side their younger colleagues, among them André Previn, Alex North, Leonard Rosenman, Elmer Bernstein, and Henry Mancini, all of whom began their careers during this decade.
To crown these lists, it is both chronologically fitting and aesthetically crucial to remember the collaboration of Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann, which began with The Man who Knew Too Much in 1955 and ended eleven years later amid the ruins of the rejected score for Torn Curtain. In between, from 1958 to 1960, came the peaks of achievement for director and composer, in Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Psycho. Here were three symphonic scores unmistakably by Herrmann, but stylistically worlds apart. In succession they offer an intensely Romantic tragedy reminiscent of Wagner's Tristan, exuberantly comic dance music with fantastic rhythmic drive, and a disturbingly complex and modernistic score for string orchestra alone. All three continue to fascinate because they begin with dazzling 'overtures' to Saul Bass titles, because the music develops continuously through the films in fascinating structures, and because the scores provide psychological depth and passion as a balance to Hitchcock's tendency toward voyeuristic detachment. The balance is a delicate one indeed, of a sort rare in film music's history, and ought to remind us of Herrmann's remark (which he in turn attributes to Cocteau) that in a good film score 'one is not aware whether the music is making the film go forward or whether the film is pushing the music forward'. This maxim may well serve to guide us as we push forward into film music's future.
Copland, Aaron ( 1941), Our New Music.
Eisenstein, Sergei ( 1992), Towards a Theory of Montage.
Gorbman, Claudia ( 1987), Unheard Melodies.
Kalinak, Kathryn ( 1992), Settling the Score: Music and the Classical Hollywood Film.
Karlin, Fred ( 1994), Listening to Movies: The Film Lover's Guide to Film Music.
Palmer, Christopher ( 1990), The Composer in Hollywood.
Prendergast, Roy M. ( 1992), Film Music, a Neglected Art: A Critical Study of Music in Films.
Thomas, Tony ( 1991), Film Score: The Art and Craft of Movie Music.
Thomson, Virgil ( 1932), "A Little about Movie Music".
The transition to sound at the end of the 1920s initiated a transformation in basic motion picture technology that extended beyond the unique innovation of sound itself. The sound revolution set in motion a series of other experiments in the area of motion picture presentation. These experiments would ultimately lead to a second major technological revolution in the 1950s, to the introduction of widescreen movies, filmed in colour and recorded in stereophonic, magnetic sound. Of course, colour had been in more or less continuous use for filming spectacles throughout the 1930s and 1940s. However, the number of colour films made during this period remained quite small, and it was not until the 1950s that colour was extensively used by the entire film industry.
Indeed, what remains so fascinating about this 'second' technological revolution is how long it took to occur. Given that its origins lay in the late 1920s, why was its full realization delayed until the 1950s? The transition to sound took place in less than four years, but the shift to widescreen and colour, as new standards for production and exhibition, did not occur for over twenty years. All three inventions had been adequately innovated by the early to mid-1930s to permit their adoption by the motion picture industry, but the first widescreen revolution had already failed by the end of 1930 and colour film-making, which found use in only a handful of films each year, emerged during the 1930s and 1940s as a minor variation on the norm of black and white.
The 1930-60 period also witnessed a number of other major technological developments, such as the innovation of deep focus cinematography and the shift from nitrate-based to acetate-based film stock, as well as several minor ones, such as the advent of the zoom lens and 3-D. Ironically, all of these techniques and technologies also trace their origins back to the 1920s and early 1930s, though only the zoom and 3-D exploit a similar principle of novelty to that which drove the development of sound, colour, and widescreen.
Since their inception in the 1890s, motion pictures have routinely been part of a larger entertainment programme which featured other attractions, such as live stage shows. In the late 1910s and 1920s, movie palaces included live prologues, comedy acts, dancers, and singers. Films were accompanied by orchestras or organists, which also performed separately in individually billed 'concerts.' Early sound films, especially Warner Bros.' Vitaphone shorts,