one (it's one published by the FFM organization or whatever it's called). I only wish it was video and not audio.

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I like Bernard Herrmann. I have endeavoured to answer your questions to the best of my ability, Monsieur Marron:

- Would you be remotely interested in a documentary about Herrmann?

Yes.

- Would you prefer exploring Herrmann's life through reenactments or original interviews by people who knew him? Or both?

Original interviews, although it would be quite funny if the documentary featured an actor that didn't really look much like Herrmann trying to effect a New York Jewish accent.

- What musical works from Herrmann do you want to know more about?

His works for sci-fi and fantasy films such as Mysterious Island, Journey to the Center of the Earth, etc. and his last few films before Taxi Driver such as It's Alive, Obsession, Sisters, etc.

- What musical works from Herrmann do you know enough about, and would not like to see explored in a documentary?

A lot of the Hitchcock collaboration has already been explored in detail, especially Psycho. Hey, you could play clips from Psycho without music and then with music!

- Does the Hitchcock/Herrmann relationship interest you? Would you like to see/hear that story told in detail, from the beginning of the collaboration to the end?

Ish. It has probably been done to death, but is still a 'sine qua non' of the Herrmann story.

- Does Herrmann's family life interest you?

Yes, although probably not in any greater detail than is already explored in Steven C. Smith's biography.

- What filmmakers or composers would make the best interview subjects?/Who would you like to hear talk about Herrmann?

Brian de Palma and those composers with whom Herrmann was on friendly terms such as John Williams (natch) and Laurie Johnson.

- In a documentary on Herrmann, would you prefer an original score used within it to pay tribute to his work, or reuse of his music from films (either original recordings or rerecordings)?

Herrmann's music, but good luck with the licensing!

- Would you care to see film clips used in a documentary? For example, if PSYCHO is being discussed, would you like to see clips from the film used?
Yes, but not essential.
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I'd like to see interviews of the man himself! I don't know if any exists....I can't remember ever having seen any live footage of the man (beyond conducting in a few glimpses here and there).

There's a video interview with him discussing THE BRIDE WORE BLACK and his relationship with Truffaut.

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I'd like to see interviews of the man himself! I don't know if any exists....I can't remember ever having seen any live footage of the man (beyond conducting in a few glimpses here and there).

There's a video interview with him discussing THE BRIDE WORE BLACK and his relationship with Truffaut.

Really? Is that on the video release of the film?

I now know there's a video interview with BBC from 1967, but I've been unable to find it online.

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I'd like to see interviews of the man himself! I don't know if any exists....I can't remember ever having seen any live footage of the man (beyond conducting in a few glimpses here and there).

There's a video interview with him discussing THE BRIDE WORE BLACK and his relationship with Truffaut.

Really? Is that on the video release of the film?

I'm not sure, I haven't got the DVD. All I remember is bits of it being used in the (excellent) 1992 Music for the Movies doc.

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He died just a few hours after recording Taxi Driver.

And Steven Spielberg apparently met him on that very last day at the recording sessions when Marty Scorsese took him to see Herrmann.

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Suspicious.

Karol

To say the least. Obviously Spielberg didn't take it well when Herrmann admonished him for always hiring Williams instead of Herrmann to score his films.

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From Steven C Smith's biography.

Another attendant was Steven Spielberg, who had just had his first major success with Jaws. Spielberg told the composer how much he admired his music--to which Herrmann replied in mock anger, "Yeah? Well, if ya admire my music so much, why do ya always use Johnny Williams for your pictures?"

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My biographical info on Herrmann is scant, at best, so I would like to know how he came to work with Hitch, and exactly why they fell out over "Torn Curtain".

I'm sure the info is out there...

IMDB says this:

In Norman Lloyd/Steve Smith 1996 Interview, Norman Lloyd revealed that he was there during the break-up of Alfred Hitchcock/Bernard Herrmann partnership. In the interview, Norman Lloyd provided this information on the breakup of Hitchcock/Herrmann partnership - There was great pressure on Hitchcock not to hire Bernard Herrmann. That pressure came from the front office at Universal, most notably from their music department. The reason given was that Bernard Herrmann couldn't write a hit song. Universal was talking about getting Henry Mancini for "Torn Curtain." But Hitchcock decided to go with Herrmann on Torn Curtain. But Hitchcock was determined because of the pressure to lay out very specifically to Herrmann what he wanted in the score. Bernard Herrmann wrote the score after receiving this directives. When Hitchcock listening to the recording of the score, Hitchcock said, in effect, "I don't want to hear another note. This is not what I asked for in the cable. This is a complete violation of my requests." He walked off the stage, had the orchestra dismissed, canceled the next day, and never heard another note of the score. Bernard Herrmann tried to get to see Alfred Hitchcock. But Hitchcock wouldn't see him. He felt that Benny had deliberately ignored his directive." Norman Lloyd also mentioned this to Steven Smith in the interview - "Hitch took the violation as a personal insult, because he had been so careful to lay out his instructions. Then you must also realize that he had hired Benny over the objections of the front office. So the whole situation contributed to Hitch's feeling that Benny had betrayed him."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061107/trivia

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A rather tricky situation for both Herrmann and Hitchcock. It is no wonder there was a disagreement when Herrmann the great individualist and man of conviction that he was a professional who knew (often better than the film makers) what would work and what wouldn't for a film decided to score the film his way instead of the way Hitch had asked him to do. As great a composer Herrmann was he wasn't perhaps not the best collaborator to accommodate directorial wishes when he felt otherwise inclined. The Unvarnished Chat really gives you Benny in a nutshell and he also touches upon this subject in passing in the interview with Zador but is surprisingly diplomatic about it although he makes it abundantly clear that he was right and Hitch and the studio were wrong.

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