The Last of the Mohicans (1936) - a music question

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brendangcarroll

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The Last of the Mohicans (1936) - a music question

PostSun Feb 26, 2017 4:26 pm

I am sure anyone who has seen the splendid 1936 version of The Last of the Mohicans starring Randolph Scott will have noticed that its music score re-uses many cues from Steiner's classic score to KING KONG.

My question is simply this: how was this possible for a non RKO release?

I am guessing that the original separate music soundtrack from KONG was somehow accessed and the cues selected by Bernard Kaun and matched to MOHICANS, where and when appropriate, rather than recorded anew for the film.

But Mohicans was an independent production by Edward Small.

So did he license Steiner's score or arrange to utilise RKO's sound and music facilities for his film, getting permission to reuse anything in the music library as part of the deal?

Do any film music experts here know? Can you offer a definitive, fact-based answer (rather than a speculative guess)?

I'd love to know!
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)
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Rick Lanham

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Re: The Last of the Mohicans (1936) - a music question

PostSun Feb 26, 2017 6:45 pm

Not an expert, but googling…

https://books.google.com/books?id=oUWQD ... &q&f=false

The page says that Edward Small had signed a secret deal to be a producer for RKO, so he was able to use Roy Webb for the music, who did the borrowing.

Rick
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brendangcarroll

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Re: The Last of the Mohicans (1936) - a music question

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 12:38 am

How interesting. I don't have this book - does it say why the deal had to be secret?
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)
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Ray Faiola

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Re: The Last of the Mohicans (1936) - a music question

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 6:52 am

As I remember, Brendan, the Steiner cues were "tracked in" from optical music elements and not re-recorded (same short-cut was done with SON OF KONG).
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Brooksie

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Re: The Last of the Mohicans (1936) - a music question

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 1:16 pm

Rick Lanham wrote:Not an expert, but googling…

https://books.google.com/books?id=oUWQD ... &q&f=false" target="_blank

The page says that Edward Small had signed a secret deal to be a producer for RKO, so he was able to use Roy Webb for the music, who did the borrowing.

Rick


There was nothing secret about Edward Small having signed with RKO. It was widely publicised, and he had already moved his unit there by early 1936.

What the book may be referring to is the fact that production on Mohicans , which took place on the RKO-Pathe lot, was released under Reliance's previous contract with United Artists.

Possibly, RKO would not have been happy for Reliance to be making raids on their musical back catalogue for a film released by a rival company, but it's worth noting that Webb was credited as Musical Director in several trade magazines. If it was a secret, it can't have been that big a secret.
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Mike Gebert

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Re: The Last of the Mohicans (1936) - a music question

PostMon Feb 27, 2017 2:36 pm

My guess would be RKO was happy to help wrap up Last of the Mohicans expeditiously— for a fee, no doubt— so that Small could turn to the pictures intended for their deal with him. At that point they'd certainly have been eager to keep him happy.
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brendangcarroll

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Re: The Last of the Mohicans (1936) - a music question

PostTue Feb 28, 2017 1:35 am

Thank you all!

I am wondering if the surviving RKO files would reveal anything.... and if one can access them? I suppose not.

Thanks Ray for confirming my suspicions about the actual KONG tracks being used.

It's all very interesting for a film music buff!
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)

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