BEN-HUR: ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK (2 CDS)
Ben-Hur is a 1959 American epic religious drama film, directed by William Wyler, produced by Sam Zimbalist for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starring Charlton Heston as the title character. A remake of the 1925 silent film with the same title, Ben-Hur was adapted from Lew Wallace's 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. The screenplay is credited to Karl Tunberg, but includes contributions from Maxwell Anderson, S. N. Behrman, Gore Vidal, and Christopher Fry. Ben-Hur had the largest budget ($15.175 million), as well as the largest sets built, of any film produced at the time. The film score was composed and conducted by Miklós Rózsa, who scored most of MGM's epics, although Zimbalist had previously commissioned and then set aside a score from William Walton. Rózsa researched Greek and Roman music, incorporating this work into his score for authenticity. Rózsa himself directed the 100-piece MGM Symphony Orchestra during the 12 recording sessions (which stretched over 72 hours). The soundtrack was recorded in six-channel stereo. More than three hours of music were composed for the film, and two-and-a-half hours of it were finally used, making it (as of 2001) the longest score ever composed for a motion picture. The score contains no leitmotifs for the main characters. While not a leitmotif, the score does transition from full orchestra to pipe organ whenever Jesus Christ appears. Rózsa won his third Academy Award for his score.