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Music in

1900 - 2000


Music in Films

Herbert Stothart


Stothart's film music

Herbert P. Stothart (September 11, 1885 – February 1, 1949) was an American songwriter, arranger, conductor, and composer. He was also nominated for twelve Academy Awards, winning Best Original Score for The Wizard of Oz. Stothart was widely acknowledged as a member of the top tier of Hollywood composers during the 1930s and 1940s.

In 1914, Stothart was hired by legendary lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II as musical director for the Rudolf Friml operetta "High Jinks". After three years on the road with various shows, Stothart scored his first Broadway musical, the farce "Furs and Frills", in October 1917. After 1922, Stothart's own original compositions began to be featured, and, within two years, he was able to celebrate his first major hit with the musical "Rose-Marie".  Stothart followed this success with the opera/ballet "Song of the Flame", co-written with George Gershwin.


Within just a few years, Stothart established himself as MGM's foremost film composer, working exclusively on the studio's prestige output.  Stothart's preferred musical style was subtle and melodic, sometimes mournful, often prominently featuring violins.  He composed a number of songs, one of the best-known being the 'Donkey Serenade', sung by Allan Jones in The Firefly (1937). 

Herbert Stothart spent his entire Hollywood career at MGM.
Herbert Stothart died of cancer in Los Angeles, California at the age of 63. 

1935 Anna Karenina 
1936 San Francisco

1938 Marie Antoinette
1939 Idiot's Delight

1939 The Wizard of Oz
1940 Waterloo Bridge

1942 Mrs. Miniver
1942 Random Harvest
1943 Madame Curie

1944 National Velvet
1945 The Picture of Dorian Gray
1948 Hills of Home



Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina is a 1935 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film adaptation of the novel Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and directed by Clarence Brown. The film stars Greta Garbo, Fredric March, Basil Rathbone and Maureen O'Sullivan. There are several other film adaptations of the novel.

In New York, the film opened at the Capitol Theatre, the site of many prestigious MGM premieres. The film earned $2,304,000 at the box office, and won the Mussolini Cup for best foreign film at the Venice Film Festival. Greta Garbo received a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress for her role as Anna. In addition, the film was ranked #42 on the American Film Institute's list of AFI's 100 Years

ANNA KARENINA - GRETA GARBO -Hebert Stothart-Tchaikovsky

Anna Karenina,(1935) Trailer


San Francisco

San Francisco is a 1936 musical-drama directed by Woody Van Dyke, based on the April 18, 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The film, which was the top-grossing movie of that year, stars Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald, and Spencer Tracy. The then very popular singing of MacDonald helped make this film a hit, coming on the heels of her other 1936 blockbuster, Rose Marie. Famous silent film directors D. W. Griffith and Erich von Stroheim worked on the film without credit. Griffith directed some of the mob scenes while von Stroheim contributed to the screenplay.


San Francisco - Trailer

Jeanette Mac Donald sings from MGM's San Francisco (1936)

San Francisco


Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette is a 1938 American historical drama film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.] It was directed by W. S. Van Dyke and starred Norma Shearer as Marie Antoinette. Based upon the 1932 biography of the ill-fated Queen of France by the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, it had its Los Angeles premiere at the legendary Carthay Circle Theatre, where the landscaping was specially decorated for the event.

Marie Antoinette (1938) Official Trailer - Norma Shearer, Tyrone Power

Marie Antoinette 1938 trailer

Marie Antoinette - 1938 - Norma Shearer

Marie Antoinette (1938) - Masquerade Ball Scene

Marie Antoinette 1938 Revolucion Francesa 1789

Marie Antoinette - Execution - 1938


Idiot's Delight 

Idiot's Delight is a 1939 MGM comedy-drama with a screenplay adapted by Robert E. Sherwood from his 1936 Pulitzer-Prize-winning play of the same name. The movie showcases Clark Gable, in the same year that he played Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind, and Norma Shearer in the declining phase of her career. Although not a musical, it is notable as the only film where Gable sings and dances, performing "Puttin' on the Ritz" by Irving Berlin.

Idiot's Delight (1939) [trailer]

"How Strange"
From the MGM movie "Idiot's Delight"

Music based on "Kak Stranno" by B.A. Prozorovsky
(Adapted by Herbert Stothart and Earl Brent)
Lyrics by Gus Kahn
Performed by Ted Fio Rito and His Orchestra
Vocal Chorous by Twin Fours
Recorded March 9, 1939


The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Widely considered to be one of the greatest films in cinema history, it is the best-known and most commercially successful adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It was directed primarily by Victor Fleming (who left production to take over direction on the troubled Gone with the Wind production). It stars Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale, alongside Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Billie Burke and Margaret Hamilton, with Charley Grapewin, Pat Walshe and Clara Blandick, Terry (billed as Toto), and Singer's Midgets as the Munchkins.
Legendary for its use of Technicolor, fantasy storytelling, musical score and memorable characters, the film has become an icon of American popular culture. It was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but lost to Gone with the Wind. It did win in two other categories: Best Original Song for "Over the Rainbow" and Best Original Score by Herbert Stothart. While the film was considered a critical success upon release in August 1939, it failed to make a profit for MGM until the 1949 re-release, earning only $3,017,000 on a $2,777,000 budget, not including promotional costs, which made it MGM's most expensive production at that time.

The Wizard of Oz Medley - score by Herbert Stothart

Somewhere Over the Rainbow - The Wizard of Oz (1/8) 

We're Not in Kansas Anymore - The Wizard of Oz (2/8) 

The Ruby Slippers - The Wizard of Oz (3/8)

If I Only Had a Brain - The Wizard of Oz (4/8)

Finding The Tin Man - The Wizard of Oz (5/8) 

The Cowardly Lion - The Wizard of Oz (6/8) 

I'm Melting! - The Wizard of Oz (7/8)

There's No Place Like Home - The Wizard of Oz (8/8)


Waterloo Bridge

Waterloo Bridge is a 1940 remake of the 1931 American drama film also called Waterloo Bridge, adapted from the 1930 play Waterloo Bridge. In an extended flashback narration, it recounts the story of a dancer and an army captain who meet by chance on Waterloo Bridge. The film was made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by Mervyn LeRoy and produced by Sidney Franklin and Mervyn LeRoy. The screenplay is by S. N. Behrman, Hans Rameau and George Froeschel, based on the Broadway drama by Robert E. Sherwood. The music is by Herbert Stothart and cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg.

Gaby is a 1956 drama film with Leslie Caron and John Kerr. It is the third version of the play Waterloo Bridge, previously made into films in 1931 and 1940. It is the only version of the play made in color.

Waterloo Bridge stars Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh, her first film after the success of Gone with the Wind. The film was a success at the box office and nominated for two Academy Awards—Best Music for Herbert Stothart and Best Cinematography. It was also considered a personal favorite by both Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor.

Waterloo Bridge 1940 (English Language)

Herbert Stothart scores - WATERLOO BRIDGE (1940)


Mrs. Miniver

Mrs. Miniver is a 1942 American romantic war drama film directed by William Wyler, and starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon. Inspired by the 1940 novel Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther, the film shows how the life of an unassuming British housewife in rural England is touched by World War II.

Produced and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film features a strong supporting cast that includes Teresa Wright, Dame May Whitty, Reginald Owen, Henry Travers, Richard Ney, and Henry Wilcoxon.

Mrs. Miniver won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler), Best Actress (Greer Garson), and Best Supporting Actress (Teresa Wright). In 1950, a film sequel The Miniver Story was made with Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon reprising their roles.

In 2006, the film was ranked number 40 on the American Film Institute's list celebrating the most inspirational films of all time. In 2009, the film was named to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically" significant, and will be preserved for all time.

Herbert Stothart scores - MRS. MINIVER (1942)

Mrs Miniver (1942)


Random Harvest

Random Harvest is a 1942 film based on the 1941 James Hilton novel of the same name, directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Claudine West, George Froeschel, and Arthur Wimperis adapted the novel for the screen, and received an Academy Award nomination. The film departed from the novel in several significant ways, as it proved nearly impossible to translate to film otherwise. It starred Ronald Colman as a shellshocked, amnesiac World War I soldier, and Greer Garson as his love interest.

It was an instant commercial success. Its seven Academy Award nominations included nods for Colman, supporting actress Susan Peters, director Mervyn LeRoy, and Best Picture. Garson, whose performance was well-received, was ineligible for the Academy Award for Best Actress, as she had already been nominated that year for her role in Mrs. Miniver.

Random Harvest (1942) Official Trailer 

Random Harvest - Soundtrack Suite -Herbert Stothart


Madame Curie

Madame Curie is a 1943 biographical film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film was directed by Mervyn LeRoy and produced by Sidney Franklin from a screenplay by Paul Osborn, Paul H. Rameau, and Aldous Huxley (uncredited), adapted from the biography by Ève Curie. It stars Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, with supporting performances by Robert Walker, Henry Travers, and Albert Bassermann.

The film tells the story of Polish-French physicist Marie Curie in 1890s Paris as she begins to share a laboratory with her future husband, Pierre Curie.

Herbert Stothart scores - MADAME CURIE (1943)

Madame Curie (1943) Official Trailer - Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon


National Velvet

National Velvet is a 1944 American Technicolor sports film directed by Clarence Brown and based on the novel of the same name by Enid Bagnold, published in 1935. It stars Mickey Rooney, Donald Crisp, and a young Elizabeth Taylor. In 2003, National Velvet was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

National Velvet (1944) Trailer

National Velvet - Main Theme - Herbert Stothart


The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a 1945 American horror-drama film based on Oscar Wilde's 1890 novel of the same name. Released in March 1945 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film is directed by Albert Lewin and stars George Sanders as Lord Henry Wotton and Hurd Hatfield as Dorian Gray. Shot primarily in black-and-white, the film features four colour inserts in 3-strip Technicolor of Dorian's portrait; these are a special effect, the first two inserts are the original portrait and the second two after a major period of degeneration then recovery.

Herbert Stothart scores - THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (1945)

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) trailer


Hills of Home

Hills of Home (also known as Danger in the Hills and Master of Lassie ) is a 1948 Technicolor drama film, the fourth in a series of seven MGM Lassie films. It starred Edmund Gwenn, Donald Crisp, and Tom Drake.

Hills of Home - Herbert Stothart

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