The Best Years of Our Lives

Hugo Friedhofer’s American Sound

Authors

  • Aaron J. Johnson University of Pittsburgh

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jfm.19383

Abstract

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.

Author Biography

Aaron J. Johnson, University of Pittsburgh

Aaron J. Johnson, Assitant Professor, Music, University of Pittsburgh. Interests: Jazz, African American Popular Music, Film Music, Music Information Retrieval.

References

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Published

2021-05-06

How to Cite

Johnson, A. J. (2021). The Best Years of Our Lives: Hugo Friedhofer’s American Sound. Journal of Film Music. https://doi.org/10.1558/jfm.19383

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Section

Articles