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The Hungarian-American Film Composer Writes That He Does Not Remember a Single Note of a Famous Film Score

$645 net
Item: 22812
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RÓZSA, MIKLÓS. (1907-1995). Hungarian-American composer known for scoring the films The Four Feathers and The Thief of Bagdad. ALS. (“Miklos Rozsa”). 2pp. Large 8vo. Hollywood, November 14, 1963. On his Hollywood stationery. To David B. Williams.

How kind of you to write me about my score to Alex Korda’s Four Feathers! The score unfortunately remained in England and apparently it was destroyed during the war and that is the reason why they couldn’t use it in Storm Over the Nile, which I have never seen. I don’t even have a sketch of it in my possession, (nor do I remember a single note of it) so, you see, a commercial recording is not any more feasible. This is a pity of course, but it can’t be helped I have to consider it as a victim of enemy action.

I do appreciate your kind words about it and do hope that we shall meet one of these days…”

Four Feathers Movie Poster

Rozsa studied in his native Budapest at the Franz Liszt Academy before moving to Germany where he studied at the Leipzig Conservatory under Hermann Grabner and at the Thomaskirche with Karl Straube. In 1931, he relocated to Paris where he composed his Hungarian Serenade, which won Richard Strauss’s approbation when it was premiered. It was after moving to London in the mid-1930s that Rozsa augmented his income as a symphonic composer by writing film scores, a career path to which he was introduced by Arthur Honegger.

His first film score was for the 1937 Knight Without Armour by Hungarian screenwriter, director and producer Alexander Korda (1893-1956). Korda began his film career in the era of silent films in Austria and Germany. After working in Hollywood from 1926 to 1930, he relocated to Britain, founding London Films for whom he produced The Thief of Bagdad in 1940, with music by Rozsa. It was while on the staff at London Films that Rozsa composed the score to the 1939 technicolor epic The Four Feathers, which Korda directed. In 1955, Korda produced a remake retitled Storm Over the Nile, using footage from the 1939 film as well as several of Rozsa’s compositions. Rozsa’s nearly 100 film scores include Adam’s Rib, The Asphalt Jungle, Spellbound, Double Indemnity, and Ben-Hur, his masterpiece and one of the longest film scores of all time. He continued to compose through the 1970s, accruing a total of 17 Academy Award nominations.

Written on recto and verso. Folded with a small tear in the upper margin which affects no text. Normal wear and in very good condition. With the original hand-addressed envelope.

The Hungarian-American Film Composer Writes That He Does Not Remember a Single Note of a Famous Film Score

$645 net • item #22812

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