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
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.
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.