British Oscar-winning composer has died, aged 90

British Oscar-winning composer has died, aged 90


norman lebrecht

July 11, 2014

Ken Thorne was a genius at setting other men’s music to film.

He won the 1966 Oscar for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (original Broadway musical: Stephen Sondheim).

He also composed the first Beatles film, Help!, and two of the Superman films, using themes by John Williams.

ken thorne


  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

  • Bill Dodd says:

    “Help” was the second Beatles film. “Hard Days Night” was the first.

  • Bob M says:

    “…using themes by John Williams.”

    I think you mean Korngold.

    • Mikey says:

      it would be nice if you quoted which themes Williams is supposed to have stolen from Korngold in the Superman soundtrack.

      • Ron Spigelman says:

        Actually he didn’t steal from Korngold, but he was definitely influenced as were most film composers early on. He did come close to lifting Prokofiev in his March of the Ewoks but he did truly lift a theme by R. Strauss from Death and Transfiguration for the Superman score however, it was a quote not a lift since Death and Transfiguration was definitely a theme in the story.

  • mr oakmount says:

    Do we really have such an embarrassing richness of contemporary composers, film score and other, that we have to bash Williams? Even if he chose to write in Korngold’s idiom where appropriate, his music is highly original, important and … popular. Maybe this is why some people love to speak badly of his music. God forbid that art should be loved by the masses …