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April 4: Elmer Bernstein’s Film Scores

April 3, 2015

bernsteinComposer Elmer Bernstein, who created the music for The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Ten Commandments, The Man with the Golden Arm, To Kill a MockingbirdGhostbusters, Airplane!, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Blues Brothers, A River Runs Through It, and some 200 other movies and television shows, was born in New York on this date in 1922. Bernstein was subpoenaed in the early 1950s by the House Un-American Activities Committee because he had written music reviews for the Daily Worker, and after refusing to name the names of Communists or suspected Communists, he was “graylisted” and prevented from working on major films until Cecil B. DeMille hired him to write the score for The Ten Commandments in 1956. During this time, Bernstein composed scores for two low-budget science fiction films in which he established himself as an early explorer of electronic music. Bernstein, who died at 82 in 2004, was nominated for fourteen Academy Awards (he received one) and was awarded two Golden Globes. In 1996, he was honored with a star on Hollywood Boulevard. To see the maestro conducting his score to The Magnificent Seven, look below.

“I’ve always kept up to date with music changes. I worked very hard not to type myself.” —Elmer Bernstein