With the Dambusters theme crossing over from silver screen to terrace anthem, Paul Welsh looks down the Alleyways and Avenues of film history for great Elstree film scores

Borehamwood Times: Everyone knows the soundtrack to this scene Everyone knows the soundtrack to this scene

One aspect of film and television is often overlooked — the importance of music to create an atmosphere.

What would the shower scene in Psycho be without the music, or the The Magnificent Seven without that great score?

On Saturday, June 21 at the Ark Theatre in Borehamwood, the 40-piece BBC Elstree Concert Band will be saluting 100 years of film and television production in Elstree and Borehamwood.

The programme is a secret but I can reveal it includes a salute to Hollywood and a host of memorable music from the films and TV shows that have come from this town.

At the time of writing there are very few tickets left so if you are interested, book now for a one-off concert.

Since the Second World War, many productions shot here have benefited from the addition of musical scores.

When MGM opened a studio in our town in the 1940s, they started recording music at Watford Town Hall. One of the first films to benefit from its musical score was While I Live, which generated so many sales of sheet music that the film was re-released with the name of its title tune The Dream Of Olwen.

The 1950s were littered with film scores that became a hit with the public. Even today, football fans have embraced the famous score from the wartime thriller The Dambusters and who doesn’t know the theme from the 1960s film 633 Squadron, which was made at MGM?

Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Elstree Studios had its own music department under the direction of the late Stanley Black.

Errol Flynn could be seen dancing to the old tune Lily of Laguna and later, Cliff Richard had hits with Summer Holiday and The Young Ones.

Tommy Steele came to Stage 5 at Elstree Studios to shoot the number Crash Bang Wallop from the 1960s musical Half A Sixpence.

At MGM, the late Ron Goodwin conjured up a jaunty theme tune for a series of Miss Marple films starring Margaret Rutherford.

Tony Christie scored a hit with his theme song for the Elstree-made 1970s series entitled The Protectors with Avenues and Alleyways.

Who does not know the theme tune to The Muppets, which was shot at ATV, or EastEnders, shot at the BBC Elstree Centre that now occupies the site?

The scores for Elstree-made blockbusters such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark have become classics. Another is the lovely title theme for Murder on the Orient Express.

A memorable score can greatly enhance a film. Just think of the 1940s hit Laura or the 1960s hit The Magnificent Seven and a host of other films made in Hollywood.

I am hard pressed to think of a film or television theme tune nowadays.

The 1960s TV series made at Elstree called The Human Jungle, starring Herbert Lom, had a theme tune I can still remember today although the series is long forgotten.

Music is a great mood enhancer in motion pictures and I hope modern film and TV producers do not forget the importance of music.

Special effects reign supreme today, but when they are long forgotten, a memorable score can live forever. Just think of the theme tune to Gone with the Wind or As Time Goes By from Casablanca, made more than 70 years ago.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing you at the special centenary concert where we can wallow in nostalgia and I can promise some excellent music.

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