- opening song to 3:10 to Yuma (sung by Frankie Laine).
- bewitching love theme to Bell, Book and Candle.
- score for From Here to Eternity (with Morris Stoloff).
- rousing theme to TV's The Big Valley.
However, my personal favorite has to be the "Love Theme from Picnic." In my favorite scene in the movie, drifter Hal Carter (William Holden) tries to teach young Mille (Susan Strasberg) how to "set the rhythm" to a dance. Millie doesn't pick it up immediately, but her older sister Madge (Kim Novak)--who has been been observing the impromptu dance lesson--captures the beat effortlessly. She joins Hal in a dance that builds to a subtle display of romantic fireworks, where a lingering look is enough to set emotions soaring.
As you watch the clip below, listen carefully to the music. George Duning starts the scene with a quartet playing "Moonglow," a 1933 song covered by Benny Goodman and others. Then, at the two-minute mark, he overlays a full string orchestra playing the "Love Theme from Picnic." It's a magical moment that perfectly complements the loving gaze shared by Hal and Maggie as they move closer to each other--realizing their intimate embrace could be the beginning of so much more. It's a captivating convergence of music and moving image.
|From Here to Eternity.|
Prior to becoming a film composer, George Duning played piano and trumpet for Kay Kyser's band and appeared on Kyser's popular "Kollege of Musical Knowledge" radio program.
In the latter part of his career, Duning served in various capacities for the American Society for Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and on the Board of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. You can learn much more about composer George Duning at http://www.georgeduning.com/index.html.
For the next few months, the Cafe interrupts its Underrated Performer of the Month feature to pay tribute to some of classic cinema's best composers.