‘A genuine unforced enthusiasm’: Films 1948–1962
Despite his growing success as an author and composer of concert music, Montgomery had already embarked in a small way on a further career as a composer of background music for films. Given his wide-ranging interest in contemporary artistic developments, this was a logical development of his musical talents. He had always been very keen on the cinema. We already know that he took Muriel pavlow to see The Wizard of Oz at least four times at the Odeon at Rickmansworth. During his time at oxford Montgomery loved going to the cinema and made a point of seeing The Lady Vanishes every year with colin strang. He was also very keen on Disney’s Fantasia. In the notes for a talk on film music he gave later in life, Montgomery explains how his fascination with the scores began:
From about the age of ten I went regularly every Saturday afternoon to the Regent at Amersham, sitting rather grandly in the Shilling Seats, for which I paid what was mysteriously advertised as a half price of eightpence.
As I got older, I went to the pictures more and more. In a very amateurish way, I was also interested in music. So when in 1935 the Regent at Amersham got hold of a new British film called ‘Things to Come’, I went and saw it five times in the same week. For the first time an important composer 1 had been asked to write background music for a picture, and for the first time a reasonably serious attempt had been made to fit the music to the picture, carefully and in detail.
I had day-dreams about how nice it would be if ever I could work on films, but I honestly never thought I should. 2