Monday, July 26, 2010

Epic Movie Music About Texas

Those of us of a certain age who grew up in Texas heard this epic movie music in our ears all the time:

Dimitri Tiomkin was a Ukrainian Jew who studied music at the Saint Petersburg Academy with Alexander Glazunov. I doubt he ever heard of the Alamo, but he wrote the score to the big 1960 John Wayne movie that taught all us kids our Texas history. Am I right to hear a little of old Russia in this opening score?

Tiomkin's music for these movies was everywhere in Texas on TV, in ads, even in school documentaries about state history. Kids loved it. It made them feel like their own James Dean or John Wayne in their own epic movie in technicolor.

So here's a tip of the Stetson to Maestro Tiomkin, and thanks for making Texas seem so grand.

My favorite old movie about Texas remains Hud, based on a novel by Larry McMurtry, my favorite writer about Texas and the West:


My friend Conrad out of New Mexico (he grew up in the Texas Panhandle) reminded me about another great movie about Texas, The Last Picture Show:

Both of these movies are a lot less epic and a lot truer to the experience of living there.


June Butler said...

You're right on the mark about hearing old Russia in the score during the credits for Giant.
I wonder how many times I've seen the movie. Beyond counting, for sure.

I love Hud, too, but it doesn't show up as often on TV.

Counterlight said...

Hud must be outta fashion these days. It used to be on TV a lot years ago.

I used to know someone from Claude, TX where the movie was filmed. He too grew up on a ranch, but he didn't look anything like Paul Newman.

Lapinbizarre said...

Brandon de Wilde pretty-well vanished after Hud, didn't he?

Counterlight said...

He died, in a car crash. He's buried out on Long Island in Pine Lawn cemetery. He had a very short career.

Counterlight said...

Brandon de Wilde died in 1972 in a car crash in Denver.

Lapinbizarre said...

Googling de Wilde I encountered, on the first page, the thumbnail of a studio portrait of the young, surely still underage, de Wilde,
gun at the ready. There can be a strange innocence to what was judged appropriate in the 50's and early 60's.

Counterlight said...

Kids packing heat was considered normal in certain regions of the country back in those days.
Sissy me used to get taken out skeet shooting back at a tender age. I don't remember being very good at it. At least I was spared hunting. The dove hunt and the deer hunt were rites of passage in a lot of Texas. That was usually something people did if their fathers did it. Mine didn't.

Lapinbizarre said...

Have you followed that link? There's "packing heat" and then there's "packing heat".

Counterlight said...

Ah yes.