Sound Of Cinema: Return Of The Monster From The Id

Saturday 21 September



In 1956, Hollywood and the avant garde made strange and wonderful music. Writer Ken Hollings tells how Louis and Bebe Barron created the first electronic film score for Forbidden Planet, and attempts to resurrect the monster from the Id to understand the fusion of science and art that remains a landmark in film and music.

In 1956, America saw and heard the future in the science fiction movie Forbidden Planet. A fusion of Shakespeare's The Tempest, pop Freud and imaginative pulp science fiction, Hollywood and the electronic avante garde embraced each other, briefly.

Louis and Bebe were close associates of John Cage at the cutting edge of new technology and music, and had created something wonderful and unique - the world's first full electronic film score. The Barrons' 'electronic tonalities' - as they were credited on screen in deference to a fearful musicians union - were vital in creating this world of the future, acting as music, sound effects and character.

BBC’s Sound Of Cinema season is dedicated to exploring the composers, songs and film scores that form the soundtrack to the big screen. The season started on 12 September on BBC Four, accompanied by three weeks of programming on BBC Radio 3. Further programmes take place on BBC Radio 6 Music, Radios 1 & 1xtra, Radio 2 and the Asian network.

Presenter/ Ken Hollings, Producer/ Mark Burman for the BBC

BBC Radio 3 Publicity