Posted on 7.9.15: It hit me last night that the main-title themes for Henry King‘s The Bravados (’58) and John Ford‘s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (’62) are nearly identical. Listen to the Bravados music (which is credited on the Wiki page to Alfred Newman, Hugo Friedhofer and Lionel Newman) and now Cyril J. Mockridge‘s Liberty Valance theme — pretty close to plagiarism, I’d say.

But the Liberty Valance Wiki page credits the score to both Mockridge and Alfred Newman, and Mockridge’s Wiki page describes him as “a staff composer for 20th Century-Fox for years, frequently working with Alfred Newman and Alfred’s brother Lionel.” I’m assuming that Mockridge asked Alfred if he could rip off his Bravados main-title theme as a favor, and the esteemed composer said sure, what the hell.

2015 comments: brenkilco • 6 years ago
“Not even the most obvious music steal in Liberty Valance. The closing theme in the movie is a reworking of Newman’s Ann Rutledge theme from Young Mr. Lincoln. Although, this was reportedly a favorite bit of music for Ford so he may have wanted it in there. Newman must have been a very accommodating guy.”

heyblondie brenkilco • 6 years ago • edited
From the Bogdanovich/Ford interview book:
PB: “Toward the start of LIBERTY VALANCE, when Vera Miles comes to Wayne’s burned-out house, isn’t the music the Ann Rutledge theme from Young M4. Lincoln?”
JF: “Yes, it was the same. We bought it from Al Newman. I love it –o ne of my favorite tunes — one I can hum. Generally, I hate music in pictures — a little bit now and then, at the end or the start — but something like the Ann Rutledge theme belongs. I don’t like to see a man alone in the desert, dying of thirst, with the Philadelphia Orchestra behind him.”

Professor Wagstaff • 6 years ago
ALFRED NEWMAN says…
What, me worry?