The Bishop’s Wife

Film Music is absorbed… Through the Pores

In this centennial year of Hugo Friedhofer’s birth, we are pleased to present this premiere compact disc release of music from the original tracks of THE BISHOP’S WIFE, a work that film music historian Tony Thomas regarded as the composer’s “most charming score.” This is the second Friedhofer original score in the BYU Film Music Archives Soundtrack Series following the earlier CD of BROKEN ARROW. Coming as it did only a year after his justifiably lionized Academy Award-winning score for THE BEST YEARS OUR LIVES, Friedhofer’s music for THE BISHOP’S WIFE has often been overlooked except by those listeners who were immediately drawn to its delicately toned yet surefooted enhancement of Robert Nathans tale of human goodness, weakness, and Divine intervention.

As you will read in William Rosar’s insightful notes, Friedhofer was a breed apart from traditional composers of the period, including the grand masters Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, for whom he orchestrated and arranged film scores for nearly 10 years at Warner Bros. He was thoughtful about music, especially for films. “I believe it is the business of the composer to determine exactly which aspect or facet of his personal idiom is best suited to the particular problem confronting him,” wrote Friedhofer in the 1950s, “to eschew any element which might possibly conflict with the style or mood of the film, and to write (with the limits of this self-imposed discipline) according to the dictates of his musical conscience.”

The combination of “mood” and Friedhofer’s “musical conscience” created an ethereal score for THE BISHOP’S WIFE that uplifts the viewer of the film and the listener of the score apart from the film. It masterfully meets the criteria that Friedhofer set for himself in an undated essay: “Film music is absorbed, you might say, through the pores. But the listener should be aware, even subliminally, of continuity, of a certain binder that winds through the film experience.”

The intimate connection sought by Friedhofer between music, film, and emotion might have been part of what colleague and friend David Raksin meant when he wrote. “I think he has a better understanding of film music than any composer I know. He is the most learned of us all, the best schooled, and often the most subtle.”

The Hugo Friedhofer Papers, MSS 2021, preserved at Brigham Young University, contain the paper and, in many cases, audio trail left by this talented composer: 44 bound conductor books and 70 original pencil sketches of scores that include THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, THE ADVENTURES OF MARCO POLO, ONE-EYED JACKS, BROKEN ARROW, THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, JOAN OF ARC, THE LODGER, THE SUN ALSO RISES, THE YOUNG LIONS, and VERA CRUZ. There are even four conductor books of Korngold scores that include photographs of the composer inscribed to his trusted orchestrator. Friedhofer’s prodigious output for television is amply represented with scores for 42 episodes of I SPY, 34 installments of THE OUTLAWS, and contributions to RAWHIDE, NIGHT GALLERY, THE FBI, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, and other programs. In addition to documenting his 43 years of film and television scoring, the collection contains concert and chamber compositions as well as correspondence with film music critic Page Cook, William Rosar, and others. Fortunately, a set of acetates bearing a large portion of the original music tracks survived in order for you to enjoy this premiere release. The Friedhofer Papers are open and available, as are the papers and recordings of many other film composers at BYU, for research use in furthering the Friedhofer legacy and in the continued study of film music.

It took more than one “angel” to bring this dream product to reality. The generous cooperation of those acknowledged on the credits page of this booklet, at the Samuel Goldwyn Company and MGM Music, the unique skills of musicologist William Rosar, and sound engineer Ray Faiola were essential in bringing this musical feast both to the mind and the ear. I’m particularly grateful for the encouragement and enthusiasm of Karolyn Grimes (Debby in the film) for her reminiscences of her wonderful experience being in this film 55 years ago. From our collection now to yours, we hope that the music from THE BISHOP’S WIFE might suggest, as Friedhofer once wrote of good film music, “a certain transparency. I like the air to come through.”

James D’Arc, Curator, BYU Film Music Archives, April 2002

Bishop's Wife

The Bishop’s Wife

Hugo Friedhofer (1901/1981) first worked for Goldwyn Studios in the late 1930s, orchestrating for Alfred Newman and, during Newman’s tenure there as music director, working on THE HURRICANE and THE GOLDWYN FOLLIES. His first score for Goldwyn was THE ADVENTURES OF MARCO POLO in 1938, which Alfred Newman conducted. It was nearly decade before Friedhofer scored another Goldwyn film, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, for which he received the Oscar for Best Score in 1946, the year prior to THE BISHOP’S WIFE. Friedhofer had just finished scoring BODY AND SOUL (starring John Garfield and Lilli Palmer) when he was invited by Goldwyn to score THE BISHOP’S WIFE. (1) Though Friedhofer had worked at Goldwyn, he had never met Goldwyn himself, as he later recalled: I walked into Goldwyn’s office, to confer with him and Henry, or ‘Bob’, Koster, who was the director on THE BISHOP’S WIFE. Goldwyn glared at me and said, in that strangely high-pitched voice of his… “You know, I saw last night the worst score I ever heard in my life.” I said. “What was that, Mr. Goldwyn?” He said. “A picture called BODY AND SOUL. Score was terrible.” So I started to get up out of my chair, and say, “Well, Mr. Goldwyn, in view of the fact that you don’t like the score, perhaps I’m not the right man to do the score for BISHOP’S WIFE.” And Bob Koster was sitting there, as I started to get up. Goldwyn waved me down, and then he turned to Koster with this strange grin on his face, and pointed to me, and said, “You know, he’s a very sensitive man.” And from then on, everything was fine. (2) [It] was a very pleasant experience, except – just to give you an idea of how Goldwyn operated – the minute that your name was mentioned, and he’d agreed that you were to do the picture, from that moment on, you were on the lot, and working on the picture, even though you may not have seen it at the time. (3)

Though Friedhofer did not discuss the musical needs of specific scenes with Goldwyn, he did play his themes for him; “I had worked for a few days on thematic material, and couldn’t come up with anything, and all of a sudden, he [Goldwyn] wanted to bring Koster down to my office and hear the themes. Well, I had some very, very, very vague ideas, and I was panic-stricken, because, you know, I’m a lousy pianist. But do you know that I actually, by the grace of God or somebody, I winged it. And what he heard he liked. I had a vague recall of it, and I said, ‘I hope this is something like what I improvised.’ It turned out that it was, and after that, everything was O.K. He didn’t show up at the recordings or in dubbing, except in the final recording on BISHOP’S WIFE. It was the end title, the sermon, and he loved it. Sam. Jr. had been at several of the recordings, and he was very happy with the score.” (4)

Most of the score is leitmotivic, though mainly in the sense that it uses leitmotivs (or themes) or the characters in the story. Such themes arc sometimes called “character themes” and are played when one of the characters is seen or referred to in the film. There are several principal themes and musical ideas in the score, each of which has a name on the conductor part for the score. (5) In the order in which they are introduced on the CD, the first is a short exclamatory motif entitled “From Another World,” alluding to Dudley’s heavenly origin and mission on earth. According to Friedhofer it was intended to evoke a “certain ‘other- worldly, mystical religiosity’.” (6) Comprised simply of two chords – a minor chord followed by a major chord a fourth higher – it is a typical Debussyme (characteristic of Debussy’s style). Sometimes sung by wordless choir, Friedhofer varies it in many adroit ways (or expressive effect, sometimes extending it by repeating the chords, while at other times making the chords slightly dissonant in a way that they sound rather more Ravelian than Debussyan, thus reflecting the prevalent synthesis of the two “impressionist” composers styles, sometimes called “Debussy-Ravel” or “Ravel-Debussy.” The use of these chords combined with the wordless chorus readily brings to mind a similar motif in the last of Debussy’s Three Nocturnes for orchestra (“Sirens”). (7) The previous year. Friedhofer had used this progression, scored for high strings, in one of the most poignant scenes in BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, where Homer removes his prosthetic hands as if baring his soul for his girl, Wilma. The year following BISHOP’S WIFE, Friedhofer used it in the music sung by Joan’s “voices” in his score for JOAN OF ARC. THE BISHOP’S WIFE was the first time Friedhofer had used the wordless choir as a musical device in his scores, though it had been widely used by other Hollywood composers previously (notably by Herbert Stothart, Franz Waxman, Max Steiner, and Alfred Newman).

The theme entitled “Dudley” actually consists of two distinct themes, only one of which is obviously Dudley’s theme in the film. Perhaps the Goldwyn music department assumed that “Dudley” had two parts, because at certain points in the score the first theme is adjoined to the second theme, and thus together were assigned the name “Dudley.” But for descriptive purposes, we shall treat them as though they are separate themes, and I shall call the first theme the “Main Theme,” because it seems rather like the theme of the whole film – the “big theme,” as was the tradition in Hollywood’s “Golden Age.” It seems to embody good cheer and good will toward men,’ as spread by Dudley to all those he encounters throughout the story. The second theme, of contrasting character, is more obviously Dudley’s theme, as becomes apparent from the various contexts in which Friedhofer uses it in the film. It consists of an ABAB form: “A” being an 8-note pentatonic motif, and “B” a hymn-like cadence. In the film we most frequently just hear the “A” part of the theme, which has a characteristic upward melodic leap of a ninth, reminiscent of the “Nightingale” music in Respighi’s Pines of Rome. As a bit of musical whimsy, Friedhofer typically has “A” played by saxophone, as if to suggest that Dudley is perhaps not the typical angel, but more like an earthly man with both charm and sex appeal. Los Angeles music critic Lawrence Morton likened it to the old concerto grosso form of Baroque music, which seems to be just what Friedhofer had in mind. On one occasion, Friedhofer said what he had in mind was a “Baroque put-on, and strictly tongue-in-cheek.” (8) As much as Bach, it recalls the Italian composer Pasquini, whose music Respighi arranged for his suite, The Birds. Friedhofer was quite enamored of Respighi’s music as a young music student, having studied Domenico Brescia, who was a former classmate of Respighi’s in Rome. The hymn-like cadence (B) is the same one he used in his “Boone City” theme in BEST YEARS As with the hymn-like “Boone City,” which Friedhofer called “Bachian.” he was turning to his musical roots. As he was fond of saying facetiously when referring to his German heritage, “Without a doubt the Kraut will out!”

Friedhofer created another motif by “Dudley” with “From Another World.” which is heard throughout the score when Dudley causes something miraculous to happen. It might be dubbed the “Miracle” music, and is comprised four musical ideas: Beginning with a high sustained note on Novachord (or Hammond organ) with high strings (harmonics), the chorus enters singing a sustained minor chord through which the “Dudley” theme is heard on sax, culminating with the chordal “From Another World.” “The Hat” is a motif associated with a fancy bonnet Julia admires in a store window, hoping that perhaps somehow it might be hers for Christmas. It begins with a paraphrase of the first few notes of the Christmas carol, “Away in a Manger.” “The Professor” is the theme of a curmudgeonly friend of the Broughams. Professor Wutheridge (Monty Woolley). Though it evokes the style of old-fashioned college hymns, Friedhofer’s scoring of the theme recalls a passage in Wagner’s Siegfried’s Idyll.

Though there is no theme for the Bishop himself, “Julia” is the theme for his wife, and is a warm flowing melody which perfectly matches her caring, nurturing character, “Debby” is the theme for the Brougham’s little girl, and quite simply reflects childhood innocence and simplicity. For this CD, the composer’s titles from his music manuscript for the score have been used for the track titles. These titles are not only more descriptive, but often witty. Unfortunately Friedhofer himself did not supply names for his themes, so a certain amount of guesswork is required as to who (or what) a given theme represents.

Bishop's Wife (2)

1. Main Title (1:31) The music begins with a joyous exclamation by chorus, orchestra, and organ of “From Another World” which with a shower of musical glitter leads into an exuberant statement of the Main Theme, followed by a hymn-like statement of “Dudley.” When I once played a recording of the main title for Friedhofer, he exclaimed with a smile. “I wasn’t raised on Johann Sebastian Bach for nuthin!” (9) As the screen credits end, we then see New York City from above, and slowly descending we hear, as if from heaven, celestial voices singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” It is Christmas in New York, and Dudley inconspicuously makes his entrance on a crowded, snow-covered city street amidst Christmas shoppers.

2. Professor and Julia (1:13) As Julia Brougham shops for a Christmas tree, she encounters her old friend. Professor Wutheridge, whose theme we hear. The Professor notices that Julia doesn’t have much holiday cheer and assumes it is because her husband, Henry, has not been successful in raising funds for a new cathedral. As a contribution to the cathedral fund, the Professor gives Julia his good luck piece, an old Roman coin. Julia cries on the Professor’s shoulder, saying how they miss all their old friends and old neighborhood, having now moved up in the world since her husband was made Bishop. Just as they part, the Professor bumps into Dudley, and “Miracle” music swells as Dudley greets the Professor as if the)’ are long lost friends.

3. Professor and Dudley (1:46) The Professor can’t seem to place Dudley and asks if they might have met in Vienna, when he was lecturing at the University there on Roman history. Crossing the street together, they narrowly avoid being hit by an approaching car that slams on its brakes, and we hear once again the “Miracle” music as the Professor spins around Dudley. Dudley says that he is interested in the Broughams and wants to know what troubles them. They stop for a moment outside Henry’s old church, St. Timothy’s. We hear a solemn, hymn-like passage for orchestra and organ (marked on the score poco religioso) as the Professor and Dudley look at a sign announcing a benefit to save the church. The Professor explains that the Bishop has come to associate with the “vulgar rich,” specifically Mrs. Hamilton (Gladys Cooper), who had him fired from his university. After Dudley and the Professor heartily shake hands and go their separate ways, the Professor asks a policeman standing nearby if he can tell him who Dudley might be, because he doesn’t recognize him. The policeman replies that he is a stranger to him as well.

4. Julia and Henry (1:38) Back at home, Julia finds Henry in a meeting with Mrs. Hamilton about the cathedral she wants built in memory of her late husband. There is a painting of the new cathedral above the fireplace in Henry’s study. Mrs. Hamilton is not pleased with the Bishop’s ideas about what needs to be done, and leaves. As Julia and Henry retire to dinner, a motif entitled “Till Death do us Part” alludes to the sad state of the Broughams’ marriage due to the Bishop’s ambitions, and recalls something of the tragic quality of the ”Liebestod” in Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. Julia’s theme is introduced on cello, as Henry tries to be conciliatory and suggests that they have lunch the following day at Michel’s, a favorite old restaurant of theirs.

5. Enter Dudley (1:46) Henry’s well-meaning plan to spend the next day with Julia is nixed as he learns that he has previously scheduled engagements. Alone in his study he becomes pensive, and a solemn bass line in the cellos and basses reflects the depth of his frustration and despair. He prays, “Oh God, what am I to do? Can’t you help me? Can’t you tell me? Oh God, please help me.” At that moment, a high-pitched tone is sounded on Hammond organ – the beginning of the “Miracle” music – as Henry looks up transfixed to see the painting of the new cathedral gradually become illuminated with preternatural light. In “The Cathedral,” marked ethereal, the whole string section crescendos with successive iterations of the “From Another World” chords, only here in a much grander way, accented with chimes, mirroring the awe of the illuminated cathedral. Just then, the door closes and we hear the “Dudley” theme. Henry goes to see who it might be, but no one is there. Piquantly dissonant, a Ravelian variation of “From Another World” follows, as Henry turns around to see a man standing in shadow next to his desk. It is Dudley, who explains that he is an angel who has been sent in answer to Henry’s prayer. Overwrought and weary from fatigue, Henry doubts his own senses.

6. Exit Dudley (1:19) Julia comes into the study, and Dudley introduces himself as Henry’s new assistant. After Julia leaves, we hear the “Miracle” music as Henry turns around to find that Dudley has disappeared as mysteriously as he appeared. Bewildered and nervous, Henry returns to dinner.

7. Next Morning (1:31) Heralded by “From Another World,” Dudley reports for work, much to Henry’s surprise. The festive Main Theme is juxtaposed with “Dudley,” paraphrasing the themes as they heard are the main title, here orchestrated more lightly. Dudley introduces himself to the Broughams’ maid, Matilda (Elsa Lanchester), and to Henry’s prim and proper secretary, Mildred (Sara Haden), who are both charmed by him.

8. Dudley Takes Over & The Miraculous Snowball (4:45) Henry leaves Dudley in charge and sets out to attend his various meeting engagements. Dudley plans to reorganize the card index of Henry’s prospective donors to the cathedral fund. Before doing that, Dudley notices on a table the old Roman coin the Professor gave Julia, studies it quizzically and then puts it in his pocket. The Broughams’ little daughter, Debby, appears in the doorway, and her theme is introduced as she meets Dudley for the first time. Julia comes downstairs and takes Debby with her for the afternoon. In a miraculous gesture, Dudley tosses a stack of index cards in his hand into the air and they magically sort themselves, each dropping into its proper place in the card file, Friedhofer’s music ‘Mickey-Mousing’ it all in an impressionistic flurry of woodwinds and harp.
Having made short work of his duties, Dudley leaves the house and catches up with Julia and Debby at a snow-covered park where a group of children are having a snowball fight. Debby wants to play too, but the other children think she’s too little, and besides, she can’t fight because her father is the Bishop. There is a veritable scherzo based on the Main Theme and “Debby,” as Dudley helps the little girl make a snowball and aim it so that it miraculously hits its target – the boy who refused to let her play. With that, all the boys want Debby on their team.

9. Matilda Materializes (0:37) Dudley suggests to Julia that they lunch at Michel’s, but Julia can’t leave Debby. By chance, Matilda just happens to appear – as we hear the “Miracle” music – having finished her Christmas shopping so quickly that “It was like a miracle.” she says. She offers to take Debby home after she is finished playing.

10. Chez Michel (2:34) Three gossipy old ladies look on with suspicion as Julia enters the restaurant with a handsome stranger rather than with her husband, the Bishop. Julia explains to Dudley that they are members of the cathedral committee. Dudley orders the meal by speaking to Michel in perfect French – explaining lo Julia that he has spent a great deal of lime in Paris. A Gypsy palm reader leaves her card at the table, which gives Dudley the idea to read Julia’s palm – without even looking at it. Friedhofer’s whimsical restaurant music, “Polka Caprice,” adds to the fun.

11. The Holy Bottle (4:45) The Professor invites Julia and Dudley to his flat for a glass of sherry. The music blends humor and pathos, as the Professor confesses to that he hasn’t even written a word on his history of Rome. Dudley relates a story that captures the Professors interest. He explains that the old Roman coin the Professor gave Julia is a great rarity, having been minted by Julius Caesar to pay Cleopatra’s hotel bills while she visited him in Rome, and that all but this one coin had been melted down by Caesar’s wife out of jealousy. As they sip their sherry, the bottle miraculously refills itself – with Dudley’s help.  When Julia and the Professor ask Dudley where he is from, there is a particularly Debussyan development of “From Another World” as Dudley says he is from another planet, adding that because we all come from our own little planets, that’s what makes us different and makes life interesting.

12. David and the Lion (2:28) In perhaps the most beautiful scene in the film, Debby asks Dudley to tell her a story, and he obliges by telling her the Bible story of David and the lion. He recounts how an angel told the shepherd David that one of his sheep had strayed from the fold and was in danger of being eaten by a lion. The angel then gave David the idea to use his slingshot against the lion, and then after repelling the lion. David was so happy that he wrote a song – the 23rd Psalm. Friedhofer’s sensitive musical treatment of this scene was such that when I played a recording of it for him, he was touched by it again I that his eyes welled up with tears, and declared fervently, “I love that film!” He also noted that the music for this sequence reflected certain stylistic touches of Mahler. (10)

13. Taxi Cab & Dudley’s Dirty Trick (0:54) Henry is to meet with Mrs. Hamilton to finalize her bequest to the new cathedral, while Dudley and Julia attend choir rehearsal at St, Timothy’s for the upcoming church benefit. In the cab Henry almost says the word “angel” in talking to Dudley, but the car hits a bump in the road preventing him, and we hear again the “Miracle” music. At Mrs. Hamilton’s big mansion, Henry tries to finish his business quickly in lime to join Julia and Dudley for the choir rehearsal, but he finds that he is stuck lo the chair in which he is sitting.

14. Choir Rehearsal (2:20) The choir boys, late to rehearsal, slowly file into St. Timothy’s while Dudley takes the lead and rehearses them in “O Sing to God (Noel),” a Christmas song with verse by Rev. B. Webb, set to the music of French composer, Charles Gounod. The choir boys were in reality the Mitchell Boychoir, and the choral arrangement was made by its director, Robert Mitchell, with organ accompaniment arranged by Friedhofer. An obbligato part featuring female voices was later overdubbed over the boys’ choir for a sort of choral halo of celestial voices, arranged by choral arranger Charles Henderson. (11) Friedhofer recalled. “I remember the Mitchell Boychoir very well. They were son of an enlarged version of the Dead End Kids. A bunch of little devils, actually. But after we got through with the recording… Emil Newman said, ‘Come on, kids. You’re all going to get some ice cream.’ So they all went over to the commissary and wouldn’t you know it, every one of them ordered banana splits.” (12)

15. Tut: Hat and Sylvester (1:39) Leaving St. Timothy’s with Dudley, Julia notices that the fancy bonnet she has been admiring in the hat shop store window is being removed, Dudley follows Julia as she rushes into the shop. We hear the wistful “Hat” theme just as a woman is trying it on. But when the woman sees Dudley in the mirror shaking his head, she decides not to buy it. Next, we see a very happy Julia wearing the bonnet in the taxi with Dudley. Julia asks the taxi driver. Sylvester (James Gleason), to drive through Central Park.

16. Sylvester Misses (0:30) Distracted by Dudley and Julia, Sylvester doesn’t notice an oncoming truck until, at the last moment. Dudley laps him on the shoulder and he abruptly swerves out of the way. Trembling with fear, Sylvester says it was almost a miracle – as we hear the “Miracle” music.

The-Bishop’s-Wife17. Central Park (5:36) Driving through Central Park, they see ice skaters and stop. Before long, Dudley, Julia, and even Sylvester are all out on the ice, skating, performing figure skating that neither Julia nor Sylvester would have been capable of without Dudley’s assistance. Scored with a medley of elegant waltzes (one of which cleverly incorporates references to the Main Theme and the “Hat” theme and a polka, Friedhofer interpolates allusions to the “Miracle” music and the “Dudley” theme, transforming this sequence into a ballet on tee, and projecting a sense of magic and giddy elation. Friedhofer recalled. “There was always a transition from the real to the miraculous, when the angel (Dudley) gets out on the ice and does all this fantastic figure skating, and finally lures Jimmy Gleason out on the ice. It was a fun thing to do, but it was a back breaker, because I think the sequence lasted something like seven or eight minutes, all told. That was the last thing I wrote in the score. It was one of those sequences that you look at, and you sort of hope that maybe it will go away. But I finally started work on it on a Saturday afternoon, and worked all through, late into Saturday night, and then got up very early on Sunday morning and worked around the clock, until early Monday evening, when the orchestra was called. I staggered over onto the stage to hear it.” (13)

18. Dudley Vanishes (0:49) Jealous of Dudley Henry finally tells him to get out, and Dudley obliges. Julia appears and asks where Dudley has gone and Henry tells her that he has fired him.

19. Julia and Debby (1:13) Debby is upset that Dudley has left and that it is almost Christmas Eve. Julia assures her that Dudley wouldn’t just leave without saying a word, and that besides, he promised to tell Debby about Santa Claus, whom he knows very well.

20. Sermon and Tree (4:09) While Henry leaves Mildred the manuscript of his Christmas Eve sermon to type, we hear the “Miracle” music as Dudley appears and offers to relieve her of the chore of typing, so that she can do her Christmas shopping. Dudley discards the sermon and dictates a new one – “The Story of an Empty Stocking” – which the typewriter automatically types as he speaks. The “Dudley” theme on sax alternates with a sprightly, almost elfish treatment of the Main Theme, and we hear reprised the Debussyan development of “From Another World” first heard in “The Holy Bottle.” Afterwards, Dudley takes over from Matilda, putting the ornaments on their Christmas tree. After a warm reference to “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” there is a magical burst of impressionist color in the orchestra as Dudley decorates the tree without touching a single ornament, his theme played on vibraphone.

21. Mrs. Hamilton & Lost April (4:13) Having arrived unannounced at Mrs. Hamilton’s, Dudley sees there is a harp in her palatial living room. The harp plays a few notes of the “Dudley” theme by itself, followed by an allusion to the “Miracle” music, when Dudley notices a decorative box on the table, which he unlocks (without a key). Inside he finds a folded music manuscript entitled “Lost April” inscribed to Mrs. Hamilton, from a certain Allen Cartwright (in reality it was written by Emil Newman and Herb Spencer, developed by Friedhofer, and arranged tor harp by Gail Laughton). After glancing at it and humming the melody, Dudley goes to the harp and plays it (how appropriate for an angel to be playing the harp!), Hearing the music. Mrs. Cartwright comes downstairs looking bewildered as Dudley plays like a virtuoso. As he finishes playing, the orchestra tenderly continues it as Mrs. Hamilton confides that the music was written by a struggling composer with whom she was in love as a young woman.

22. The Bishop Considers (0:54) Henry and Julia come to Mrs. Hamilton’s to find her a changed woman, having decided to give her money to charity rather than build the cathedral, Henry, almost dazed by this turn of events, departs, and we see him next walking in the snow outside old St. Timothy’s, where he pauses reflectively. The solemn, hymn-like music for old church from “Professor and Dudley” is reprised. Henry walks on and ends up at the flat of the Professor, who welcomes him warmly.

23. You are a Man & Dudley and Julia (2:15) Henry tells the Professor that he feels Dudley has made Julia despise him, though the Professor doesn’t believe that. He explains to Henry that he has an advantage over Dudley in that he and Julia are mortals. He tells Henry to fight for Julia’s love. “Till Death Do Us Part” is heard as Henry departs, absorbed in thought. At home, Julia and Matilda admire the wonderful job Dudley did dressing the Christmas tree, as we hear the Main Theme and “Dudley” played gently. A wistful statement of Julia’s theme (marked ethereal) is heard as Dudley tells Julia that his work is almost finished and that he will be moving along and not be coming hack, because his “Superior Officers” never send him to the same place twice, to prevent him from forming attachments. Realizing that Dudley’s affection for her is something more than friendship, she tells him that he must leave and never return, as we hear a poignant statement of “From Another World.” Henry arrives just as Julia runs upstairs, and Henry angrily challenges Dudley to fight. Dudley defuses Henrys anger by telling him that he is leaving, after Henry avows that he will not lose Julia.

24. Dudley’s Farewell (1:09) Henry complains that his prayer has not been granted because the building of the cathedral has failed. Dudley reminds him that he prayed for guidance, not for a cathedral. As Dudley explains that once he is gone there will be no memory of him, the Debussyan development of “From Another World” (marked mistico – “mistical”) is reprised one last time, here resembling Debussy’s “Sirens” more than ever, as if Friedhofer were alluding to earthly passion, and as Dudley admits that “When an immortal finds himself envying the mortal entrusted to his care, it is a danger signal.” Bidding Henry farewell, Dudley tells him what a “lucky devil” he is to have such a wonderful wife, and to kiss her for him. As Dudley leaves, Henry turns to look at the painting of the cathedral, which lights up again as we hear a reprise of the “Cathedral” music heard in “Enter Dudley”.

25. Reconciliation, Sermon & End Title, End Cast (3:43) Henry rushes upstairs lo see Julia and finds her in Debby’s room, kissing their little daughter goodnight. There is a brief allusion lo the “Miracle” music as Julia asks Henry if he got the angel doll that is above Debby’s bed. As Henry gently kisses Julia, and her theme is slated very tenderly, Julia seems surprised by his affection, and he confesses that he has the “most inexplicable feeling of happiness.’’
A devotional, hymn-like statement of “Dudley” is heard as Henry at St. Timothy’s finds himself delivering a sermon he did not write – “The Story of an Empty Stocking,” which Dudley wrote for him. Only momentarily perplexed, Henry soon warms to the words of the sermon, which reminds the congregation whose birthday they are celebrating on Christmas, though we don’t even remember to put up a stocking for him. Like a hymn, the Main Theme is reprised, and Henry, the Bishop, asks them to consider what that child born in a manger long ago would wish for most. He adds, “Let each put in his share of loving kindness, warm house, and a stretched out hand of tolerance – all the shining gifts that make peace on earth.” With that, the “Dudley” theme returns in an exalted crescendo, as we see Dudley standing outside the church. Smiling with satisfaction, knowing that his work is done, Dudley walks away as snow begins to fall, and a final, noble statement of the Main Theme brings the film to a close. A full, warm-hearted statement of Julia’s theme is heard, here almost Brahmsian in character, during the End Cast.

26. Intermission Music (3:00) Scored for strings and harp, an elegant arrangement of “Lost April” serves as the intermission music (presumably heard after the end of the film before he second feature). The score was orchestrated by Jerome Moross and Marlin Skiles, and conducted by Emil Newman. Looking back in 1974, Friedhofer said that the “Bishops Wife was fun. It remains to this day one of my favorite pictures. It’s a very warm and very charming picture.” (14)

William H. Rosar

1. Irene Kahn Atkins, An American Film Institute / Louis B. Mayer Foundation Oral History – Hugo Friedhofer, 1974. p. 100.
2 Ibid
3 Ibid, p 99.
4 Ibid. p. 101.
5 Hugo Friedhofer Papers, The Bishop’s Wife, Sketches and Conductor Part. Special Collections, Brigham Young University.
6 Hugo Friedhofer, Letter to the author, December 14, 1976.
7 Debussy’s Sonata for Violin and Piano actually begins with those two chords.
8 Hugo Friedhofer, Letter to the author, October 12, 1976.
9 Hugo Friedhofer, Personal interview with the author, January 22. 1977.
10 Hugo Friedhofer, Personal interview with the author, January 22. 197.7
11 Atkins, loc. cit., p. 249.
12 Ibid
13 Ibid, pp. 249-50.
14 Ibid. p. 248.

Republished online with permission from BYU Film Music Archive © 2002
Special thanks to James V. D’Arc, Curator and William H. Rosar
Motion Picture artwork and photos © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

One thought on “The Bishop’s Wife

  1. Niven does an excellent job with the character, keeping him just this side of prim but making him sympathetic especially when he asks Dudley to put up his fists for Julia.

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