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Dimitri Tiomkin

Highest Rated: 100% Rio Bravo (1959)

Lowest Rated: 20% MacKenna's Gold (1969)

Birthday: Not Available

Birthplace: Not Available

From the end of the 1940s until the beginning of the 1960s, Dimitri Tiomkin was one of the more prominent composers in movies; decades after his death, he remains one of the most problematic creative figures of his era in Hollywood. Tiomkin was born in Kremenchuk, Ukraine in 1894. Raised in St. Petersburg, Russia and educated in that city's conservatory, his teachers included renowned classical composer Alexander Glazunov. He came of age amid the turmoil of revolutionary Russia and fled to Western Europe, studying in Berlin and later establishing himself as a performer as part of a piano duo. Tiomkin subsequently became a concert pianist and, among his other credits as a performing musician, he gave the European premiere of George Gershwin's "Concerto in F," in 1928. With the advent of talking pictures, Tiomkin and his wife relocated to Hollywood. He made his debut as a film composer in 1930 with Our Blushing Brides, a drama starring Joan Crawford, and his subsequent movie projects included Broadway to Hollywood, Paramount's Alice in Wonderland (both 1933), and Mad Love (1935). His association with director Frank Capra started with Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), but he didn't achieve prominence until the release of Capra's Lost Horizon in 1937. That fantasy adventure film featured one of the most prominent scores of any movie of the 1930s; Tiomkin's music was uncommonly bold for the era, the action sequences written in a manner recalling Max Steiner, while the portions of the score covering the parts of the movie depicting Shangri-la, filled with rich, Eastern-sounding melodies and lush choruses, were even more striking, and brought him to the attention of the mass public. Tiomkin became Capra's composer-of-choice for the next few years, helping to close out the director's Columbia Pictures career and open his period as an independent director/producer on Meet John Doe (1941). Tiomkin continued to work on other independent productions, including The Moon and Sixpence (1941), mixed with the occasional big-studio project such as Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943), and he later scored the Capra-produced wartime documentary series called Why We Fight (1943). Tiomkin's career took off in the post-World War II era. He worked on independent and medium-budget studio productions such as Dillinger (1945) and Angel on My Shoulder (1946), but it was his selection to write the music for David O. Selznick's mammoth production of Duel in the Sun (1946) that put Tiomkin into the front rank of screen composers. Although ostensibly a Western, Duel in the Sun was really an overheated drama of sex and passion that happened to be set in the 19th-century American West. Tiomkin's main struggle was delivering a piece of music to accompany a love scene between the characters played by Gregory Peck and Jennifer Jones that "felt" to Selznick like a sexual climax. Duel in the Sun was ridiculed by most critics, but it did earn a substantial box-office gross.Tiomkin's relationship with Capra ended with a disagreement over the scoring for It's a Wonderful Life (1946), but he was involved in arranging Claude Debussy's music for Selznick's Portrait of Jennie (1948), and his next big break came when Howard Hawks engaged him to write the music for his epic Western Red River (1948). The movie was everything that Selznick's lust-in-the-dust epic hadn't been, and it was a huge hit, critically and commercially, helped in no small measure by Tiomkin's rousing central theme. Around the same time, Tiomkin was engaged by producer Stanley Kramer for the first time, on So This Is New York (1948). The latter was a failure at the box office, but Tiomkin's association with Kramer's next two movies, Home of the Brave and Champion (both 1949) proved fortuitous.Tiomkin was one of the busiest composers in Hollywood in 1950 and 1951, scoring six movies in each year, among them the pioneering big-studio science fiction production of Howard Hawks' The Thing, for RKO, and

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Tchaikovsky Producer Executive Producer 1970
20% MacKenna's Gold Producer 1969
75% The Sundowners Actor 1960
100% Rio Bravo Actor 1959
78% The Old Man and the Sea Actor 1958
82% Gunfight at the O.K. Corral Actor 1957
95% Giant Actor 1956
100% The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell Actor 1955
89% Dial M for Murder Actor 1954
No Score Yet His Majesty O'Keefe Actor 1954


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