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Hollywood Holyland: The Filming and Scoring of The Greatest Story Ever Told
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...Darby has collected together a vast amount of first-hand information, and dispenses it with an engagingly light touch. (Film Review Annual)
...a unique and valuable book about the day-to-day scoring of a single film (Classic Images)
...Darby recounts his experience on location and back in Hollywood with a deal of verve and in much detail―made possible by a tape recorder, a knowledge of shorthand, and notes made in his daily journal. The result is a unique and valuable book about the day-to-day scoring of a single film... (The Cue Sheet)
...fascinating... (Movie Collector's World)
About the Author
The late Ken Darby, a three-time Oscar winner for musical adaptation (The King and I, Porgy and Bess, Camelot), was a singer, vocal director, popular composer, conductor, and aranger in Hollywood. Founder of the Ken Darby Singers, who were the Munchkin voices, he had over 100 film credits and was associated with Alfred Newman for 22 years.[E
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Examples of Steven's tin-ear interference include his insertion of a few bars of Verdi's Requiem into Newman's sensitive scoring for Christ's walk to Calvary; and the deletion of Newman's truly glorious "Hallelujah" piece for the raising of Lazarus and Jesus' ascension and resurrection scenes - for both of which Stevens insisted that Handel's Hallelujah Chorus be inserted. However, according to Darby, after influential film critics lambasted Stevens for his musical intrusiveness and lack of original vision in dumping the Handel into the score, the director slightly capitulated and permitted a snippet of Newman's "Hallelujah" be reinserted into the Lazarus scene, while still demanding total deletion of Newman's score in favor of the Handel for the film's resurrection/ascension ending.
Such stories are multiplied in the text, and to tell the truth, even with all the good will in the world, George Stevens comes off as a somewhat crude, tyrannical jerk. Of course, that doesn't take away from whatever actual value that the film incorporates. And now that Newman's full score - including the two versions of his grand "Hallelujah" music for the Lazarus/Resurrection-Ascension scenes - is available on CD and online, everyone can enjoy it in its originally conceived "symphonic" form. And then one can watch The Greatest Story Ever Told and re-imagine the Lazarus and the Resurrection-Ascension scenes as they might have been seen and heard, had Stevens not deleted most of Newman's original scoring for these scenes.