Invaders from Mars

The Music for Invaders from Mars by William H. Rosar
Originally published in CinemaScore #15, 1986/1987
Text reproduced by kind permission of the editor and publisher Randall D. Larson

Invaders from Mars

Not only is the music for the recent INVADERS FROM MARS re-make entangled in strange cir­cumstances, but the score for the original 1953 film is likewise surrounded by contro­versy. Credited to Raoul Krau­shaar, a Paris-born composer who was educated in the United States and began working in films in 1928 as a musical assistant and later music director, the music for has frequently been singled out as one of the best of 1950’s science fiction film scores, its eerie choral arrange­ments and bleak aca­pella “conjuring up visions of a dying Mar­tian land­scape or the wailing of fright­ened minds in hell,” as one reviewer wrote.

Recently, however, it has come to light through several reliable sources that Krau­shaar may not have scored INVADERS FROM MARS at all, but instead only conducted it, the score having been written instead by Mort Glickman, a con­tracted ghost writer, as William H. Rosar reports in the following article.

The Original Invaders from Mars Score: A Case of Ghost Writing?

Mort Glickman (b. 1898) was a com­poser at Republic Studios from 1940 to 1948. He was known among his colleagues as the “Chase King” because he special­ized in writing music for chase sequences in Republic serials. From the end of his tenure at Republic until his death in 1953, there are no known film music credits for Glickman.

An interesting connection between Glick­man and Raoul Kraushaar, the composer credited, and noted, for the music to the original INVADERS FROM MARS, has come to light due to details related to me by Glick­man’s son, Phil, a source I feel is a reliable one, which tend to suggest that it was actually Glickman, and not Krau­shaar who wrote the classic science fiction score!

In recent inter­views with me, Phil Glick­man, stated that his father re­mained active in composing for films and TV until his death, but did not receive credit for his work because it con­sisted of ghost writing scores for Raoul Krau­shaar. Phil Glick­man ex­plained the arrange­ment Krau­shaar had with his father as follows: Krau­shaar contracted the films and Glickman scored them, re­ceiving a per­centage of the renumer­ation in ex­change for which Krau­shaar took all com­posing credits for the music.

Accord­ing to other sources, Krau­shaar would also conduct the music, and often orches­trate it as well. Phil Glick­man said that his father agreed to this rather com­pro­mising arrange­ment with Krau­shaar because of the financial burden of costly medical expenses due to a heart condi­tion which finally claimed his life.

Mort Glickman

Among the films Glickman scored for Krau­shaar were:

PREHISTORIC WOMEN (1950)
THE SWORD OF MONTE CRISTO (1951)
BRIDE OF THE GORILLA (1951)
ROSE OF CIMARRON (1952)
BOMBA AND THE JUNGLE GIRL (1952)
INVADERS FROM MARS (1953).

When questioned about INVADERS FROM MARS, since this is a favorite among science fiction fans and the best known of the films in question, Krau­shaar denied that Glick­man had composed any of the music, main­taining that he had com­posed all of it himself, and that Glick­man only orches­trated it. Krau­shaar did say, however, that Glick­man had con­tributed music to PREHIS­TORIC WOMEN.

The plot thickened when I studied the music tracks used in the 1951 BRIDE OF THE GO­RILLA – this film includes cues which are prominent in INVADERS FROM MARS, a film made two years later! This suggests that, con­trary to even the ASCAP cue sheets itemizing the music for INVADERS, the 1953 film did not contain a completely original score but in­stead re-used some material which had ac­tually been written for an early film (or films). Subsequently, the INVADERS music wound up in library tracks used by Gordon Music for scoring various low budget films and tv shows – and in fact the INVADERS FROM MARS music once turned up, as tracked cues, during an episode of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRE­SENTS!

It is hoped that additional research will clarify the Glick­man-Krau­shaar associa­tion and that eventually the true author­ship of the INVADERS FROM MARS and other scores in question may be settled for certain.

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