RHAPSODY IN BLUE (1945) - a question

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brendangcarroll
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RHAPSODY IN BLUE (1945) - a question

Unread post by brendangcarroll » Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:59 pm

Who was responsible for the fabulous pre-credits Overture for the "roadshow" version of this film, now available on DVD?

My bet is on Max Steiner, but it could be Ray Heindorf.

Does any learned member here know?
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)

moviepas
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Re: RHAPSODY IN BLUE (1945) - a question

Unread post by moviepas » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:01 am

Neither are credited on the film along with William Lava. My guess would be Heindorf as that is what he did there on so many films. Steiner did more composi9ng themes etc. See what anyone comes up with. I do like this film. Too bad they did not make it in color.

siriami
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Re: RHAPSODY IN BLUE (1945) - a question

Unread post by siriami » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:05 am

According to the liner notes to Rhino's 2-CD issue of "George and Ira Gershwin in Hollywood", the Overture to "Rhapsody in Blue" (1945) was arranged and orchestrated by Ray Heindorf and conducted by Leo Forbstein. Recorded circa June 1944 - it runs for 10:13.

brendangcarroll
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Re: RHAPSODY IN BLUE (1945) - a question

Unread post by brendangcarroll » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:51 am

Thanks everyone for the information.

Ray Heindorf was a musical genius, sadly under appreciated today.

While I have the greatest respect for Rhino, I cannot believe that Leo Forbstein conducted this overture. Leo was not a great conductor or even a good one, and was really a brilliant administrator who ran the music dept at Warner like a well-olied machine.

His contract stipulated that he receive conductor credit on all Warner films even though Steiner, Korngold and others all conducted their own works.

When I once asked Harry Warren if Leo ever conducted any of the films, especially the Busby Berkeley musicals for which Harry had written so many wonderful songs, he replied "Leo couldn't conduct his way out of a paper bag!"

So I am sure it's Ray himself on the podium for this fabulous Overture, unless somebody here has documentary proof otherwise.
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)

Stephen Butler
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Re: RHAPSODY IN BLUE (1945) - a question

Unread post by Stephen Butler » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:11 am

Hello Brendan:

This cannot be, since Forbstein was only credited as Conductor of the Vitaphone Orchestra up until 1935, after which he was almost always credited as Musical Director. There were a couple of exceptions to this - I know that he was credited as the conductor on Anthony Adverse, for some reason. Indeed, that particular picture may well have been his final conductor credit. So, by the time Korngold arrived in 1934/35, and Steiner in 1936, it must have become obvious that film scores were becoming much more complex in both nature and content, whereupon Forbstein could not realistically have handled such subtlety in his somewhat limited conducting technique. And the thought of him conducting Gershwin, well...x

Cheers, Stephen

EDIT: I have been through the notes that I took when I examined the Rhapsody in Blue production box at USC in 2008, but there is nothing there relating to the overture. There are, however, a brief series of communications involving Paul Whiteman, who was brought in to record the soundtrack for the 'Rhapsody in Blue' work, and a billing sheet from 1943 (the film was held back for release for over a year; very much common practice, it seems, for Warner Bros. during WWII) which gives Forbstein his then-usual credit as Musical Director. Indeed, surviving documentation indicates that Forbstein was engaged in the day-to-day organisation that one would expect from a Head of Department. It wasn't until July 1945 - after the picture had previewed - that Steiner was added as Music Adaptor. I hope some of this might be useful. It doesn't answer your question, but I think it more or less rules out Forbstein's having any role in conducting any part of the music.

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Ray Faiola
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Re: RHAPSODY IN BLUE (1945) - a question

Unread post by Ray Faiola » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:42 am

I'm pretty sure that the Overture was arranged by Ray Heindorf, orchestrated by Heindorf and Frank Perkins, and that Heindorf conducted it. Forbstein was pretty much limited to administrative work by 1943-44 (when the picture was made).

Maxie adapted the score, meaning he composed all of the thematic underscore cues using both original and interpolated (Gershwin, Wagner, Brahms, etc) melodies. My favorite Steiner cue is the scene with Professor Franck when he tells George about the various composers and how they suffered without lunches. Steiner plays a snatch from each composer and when George starts to give his vision, Max goes to an ethereal arrangement of "Swanee". Magic.
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