Miklós Rózsa

The Spectacular Film Music of Miklos Rozsa, Vol. 3: Young Bess

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One of Miklós Rózsa's most successful historical scores, Young Bess dates from the time in which MGM -- the studio to which he was signed from the late '40s until the early '60s -- was grinding out costume dramas and adventure films in Technicolor seemingly on a monthly basis. In this instance, the movie was a fanciful telling of the early life of the woman who would become Queen Elizabeth I, made to coincide with the coronation of Elizabeth II. Rózsa's music is at its best in its most lighthearted moments, depicting the romantic and playful sides of Elizabeth's life -- those are special, unique moments in Rózsa's output, utilizing the orchestra in sprightly, surprising flourishes; his more dramatic, bombastic underscoring recalls his 1940s work on such movies as Five Graves to Cairo and Sahara, while the music depicting the grandeur of the House of Tudor does overlap to some extent with his contemporary work on Ivanhoe, although the most obvious comparison overall lies with his scoring for thematically similar movie Diane. No one in Hollywood at that time was writing more exquisitely detailed fanfares or underscoring for the more serious psychological revelations of a costume movie's characters.

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