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Lavish musical soundtracks contributed a special grandeur to the new widescreen, stereophonic sound movie experience of postwar biblical epics such as Samson and Delilah, Ben-Hur, and Quo Vadis. In Epic Sound, Stephen C. Meyer shows how music was utilized for various effects, sometimes serving as a vehicle for narrative plot and at times complicating biblical and cinematic interpretation. In this way, the soundscapes of these films reflected the ideological and aesthetic tensions within the genre, and more generally, within postwar American society. By examining key biblical films, Meyer adeptly engages musicology with film studies to explore cinematic interpretations of the Bible during the 1940s through the 1960s.
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Meyer’s clear and articulate study promises to be a welcome addition to the reading list of anyone interested not just in film but in mid-century music history.Source: Journal of the Society for American Music
Stephen C. Meyer is Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Music Histories at Syracuse University. He is author of Carl Maria von Weber and the Search for a German Opera (IUP, 2003).
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