Benjamin Frankel was a Golden Globe®-nominated composer and conductor who worked with such directors as Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, Anthony Asquith, Carol Reed, Edward Dmytryk, Terrence Fisher and Jules Dassin.
Battle of the Bulge was a great score. He really understood every element of the orchestra and he didn’t need a vast string section to make it sound good … [The producers] wanted a British composer and they asked me for my recommendation … [Ben] was the most likely to be able to turn out a big score and an intelligent one.
Benjamin Frankel was born in London on 31 January 1906. His remarkable musical skills from an early age won him a scholarship in 1922 to study composition at the Guildhall School of Music. There, he supplemented his income working as a jazz violinist, pianist and arranger. During the 1930s and early 1940s, Frankel was high on demand as musical director for the likes of Noel Coward (and others) at the London theatre stages. It was at this time that he also made his first forays into films.
In 1944, Frankel said goodbye to his career as musical director and moved on to score dramatic feature films. Within two years he had become a composition professor at The Guildhall School, upon the recommendations of Ralph Vaughan Williams and William Walton. Whilst at The Guildhall Frankel formed a friendship with the violinist Max Rostal, for whom he wrote a Violin Concerto.
Frankel managed to combine a successful film career with the concert hall. Amongst his most famous film scores were: “The Seventh Veil” (1945), “So Long at the Fair” (1950), “The Man in the White Suit” (1951), “The Importance of Being Ernest” (1952), “The End of the Affair” (1954), “Footsteps in the Fog” (1955), “Orders To Kill” (1958), “Curse of the Werewolf” (1961), “Night of the Iguana” (1964) and “Battle of the Bulge” (1965).
Frankel wrote over fifty works for the concert hall including a three-act opera, five string quartets and eight symphonies. His concert works were championed by the eminent music critic Hans Keller and were premiered throughout Europe. He died in London on 12 February 1973.