Bernard Herrmann — the composer of such classics as Citizen Kane, Vertigo, Psycho and North by Northwest — is today more revered and influential than even during his lifetime. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and The Film Music Foundation deemed his legacy important enough to launch an oral-history project focusing on this key American composer. So far we have done nearly four hours of interviews with biographer Steven Smith, director Larry Cohen, editor Paul Hirsch, conductor Richard Kaufman, the composer’s daughter Dorothy Herrmann, and Foundation executive Les Zador. They are all available here, at the Foundation’s website. More interviews are expected to be done in December.
When friend and filmmaker Steve Mitchell asked me to contribute to his documentary on maverick director Larry Cohen, I couldn’t resist the opportunity. I’m really just a small part of the grand canvas of this informative, very entertaining film — Mitchell wanted me to talk about the major composers who contributed to his films: Bernard Herrmann (It’s Alive, 1974), God Told Me To (Frank Cordell, 1976) and Miklos Rozsa (The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, 1977). It was great fun delving back into that lively, risk-taking era of American moviemaking, and discussing Cohen’s love for these major composers in the twilight of their careers.