In the art of scoring for film few will
ever match the contribution made by
Jerry Goldsmith in influence, quality, or quantity of output. Arthur
Morton was his orchestrator and friend for over thirty years and is
Arthur Morton, aka Arthur Goldberg, was born on 8th
August 1908 in Duluth at the southern end of Lake Superior, 150 miles
from Minneapolis. He was educated at West High School ,
2808 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. The school closed in
He continued his
education at the University of Minnesota, on the east bank of the
Mississippi River, where he also played in jazz bands. He graduated in
1929 and after a year studying law and undertaking further graduate work
in philosophy he moved to
Los Angeles. Surprisingly, there is no mention of him receiving an
advanced musical education.
In 1935 he married
Emmy Lou Hellman, the daughter of screenwriter Sam Hellman and the
sister of Verna Fields, the Academy Award winning film editor of “Jaws”.
His 65-year career
in Hollywood began in the music departments of the Hal Roach Studios -
of Laurel and Hardy fame
- and at Columbia Pictures, composing and orchestrating
uncredited stock music. His first credited film score was for
Night Life of the Gods (1935).
While at Columbia he
began collaborating with George Duning, aka George Dunning, composing
additional music for films such as the 1949 film Lust for Gold
and eventually becoming Duning’s orchestrator. During the period, he
composed and orchestrated music for over fifty films including: From
Here To Eternity (1953), The Man From Laramie (1955),
Kismet (1955), and the cult film Oceans Eleven (1960) staring
The Rat Pack.
In 1955, he
orchestrated perhaps the most famous of George Duning’s scores for the
film Picnic, which included the hit song Theme from Picnic,
which in the film, was blended with the 1930’s standard Moonglow.
The score was nominated in 1956 for an Academy Award for Best Music,
Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.
took any easy means. He always had a shrewd sense of what would and
wouldn't work in scoring films, of what you could and couldn't do.
George is a first-class musician and working with him was a pleasure."
left Columbia in 1962 to begin a freelance career until
his retirement in 1983. He died in 2000, he was 92.
The decade 1950-1959
was an exciting time period for television in the USA and in the late
50’s Arthur Morton began composing music for television. He continued to
work in both television and film through the 60’s and 70’s, composing
music for episodes of Peyton Place (1964-1969) for 20th
Century Fox and The Waltons (1972-1974 ) for Lorimar.
In the 50's Jerry
Goldsmith was also in Hollywood writing for television and in the 60's
began writing music for film.
In 1963 they worked together on the film
Take Her She's Mine. Goldsmith was
the musical director as well as the composer of original music and may
have chosen Arthur Morton as orchestrator.
In 1965 they worked together again on Von Ryan's Express and
Morituri and in 1966 on Our Man Flint, The Trouble with
Angels (with Frank De Vol) and Stagecoach.
So began a
professional partnership and friendship that was to last over 30 years.
Some notable scores during the period were: Planet of the Apes
(1968), Patton (1970), Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970),
Papillon (1973), Chinatown (1974), The Omen (1976),
Islands In The Stream (1977), MacArthur (1977), Capricorn
Magic (1978), Alien (1979), Star Trek: The Motion
Poltergeist (1982), First Blood (1982), Under Fire
(1983), Supergirl (1984),
The Russia House (1990).
As well as
exclusively orchestrating every Jerry Goldsmith score in the 70's and
80's, he worked with other orchestrators such as Herbert Spencer - John
Williams’ orchestrator - providing additional orchestrations for
Star Wars (1977) and Superman The Movie (1978).
The last score that
Arthur Morton orchestrated for Jerry Goldsmith – jointly with Alexander
Courage – was L.A. Confidential (1997), both uncredited.
By then, Arthur Morton was in his late eighties and naturally slowing
down and Jerry Goldsmith had to rely more on his close friend Alexander
Courage, composer of the original Theme From Star Trek, to
orchestrate his later scores.
Arthur Morton died
on 15 April, 2000, in Santa Monica, California, USA.
He was 91 and survived by two daughters, Ann Stone and Jane Morton and
two sons, Thomas and John. Son John (S) Morton, is an avant-garde
composer living in Tappan, Rockland County, New York
and is married to sculptor Jacqueline Shatz.
between a composer and orchestrator is complex and can operate at many
different levels. Little is known publicly about the Goldsmith/Morton
According to Paul
Andrew McLean (Film Score Monthly):
like Jerry Goldsmith, ‘sketches’ his cues, every creative detail is
provided in these sketches - instrumental groupings, dynamics, and
indications for all the notes. It is just written in a kind of
compressed ‘shorthand’, perhaps with some occasional verbal
Also, Arthur Morton
once said that his job in orchestrating for Jerry Goldsmith was very
“I take the
music from the yellow paper and put it on the white paper.”
So, should we
believe that Arthur Morton was nothing more than Jerry Goldsmith’s
copyist as these anecdotes imply? The fact that Arthur Morton, himself a
prolific composer, was willing to orchestrate almost exclusively for
Jerry Goldsmith for over
30 years, and is credited in all of the earlier Jerry Goldsmith scores,
would imply that the relationship went much deeper.
When talking about
The Omen underscore Jerry Goldsmith recalled:
"At least 65%
of the choral writing was arranged by Arthur … he opened it up in a way
that sounded much better than the way I wrote it."
While the music is pure Goldsmith, when we thrill to the impact of the choral
sections of The Omen, let us at least spare a thought for Arthur