Paul Smith (film and television composer)

Paul Joseph Smith ( born October 30, 1906 in Calumet, Michigan; † 25 January 1985 in Glendale, California, usually Paul J. Smith and Paul Smith ) was an American composer and conductor. He is known primarily for his film scores, he has created for animation, documentaries and feature films from Walt Disney Studios.

Life and work

Paul Joseph Smith was born on October 30, 1906 in Calumet in the U.S. state of Michigan, but grew up in the state of Idaho, where he attended the College of Idaho. He studied at the Bush Conservatory of Music in Chicago, the University of California at Los Angeles and at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. In 1934 he began working for Walt Disney, first as an arranger, but soon also as a composer. The first cartoons, which he contributed background music, Micky were in dreamland ( Thru the Mirror, 1936) and Donald Caballero ( Don Donald, 1937). Along with Frank Churchill and Larry Morey then he created the soundtrack to Disney's first animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937), for which the trio received an Oscar nomination. It was also the first strip of film history, whose soundtrack was released on LP. However, his greatest success was the soundtrack to Disney's next animated classic Pinocchio ( Pinocchio, 1940), for which he received an Oscar together with Leigh Harline and Ned Washington. In 1940 he was seen as a violinist also in Fantasia ( Fantasia). In addition, Smith operated not only as conductor of the Disney studios, but occasionally gave concerts in Burbank Starlight Bowl and the Hollywood Bowl.

In the 1940s and 50s, Smith worked primarily on the animated short films from the studios. Around 70, he supervised during his nearly three -decade-long tenure at Disney. In addition, he co-wrote with other composers of the studio but also the music for such feature films as The Three Caballeros in Samba fever ( Saludos Amigos, 1942), The Three Caballeros ( The Three Caballeros, 1944), Uncle Remus' Wonderland ( Song of the South, 1947) and Cinderella ( Cinderella, 1950). Characteristic of all these productions was that they originated in community work. That changed in the early 1950s for Paul Smith, as Disney entrusted him with more original music for feature films and documentaries in particular. Smith not only wrote the score for the elaborate Jules Verne film adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ( 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1954), but developed into a specialist for the musical accompaniment of "True Life Adventures ", which he almost all as a composer, arranger and conductor also assisted. The dramatic and comical soundtrack contributed to the success of such documentaries as The Living Desert ( The Living Desert, 1953) or The Vanishing Prairie ( The Vanishing Prairie, 1954) at. The cartoon -like " Mickey Mousing " used in this case was indeed sometimes criticized for being vulgar, proved to be quite as influential for the music documentary. Especially the artifice of these films to cut individual sequences to the beat of classical or popular music, was often copied. The original soundtracks of Smith were also - unusual for documentaries - released on LPs and some topics were popular songs, such as " Jing -A -Ling " from Valley of Bieber (Beaver Valley) or " Prairie Home and Pioneer 's Prayer " wonders of the prairie. Among the later soundtracks Smith were all love Pollyanna ( Pollyanna, 1960) and The Three Lives of Thomasina ( The Three Lives of Thomasina, 1964).

The composer, however, had already left the Disney Studios in 1962 and retired soon back into retirement. Overall, Paul Smith was involved in about 90 Walt Disney productions in various musical features. He died on 25 January 1985 at the age of 78 years from the effects of Alzheimer 's disease in the Memorial Hospital in Glendale, California. In 1994, the Disney Studios him nominated posthumously for " Disney Legend " ( " Disney Legend" ).


In addition, Smith received seven more nominations for the music to the movies Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937), The Three Caballeros in Samba fever ( Saludos Amigos, 1942), Victory Through Air Power ( 1943), The Three Caballeros ( The Three Caballeros, 1944), Uncle Remus' Wonderland ( song of the South, 1946), Cinderella ( Cinderella, 1950) and Perris Adventure ( Perri, 1957).

Filmography (selection)

Most of the listed film scores created in collaboration with other composers: