The Incredible Score


I have not seen any mention of Max Steiner's magnificent music score. He took one basic melody and played in in different rhythms and instrumentations. In happy scenes, such as the girls running around the property, it is fast-paced and uses the higher-toned strings, violins and violas. In somber scenes, he slows it down and uses the deeper tones of the cello and base. It is brilliant and I am really surprised it did not even rate a nomination!

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You're right about the score. Steiner was one of Hollywood's best and he was especially good at composing for "period" movies, like Gone With The Wind. If you like what he did on Little Women, listen to his score for Little Lord Fauntleroy. The opening theme (one of his best) appears throughout the film, but never sounds over-used.

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What's the song that the professor sings? Does anyone know? I'm sure I recognise it.

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The touching melody is known as "None But the Lonely Heart," composed by Tchaikovsky.
The words are from a poem by Goethe, "Nur wenn die Sehnsucht kennt" ["Only he who
knows longing/unrequited passion"]. See a previous post on this same message board
which quotes the same details, and in fact Bhaer (Paul Lukas) explains the same thing in
his dialog in the 1933 film version. -- Prof Steven P Hill, Cinema Studies, University of Illinois.

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The main theme throughout the movie (not the Goethe setting) is one instance of a singable melody being used, rather than just emotional "background music," that works very well. It sounds like it could be a folk tune of the time.

It always gets stuck in my head after I watch this film, and that's fine with me.

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It sounds like it could be a folk tune of the time.
It sounds to me like "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree", a song from the turn of the century that has that old-fashioned, sentimental feeling.





"Wolf? Gypsy woman? Murder? What is this?"

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It sounds to me like "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree", a song from the turn of the century that has that old-fashioned, sentimental feeling.


They both start "mi fa sol," so I can see (hear?) why one would put you in mind of the other, at the beginning.

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Recycled music alert -- I just heard the main theme from this film, in Anne of Green Gables (1934).

And, of course, it's in the 1949 remake of this film.

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For those who love the musical scores in this film, the Netflix DVD contains a special feature of Max Steiner's scoring session cues. With the RCA sound recording system, RKO features probably had the best sounding music, even for a film made in the early 1930s.


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