On this day in Film History: R.I.P. Franz Waxman

On February 24th, 1967, the world lost a remarkable film composer when Franz Waxman (1906-1967) passed away. Waxman worked in Hollywood during the Golden Age of Movies and was a contemporary of Max Steiner, Erich Korngold and Alfred Newman (among others).


Credit to franzwaxman.com

Waxman studied composition and conducting at the Dresden Music Academy and initially worked for the German film industry, orchestrating Friedrich Hollander’s score for The Blue Angel (1930) and creating his first film score for Liliom in 1934. However, being from a Jewish family, Waxman found himself subjected to a severe beating from Nazi supporters and left Germany that same year for Paris and then Hollywood.


Once in Hollywood, Waxman made the acquaintance of director James Whale, which led to the composer working on the now-acclaimed The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). While the film was well-received, Waxman still left Universal Studio for MGM and it was while there that he composed the score for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 film Rebecca, the score that ultimately made his name in Hollywood.


Other films that Waxman scored include (but are not limited to): Objective, Burma! (1945), Sunset Boulevard (1950), A Place in the Sun (1951), Taras Bulba (1962) and Rear Window (1954).

Though nominated multiple times for an Academy Award, Waxman only won twice: For Sunset Boulevard and A Place in the Sun. The great composer’s career ended with his death from cancer in 1967, having scored over 150 films. Franz Waxman was truly one of the greats in the world of film music.

*all film posters are the property of their respective film studios

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