chapter  20
A Star is Born
Max Steiner in the Studios, 1929–1939
ByNathan Platte
Pages 13

This chapter explores Max Steiner's key relationships with studio personnel and concludes with a survey of three productions: Intermezzo, Four Wives and Gone with the Wind. Collectively, these films demonstrate Steiner's versatile manipulation of studio networks to serve compositional and career-related ends. Steiner's short score for Harry Tierney's song, "Guiding Star," is peppered with eraser marks, suggesting that Steiner devised an accompaniment for Tierney's melody. Steiner's ubiquity in film-music histories, much of his thirty-six year career as a studio musician remains understudied. Knowledge of Steiner and David O. Selznick's collaboration depends on trade-press accounts and anecdotes from interviews and memoirs. With Spivack gone and Steiner's standing at the studio less sure, a series of fortuitous events in early 1936 helped stabilize his career. Steiner's compositional accomplishments in Gone with the Wind are frequently cited, but the film also marks a culminating effort of Steiner the studio musician.