The Best Years of Our Lives
Hugo Friedhofer’s American Sound
Hugo Friedhofer’s widely acclaimed score to Best Years of Our Lives successfully evokes an American sound that simultaneously universalizes and authenticates this story of post-war readjustment. He accomplishes this through harmonic and rhythmic approaches indebted to Aaron Copland, but also borrows stylistic devices from jazz, as filtered through the likes of George Gershwin and other concert composers who used the jazz idiom. Friedhofer’s specific use of leitmotif in this film emphasizes the common over the specific, further unifying three stories and generalizing shared post-war experiences.
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