Epic Sound

Epic Sound

Music in Postwar Hollywood Biblical Films
Meyer, Stephen C.
Distribution: World
Publication date: 11/27/2014
Format: Paperback 11 b&w illus., 57 music exx.
ISBN: 978-0-253-01451-1
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Lavish musical soundtracks contributed a special grandeur to the new widescreen, stereophonic sound movie experience of postwar biblical epics such as Samson and Delilah, Ben-Hur, and Quo Vadis. In Epic Sound, Stephen C. Meyer shows how music was utilized for various effects, sometimes serving as a vehicle for narrative plot and at times complicating biblical and cinematic interpretation. In this way, the soundscapes of these films reflected the ideological and aesthetic tensions within the genre, and more generally, within postwar American society. By examining key biblical films, Meyer adeptly engages musicology with film studies to explore cinematic interpretations of the Bible during the 1940s through the 1960s.

Author Bio

Stephen C. Meyer is Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Music Histories at Syracuse University. He is author of Carl Maria von Weber and the Search for a German Opera (IUP, 2003).


An ambitious and fascinating book.

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Table of Contents

Note to Readers
1. A Biblical Story, for the Post-World-War II Generation?: Victor Young's Music for DeMille’s Samson and Delilah
2. Turning Away from "Concocted Spectacle": Alfred Newman's Score for David and Bathsheba
3. Spectacle and Authenticity in Miklós Rózsa's Quo Vadis Score
4. Novel and Film, Music and Miracle: Alfred Newman's Score to The Robe
5. Spirit and Empire: Elmer Bernstein's Score to The Ten Commandments
6. The Law of Genre and the Music for Ben-Hur
7. King of Kings and the Problem of Repetition
8. Suoni nuovi, suoni antichi: The Soundscapes of Barabbas
9. Universality, Transcendence, and Collapse: Music and The Greatest Story Ever Told

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