True Story - Development 2020

During Hitler’s rein, Austria’s most prominent musical prodigy since Mozart is torn between risking his life to continue his career in his homeland as a revered Jewish composer or risking his true art by accepting to go to Hollywood to compose for the new medium of movies. 

    • Year of production
    • 2020
    • Genres
    • True Story, Drama
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 10 - 25 M$
    • Director(s)
    • Bruce BERESFORD
    • Writer(s)
    • Bruce BERESFORD
    • Producer(s)
    • Honnie KORNGOLD (CineVantage), Gary KORNGOLD (CineVantage), Danielle TURKOV WILSON (Think-Film Impact Production Ltd), Darren MOORMAN (Reserve Entertainment)
    • Synopsis
    • Erich Wolfgang Korngold was an Academy Award-winning composer who is credited as the founder of the "Hollywood Sound”. He influenced modern composing icons like John Williams and James Horner.  But it’s the story of his life that’s shocking and inspiring.

      He was the son of feared Austrian music critic Julius Korngold. Julius was a controversial figure—Jewish, and a possessor of an acid-tipped pen, Dr. Korngold, a frustrated composer himself, made his share of enemies with his critiques.

      So when young Korngold began writing original music at the age of 7, the elder Korngold was thrilled. He brought his son to see Gustav Mahler, who pronounced young Erich a "genius”.

      News of the child prodigy spread quickly through Vienna. All the while, his father was merciless in exploiting his son’s talent to elevate himself and realize his own ambitions. It seemed as a teenager Erich’s future was set with his works soaring to new heights, but like Mozart, Korngold’s relationship with his father was complicated.
      In defiance of his overbearing father, Erich turned his romantic interests toward a Viennese actress named Luise von Sonnenthal. This budding romance became one more wedge between Erich and his father Julius. He was adamantly against the pairing, and did all he could to keep them apart.

      Pushing against the approval of his domineering father, Erich married Luzi and moved out of concert works to operettas. This is where he would meet a man who would alter the course of Erich’s life forever - Max Reinhardt.

      Max and Erich worked on projects together, but more important to Erich than the musical partnership, was Reinhardt’s paternal encouragement, something Julius was unable or unwilling to offer.

      Reinhardt found himself in California working for Warner Brothers. He then persuaded his dear friend Erich to come to Hollywood to adapt Mendelssohn’s music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Korngold quickly became in demand by Warner Brothers.

      When Erich returned to Vienna to conduct and perform. It was like he was living between two worlds – the glamour of the studio lot in Hollywood and the concert halls of Vienna.

      Warner Brothers summoned Korngold back to Hollywood to encourage him to score The Adventures of Robin Hood -- the most expensive movie Warner’s had ever made. He declined the opportunity and set out to return to Vienna.

      What Warner Brothers could not convince Korngold to do, the Nazis could. While he was packing to go home, Austria came under Nazi control. The Korngold’s would stay in California. The 3rd Reich did not wait long to seize Korngold’s house and ban his music.

      Erich vowed not to compose concert works again until Hitler was removed from power. His first movie score as an exiled resident in the New World - The Adventures of Robin Hood - earned him an Oscar…and ultimately saved his life. He set out to free from Nazi control as many of his Jewish family and friends as possible.