Maurice Jarre to be handed Berlin Film Festival Honorary Golden Bear
Composer Maurice Jarre, 84, will be handed the Honorary Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival. The award presentation will take place on Feb. 12.
In all, Jarre wrote the music for more than 150 films. He is best known for his collaborations with David Lean, having scored the British filmmaker’s epics and near-epics Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965), Ryan’s Daughter (1970), and A Passage to India (1984).
Academy Award wins & nominations
Maurice Jarre won Academy Awards for Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and A Passage to India. He was nominated six other times, in the Best Original Score category unless otherwise stated:
- Best Adaptation or Treatment for Serge Bourguignon’s psychological drama Sundays and Cybèle / Les dimanches de Ville d’Avray – a 1962 release and Best Foreign Language Film winner that was shortlisted the following year in the regular Oscar categories. In the cast: Hardy Krüger and Nicole Courcel.
- Best Original Song for “Marmalade, Molasses & Honey,” from John Huston’s The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972). Nomination shared with lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman. In the cast: Paul Newman, Jacqueline Bisset, Ava Gardner, Anthony Perkins, and Stacy Keach.
- Moustapha Akkad’s The Message (1977), about the birth of Islam. In the cast: Anthony Quinn, Irene Papas, and Michael Ansara.
- Peter Weir’s suspense thriller Witness (1985), with Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis.
- Michael Apted’s Gorillas in the Mist (1988), starring Sigourney Weaver as slain researcher Dian Fossey.
- Jerry Zucker’s romantic fantasy Ghost (1990), starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg.
More Maurice Jarre movies
Born in Lyon on Sept. 13, 1924, Maurice Jarre began his musical career at the Conservatoire de Paris. At age 26, he became the musical director of the Théâtre National Populaire, composing the orchestra’s music for more than 70 plays, ranging from Shakespeare to Kafka.
In 1952, Jarre made his debut as a film composer, scoring Georges Franju’s documentary short Hôtel des Invalides. Following a four-year break, his film career began in earnest with a series of documentary shorts. In 1957, he scored his first feature, Henri Decoin’s Le feu aux poudres, a crime thriller starring Raymond Pellegrin, Charles Vanel, and Françoise Fabian.
Besides his work on David Lean’s films, other notable Maurice Jarre compositions, both in Europe and in Hollywood, include those for the following movies:
- Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face / Les Yeux sans visage (1960).
- Frédéric Rossif’s documentary To Die in Madrid / Mourir à Madrid (1963).
- William Wyler’s The Collector (1965).
- John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix (1966).
- Luchino Visconti’s The Damned / La caduta degli Dei (1969).
- John Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King (1975).
- Volker Schlöndorff’s The Tin Drum / Die Blechtrommel (1979).
More recent film scores
In the last two decades or so, Maurice Jarre also composed notable music scores for:
- Four Peter Weir movies: the aforementioned Witness (1985), in addition to The Mosquito Coast (1986), Dead Poets Society (1989), and Fearless (1993).
- Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction (1987).
- Alfonso Arau’s A Walk in the Clouds (1995).
- István Szabó’s Sunshine (1999).
Maurice Jarre’s final big-screen score was for Hugh Hudson’s I Dreamed of Africa (2000), starring Kim Basinger.
His television work includes compositions for the miniseries/TV movies Jesus of Nazareth, Samson and Delilah, and The Murder of Mary Phagan. His last score for the small screen could be heard in Jon Avnet’s 2001 TV movie Uprising, starring Leelee Sobieski.
Update: Maurice Jarre died in March 2009 in Malibu.
Sale of Mary Pickford’s two Oscars has been blocked
A Los Angeles jury has decided that the Oscar statuettes that once belonged to silent film superstar Mary Pickford – one for Best Actress for the 1929 melodrama Coquette; the other an Honorary Oscar handed to her in 1976 – cannot be sold.
Heirs to the estate of Mary Pickford’s third husband and widower, Wings actor and Pickford’s My Best Girl leading man Charles “Buddy” Rogers (by way of his widow, Beverly Rogers, who died in 2007), wanted to sell the Oscars and donate the proceeds to a charity organization.
But charitable sale or not, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, of which Mary Pickford was one of the original founders, was determined to prevent it. Unless, that is, the statuettes were to be sold back to the Academy for the nominal fee of $1.
Oscar statuettes for a buck
Since 1951, the Academy has required Oscar winners to sign an agreement giving the organization the right of first refusal to buy back any statuette up for sale for $10 (later reduced to $1).
According to Bob Pool’s Los Angeles Times article, “because Pickford signed the agreement when her honorary Oscar was presented to her and because she was a founder of the academy who remained a member until her death, academy officials contend that the 1930 Oscar was grandfathered into the rule on right of first refusal.”
That in spite of the fact that the by then visibly ailing Pickford didn’t sign the document. Her late secretary, Esther Helm, signed it for her.
Charity donation fight & pre-1951 Oscars now hot commodities
The case isn’t quite closed, however, as the judge will hear more arguments next Monday.
As per the attorney for Rogers’ heirs, the Academy “spent hundreds of thousands of dollars so the charities specified in Beverly Rogers’ will won’t receive any money.”
An attorney for the Academy countered that the organization had offered to donate $50,000 to those charities, an amount that was later raised to $200,000 “only because Mary Pickford was a founder.”
The Los Angeles Times piece adds that the Academy’s decision to safeguard its trademarked trophies “has made pre-1951 Oscars a hot commodity. The best picture statuette for 1939’s Gone With the Wind was purchased for $1.54 million nine years ago by Michael Jackson. The best picture Oscar for 1941’s How Green Was My Valley sold for $95,000 four years ago.”
First Academy Awards: Mary Pickford & fellow Canadians
 Mary Pickford, who happened to be one of the founders of both United Artists and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, won the 1928–1929 Best Actress Academy Award for her first talkie, Sam Taylor’s Coquette (1929), a stilted melodrama in which the girl-woman attempted to go all-woman – sporting a bobbed hairdo and a frilly bare-shouldered dress, and with hunky Johnny Mack Brown as her passionate Southern lover.
Nearly half a century later, at the televised 1976 Academy Awards ceremony, Pickford was seen receiving an Honorary Oscar in a pre-taped occasion at her legendary Beverly Hills home, Pickfair.
“Maurice Jarre Gets Honorary Golden Bear + Mary Pickford Oscar Sale Blocked” last updated in March 2018.