The Big Picture: Hitchcock!, August 31, 2014

by Warren M. Sherk

Big Picture on screen David Newman and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra delighted a large crowd of movie and soundtrack fans last night at the Bowl.

Newman selected clips and music that kept the audience on the edge of their seats throughout the program.

After an opening montage of Hitchcock highlights, music from Strangers on a Train by Dimitri Tiomkin came to life.

Crowd gathers


Olivia Tiomkin was among the concertgoers, along with Patrick and Shirley Russ, Paul Henning, Jon Burlingame, and Marilee Bradford. Looking up at the gathering crowd pre-concert, Olivia smiled broadly and remarked how wonderful it is that there is such great interest from the public in hearing film music in concert.

Stage from afar


In a nice personal touch, the concert opened and closed with Alfred Hitchcock’s unmistakable voice recorded for Music to Be Murder By.

Some of the finest composers in Hollywood worked with the director of such classics as Psycho and Vertigo, and the concert included diverse music from Hitchcock films by Tiomkin, Bernard Herrmann, Miklos Rozsa, Franz Waxman, and Alfred Newman. The latter composed the score for Foreign Correspondent. Fittingly, David Newman prepared the music and conducted the concert premiere of his father’s music.

Dial M for Murder





Tiomkin’s score from Dial M for Murder accompanied that film’s most harrowing scene wherein Grace Kelly stabs an “intruder” in her apartment, catching her husband Ray Milland off-guard and launching the film in an unexpected direction.

READ: Dial M for Murder screens at Barbican Cinema  (for more on Tiomkin’s music score)

At intermission, a guest at the concessions stand when asked about the concert exclaimed, “It’s even better that I imagined it!”

Eva Marie Saint




Host Eva Marie Saint charmed the large audience. Ageless and engaging, the actress brought insight and humor in introducing the film clips. Drawing on her experience working with the director, she injected brief personal anecdotes, but kept the evening on track in calling attention to the composers and their music. For the program’s finale, the star of North by Northwest set up the audience for an exciting musical and dramatic conclusion on Mount Rushmore where she famously clung to the rocks with Cary Grant.

David Newman walks offstage

David Newman’s experience as a film composer and conductor stands him in good stead in his recurring role as conductor of The Big Picture.

His enviable expertise places him among a handful of conductors in the world who can conduct a broad range of film music to picture in a concert setting where there are no second takes. In conducting to picture Newman elicits from the orchestra a musical line and performance unlike most others, a talent along the lines of the late great Elmer Bernstein.

Big Picture posterThe Big Picture can’t get any bigger. The Bowl is one of the few venues in the world where the sound merges perfectly with picture, in fact, the orchestra literally sounds as if it is emanating from the screen in true theater fashion. A few of the scenes would have benefited from better quality clips; however, the sound and large screen images seen here are as good as it gets. Kudos to Newman and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra for continuing to bring film music to the masses.

RELATED: FMS Feature: The Big Picture: Hitchcock! at the Hollywood Bowl by Marilee Bradford, September 2, 2014

Hitchcock silhouette

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