Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Marks, Martin. "Music, Drama, Warner Brothers: The Cases of Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon." Michigan Quarterly Review 35, no. 1 (Winter 1996): 112-42.

Music in film can serve to strengthen the plot and emotional intensity if it is made an essential part of the narrative. In the case of Casablanca, Max Steiner scores approximately forty-five minutes of music that makes an indelible mark on the film's narrative through borrowing the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, the German national anthem, Deutschland über alles,As Time Goes By, and Watch on the Rhine, scoring them repeatedly in various ways to show sympathy for the star-crossed lovers. Adolph Deutsch's score for the Maltese Falcon contains fifty minutes of composed music that does not contain borrowed tunes, lending itself to a less noticeable role in the film's narrative. Steiner borrowed La Marseillaise to symbolize the French, and by extension, the Allied resistance to Nazi oppression. Deutschland über alles and Watch on the Rhine were used to symbolize the Nazi German menace. As Time Goes By is scored unobtrusively with background music throughout the score as a theme song, enhancing the unity of the film and imbuing the narrative with a strong sense of nostalgia.

Works: Max Steiner: score to Casablanca (118); Adolph Deutsch: score to The Maltese Falcon (128).

Sources: Joseph Haydn (tune), Hoffman and Fallersleben (poem): Deutschland über alles (119); Herman Hupfeld: As Time Goes By (121); Karl Wilhelm: Watch on the Rhine (121).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Film

Contributed by: Kathleen Widden

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