Friedhofer, Hugo

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Composer and Arranger. Nationality: American. Born: Hugo Wilhelm (or William) Friedhofer in San Francisco, California, 3 May 1902. Education: Studied with Domenica Brescia, Respighi, Nadia Boulanger, Schoenberg, and others into the 1940s. Career: Cellist with the People's Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, in 1920s; arranger for stage bands; 1929—orchestrator for first film, Sunny Side Up, and worked as arranger for Fox until 1935; 1935–38—orchestrator for Warner Bros., working mainly with Korngold and Steiner; 1938—first original score, for The Adventures of Marco Polo. Awards: Academy Award for The Best Years of Our Lives, 1946; Venice Festival award for Ace in the Hole, 1951. Died: In Hollywood, California, 17 May 1981.

Films as Orchestrator or Musical Director:


Sunny Side Up (Butler); Happy Days (Stoloff); Seven Faces (Viertel)


The Golden Calf (Webb); Scotland Yard (Howard); The Big Trail (Walsh); A Devil with Women (Cummings); The Dancers (Sprague); Just Imagine (Butler); The Princess and the Plumber (Korda); Men on Call (Blystone); The Man Who Came Back (Walsh)


Always Goodbye (Menzies and MacKenna); Skyline (Taylor); Daddy Long Legs (Santell); Transatlantic (Howard); The Spider (Menzies and MacKenna); Heartbreak (Werker); The Yellow Ticket (Walsh)


Devil's Lottery (Taylor); Careless Lady (MacKenna); Amateur Daddy (Blystone); The Woman in Room 13 (H. King); The Trial of Vivienne Ware (Howard); Almost Married (Menzies); Mystery Ranch (Howard); Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (Santell); A Passport to Hell (Lloyd); The First Year (Howard); The Painted Woman (Blystone); Sherlock Holmes (Howard); Second Hand Wife (MacFadden)


The Face in the Sky (Lachman); Dangerously Yours (Tuttle); Broadway Bad (Lanfiedl); Bondage (Santell); Zoo in Budapest (Lee); It's Great to Be Alive (Werker); My Lips Betray (Blystone); The Good Companions (Saville); As Husbands Go (MacFadden)


Orient Express (Martin); Coming Out Party (Blystone); George White's Scandals (Freeland); Now I'll Tell (Burke); Change of Heart (Blystone); The World Moves On (Ford); Servant's Entrance (Lloyd)


The Little Colonel (Butler); Orchids to You (Seiter); George White's 1935 Scandals (White); Curly Top (Cummings); Dante's Inferno (Lachman); Here's to Romance (Green); Way Down East (H. King); Last of the Pagans (Thorpe); Captain Blood (Curtiz)


Rose of the Rancho (Gering); The Green Pastures (Connelly and Keighley); The Prisoner of Shark Island (Ford); The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (Hathaway); Sins of Man (Brower and Ratoff); White Fang (Butler) (co); The Great O'Malley (Dieterle); The Charge of the Light Brigade (Curtiz); God's Country and the Woman (Keighley)


Green Light (Borzage); Kid Galahad (Curtiz); The Prince and the Pauper (Keighley) (co); The Life of Emile Zola (Dieterle); Another Dawn (Dieterle) (co); Swing Your Lady (Enright)


The Adventures of Robin Hood (Curtiz and Keighley) (co); Gold Is Where You Find It (Curtiz); Jezebel (Wyler); Crime School (Seiler) (co); Four Daughters (Curtiz); Racket Busters (Bacon); Valley of the Giants (Keighley); The Sisters (Litvak); Angels with Dirty Faces (Curtiz); The Dawn Patrol (Goulding)


Made for Each Other (Cromwell); The Oklahoma Kid (Bacon) (co); Dodge City (Curtiz); Dark Victory (Goulding); The Old Maid (Goulding); Juarez (Dieterle); You Can't Get Away with Murder (Seiler) (co); The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (Curtiz) (co); Gone with the Wind (Fleming) (co)


Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (Dieterle); All This, and Heaven Too (Litvak); Virginia City (Curtiz); The Fighting 69th (Keighley); City for Conquest (Litvak); The Sea Hawk (Curtiz) (co); The Mark of Zorro (Mamoulian); The Letter (Wyler); Santa Fe Trail (Curtiz)


The Sea Wolf (Curtiz); The Bride Came C.O.D. (Keighley); Dive Bomber (Curtiz); Sergeant York (Curtiz); One Foot in Heaven (Rapper); The Gay Parisian (short)


In This Our Life (Huston); Prelude to War (Capra—doc); Desperate Journey (Walsh); Now, Voyager (Rapper); Kings Row (Wood)


Casablanca (Curtiz); The Constant Nymph (Goulding); Wintertime (Brahm); Watch on the Rhine (Shumlin); The Gang's All Here (Berkeley)


The Woman in the Window (F. Lang); Four Jills in a Jeep (Seiter) (co); Arsenic and Old Lace (Capra); Between Two Worlds (Blett)


Along Came Jones (Heisler); Mildred Pierce (Curtiz); Devotion (Bernhardt—produced 1943)


Cloak and Dagger (F. Lang); A Stolen Life (Bernhardt); Of Human Bondage (Goulding)


A Song Is Born (Hawks); The Man I Love (Walsh); The Beast with Five Fingers (Florey); Cheyenne (Walsh); Escape Me Never (Godfrey)


Deep in My Heart (Donen)


The Greatest Story Ever Told (Stevens)

Films as Composer:


The Adventures of Marco Polo (Mayo); Topper Takes a Trip (McLeod)


China Girl (Hathaway); Chetniks! (L. King); They Came to Blow Up America (School for Sabotage) (Ludwig); Paris after Dark (Moguy)


The Lodger (Brahm); Lifeboat (Hitchcock); Roger Tuohy, Gangster (Florey); Home in Indiana (Hathaway); Wing and a Prayer (Hathaway)


The Corn Is Green (Rapper); Brewster's Millions (Dwan); Getting Gertie's Garter (Dwan)


The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (G. Sherman and Levin); Gilda (Vidor) (co); So Dark the Night (Lewis); The Best Years of Our Lives (Wyler)


Body and Soul (Rossen); Wild Harvest (Garnett); The Bishop's Wife (Koster); The Swordsman (Lewis)


Adventures of Casanova (Gavaldon); Black Bart (G. Sherman) (co); Sealed Verdict (Allen); Joan of Arc (Fleming); Enchantment (Reis)


Bride of Vengeance (Leisen); Roseanna McCoy (Reis) (co)


Guilty of Treason (Feist); Three Came Home (Negulesco); Captain Carey, U.S.A. (After Midnight) (Leisen); No Man of Her Own (Leisen); Broken Arrow (Daves); Edge of Doom (Robson); Two Flats West (Wise); The Sound of Fury (Try and Get Me) (Endfield)


Queen for a Day (Lubin); Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival) (Wilder)


The San Francisco Story (Parrish) (co); Rancho Notorious (F. Lang); The Marrying Kind (Cukor); The Outcasts of Poker Flat (Newman); Lydia Bailey (Negulesco); Just for You (Nugent); Above and Beyond (Frank and Panama); "The Secret Sharer" and "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" eps. of Face to Face (Brahm and Windust)


Plunder of the Sun (Farrow) (co); Thunder in the East (C. Vidor); Island in the Sky (Wellman); Hondo (Farrow) (co)


Vera Cruz (Aldrich)


White Feather (Webb); Violent Saturday (Fleischer); Soldier of Fortune (Dmytryk); Seven Cities of Gold (Webb); The Rains of Ranchipur (Negulesco)


The Harder They Fall (Robson); Between Heaven and Hell (Fleischer); The Revolt of Mamie Stover (Walsh)


Oh, Men! Oh, Women! (Mockridge); Boy on a Dolphin (Negulesco); An Affair to Remember (McCarey); The Sun Also Rises (H. King)


The Young Lions (Dmytryk); The Bravados (H. King) (co); The Barbarian and the Geisha (Huston); In Love and War (Dunne)


Woman Obsessed (Hathaway); This Earth Is Mine (H. King); The Blue Angel (Dmytryk); Never So Few (J. Sturges)


One Eyed Jacks (Brando)


Homicidal (Castle)


Geronimo (Laven); Beauty and the Beast (Cahn)


The Secret Invasion (Corman)


The Over-the-Hill Gang (Harbrough)


Von Richtofen and Brown (The Red Baron) (Corman)


Private Parts (Bartel)


A Walk in the Forest (Hood—short)


The Companion (Hood)


By FRIEDHOFER: articles—

Interview with Elmer Bernstein, in Film Music Notebook (Calabasas, California), Fall 1974.

American Film (Washington, D.C.), June 1977.

In Film Score, edited by Tony Thomas, South Brunswick, New Jersey, 1979.


Danly, Linda, editor, Hugo Friedhofer: The Best Years of His Life: A Hollywood Master of Music for the Movies, Lanham, 1999.

On FRIEDHOFER: articles—

Sternfield, Frederick W., in Musical Quarterly (London), October 1947.

Morton, Lawrence, in Quarterly of Film, Radio, and Television (Berkeley, California), Winter 1951.

Thomas, Anthony, in Films in Review (New York), October 1965.

Films in Review (New York), March 1966.

Thomas, Tony, in Music for the Movies, South Brunswick, New Jersey, 1973.

Films in Review (New York), December 1975.

Films in Review (New York), May 1979.

Films in Review (New York), August-September 1981.

Bertolina, Gian Carlo, in Rivista del Cinematografo (Rome), June-August 1982.

Lacombe, Alain, in Hollywood, Paris, 1983.

Sherk, W.M., "The Art of Film Music: Special Emphasis on Hugo Friedhofer, Alex North, David Raskin, Leonard Rosenman," in Cue Sheet (Hollywood), no. 1, 1995.

Danly, L., "Hugo Friedhofer's Westerns," in Cue Sheet (Hollywood), no. 2, 1995.

Scheer, R., "Soundtrack," in Filmbulletin (Winterthur), no. 6, 1995.

Kalinak, Kathryn, "The Art of Film Music: Special Emphasis on Hugo Friedhofer, Alex North, David Raskin and Leonard Rosenman," in Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, March 1996.

* * *

There was always a disparity between Hugo Friedhofer's high regard among other film composers and his lack of public identity. With no interest in publicity or promotion, he was considered by his colleagues as the master of film composition and a man to whom they turned for advice. Friedhofer arrived in Hollywood in 1929 and became a witness, and participator, in the entire development of film scoring. He wrote more than 70 scores, but he was also a collaborator, adapter, arranger, orchestrator and utility composer on many others. Segments of scores, even main titles, of films attributed to other composers were actually written by Friedhofer. As an orchestrator he had few peers; in fact, he was so highly regarded in that capacity that it became necessary for him to end that aspect of his career in order to proceed as a composer. Fifteen of Erich Korngold's scores were orchestrated by Friedhofer, as were more than 50 by Max Steiner.

Friedhofer was the son of a cellist, who encouraged Hugo to take up the instrument. He was employed as a cellist with small groups and hired for a two-year period with the People's Orchestra of San Francisco. In 1925 he joined the orchestra of the Granada, a leading movie theatre, and gradually became more interested in making arrangements for film accompaniment than performing. The coming of sound caused him to lose this livelihood, but a violinist friend, George Lipschultz, had been contracted as a music director at the Fox Studios in Los Angeles and he offered Friedhofer a job as an arranger.

His first assignment was Sunny Side Up, followed by a continual stream of such movies. He also worked for Alfred Newman, who gave Friedhofer his first chance to write an original score, The Adventures of Marco Polo. It was not, however, until 1943 that he was able to break away from his constant chores as an orchestrator, when Newman hired him as a composer at 20th Century-Fox. Two years later he began freelancing, and in 1946 he won an Oscar for what is considered a landmark in American film music, The Best Years of Our Lives. His other nominated scores included The Woman in the Window, The Bishop's Wife, Joan of Arc, Above and Beyond, Boy on a Dolphin, and The Young Lions. Others of his scores held in high regard are Broken Arrow, Vera Cruz, The Sun Also Rises, and One Eyed Jacks.

Of his craft, Friedhofer said, "It is not important for the audience to be aware of the technique by which music affects them, but affect them it must. Film music is absorbed, you might say, through the pores. But the listener should be aware, even subliminally, of continuity, of a certain binder that winds through the film experience. A score must relate, it must integrate."

—Tony Thomas