Warner Bros. invited me, along with film historians Rudy Behlmer and Frank Thompson, to record a commentary track for this 1945 war-movie classic starring Errol Flynn. My job was to discuss Franz Waxman’s Oscar-nominated score, which is one of his very best (and that includes a career filled with such classics as Sunset Boulevard, A Place in the Sun and The Nun’s Story!). The DVD was originally released as part of a five-film package called Errol Flynn Adventures. Critic Leonard Maltin praised our work, calling it a “superlative commentary track… Rudy Behlmer, Frank Thompson and Jon Burlingame offer a master class in film appreciation, backed by careful research and a lifetime of knowledge.” Can’t ask for a better recommendation than that!
The L.A. Times asked for a piece linking Wagner’s 19th-century leitmotifs with today’s film music, notably that of Williams (in the Star Wars films) and Howard Shore (in the Lord of the Rings trilogy). It was an offbeat assignment that put me in touch with scholars who shared interesting perspectives.
I was delighted to participate in a panel talking about the career of film-composing great Franz Waxman. Conductor John Mauceri hosted, with producer Robert Townson and the composer’s son John Waxman also joining us. Here’s Susan King’s preview of the event.