Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No score

Gary Marmorstein tells an interesting tale in his book: Hollywood Rhapsody: Movie Music and its Makers - 1900 to 1975. In the late 1960s, Bernard Hermann had grown disillusioned with the studio scene and settled in England, where, he believed, his talent was more appreciated.

In 1973, when William Friedkin had finished a rough cut of The Exorcist, he summoned Bernard Hermann back from his home in England to view the film in Los Angeles. After Hermann had viewed it, Friedkin said to him “I want you to write me a better score than the one you wrote for Citizen Kane.”

Hermann (known to be particularly caustic, irascible, and outspoken) replied: “Then you should have made a better movie than Citizen Kane.” Friedkin, insulted, left the screening room. And Bernard Hermann went on to another project in Hollywood.


  1. What a fantastic story. Oh to have seen Friedkin's face! The Exorcist is such a pompous, silly little film.

  2. Matthew:

    From what I have read, if you ever needed someone to put pompous people in their place, Bernard Hermann was the man. And he was an Anglophile. As to The Exorcist, I have nothing to add to your cogent comment. Best. Gerald.