American composer Alex North hardly needed films to enhance his reputation. A graduate of Juilliard and the pupil of such musical heavyweights as Ernst Toch and Aaron Copland, North was responsible for the incidental music in several major Broadway productions of the 1940s, notably Death of a Salesman. He also composed for the ballet, for symphony orchestra, and even for Benny Goodman.
North’s earliest film work consisted of the scores for documentary films, an activity he engaged in from 1937 through the early 1950s. His first feature-film score was for 20th Century-Fox’s The 13th Letter; he followed this with a steady parade of scores for such memorable pictures as Viva Zapata (1952), The Rose Tattoo (1955), The Bad Seed (1956), Spartacus (1960), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1967), Under the Volcano (1984) and Prizzi’s Honor (1985). His most popular composition, “Unchained Melody” (for the 1955 prison picture Unchanged), received a whole new lease on life in 1990 thanks… read more