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Music by Max Steiner, An Illustrated Webinar with Steven C. Smith

Max Steiner in a suit smoking a cigar.
August 19, 2021 - 4:00 pm

Watch on Vimeo

Archive events are in Pacific Time (U.S.).

Silents were never silent, as the saying goes. Even from their earliest days, movies were accompanied by music, whether provided by a humble pianist or a grand orchestra. The arrival of sound, however, didn’t bring along with synchronized dialogue the recorded film score as we know it today, that is, music specifically arranged to subtly but powerfully deepen our connection with the characters, actions and emotions on screen. The modern film score had to be invented and no person was more instrumental in establishing its essential role and language, indeed, for inventing the profession of film composer altogether, than Austrian-born émigré Max Steiner. The son of a famed theater impresario in Vienna, Steiner got his start in America on Broadway before moving to Hollywood in 1929 where he quickly saw how the new medium could benefit from established theatrical scoring techniques. More than an innovator, Steiner proved an astonishingly prolific master who created some of Hollywood’s most memorable scores for some of its most iconic films, including King Kong (1933), Of Human Bondage (1934), A Star is Born (1937), Casablanca (1942), Mildred Pierce (1945), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) and The Searchers (1956). Steiner’s remarkable life and career are vividly recounted in the new biography, Music by Max Steiner: The Epic Life of Hollywood’s Most Influential Composer (Oxford University Press), by historian and four-time Emmy-nominated producer and journalist Steven C. Smith.

The Archive is thrilled to host this special live webinar presented by Steven C. Smith who will share selections from his extensive primary and archival research—including film clips, music cues and rare interviews with Steiner—to illuminate Steiner’s passions, his process and his lasting impact on the art and industry of film composing.

Total program runtime: 90 min.

Enjoy film score highlights from Max Steiner's career with this bonus Spotify playlist, curated by Steven C. Smith: