Mickeymousing is a real technical term in movie-making. It refers to making the music match the action on the screen precisely and it derives from when Carl Stalling was musical director for Walt Disney and did enough of it to make the term stick. The well-regarded Max Steiner (many Oscar nominations, three wins) was kown for his tendency to mickeymouse. Reportedly, while working on DARK VICTORY, Bette Davis had to go up a flight of stairs at the end, for the big dramatic finish. She paused and asked if Steiner was doing the music. "Either I'm going up these stairs, or Max Steiner is going up these stairs," she is reported as saying, "But we're not going up together."
Miss Davis went up those stairs and Max Steiner wrote the score.
In this six-and-a-half-minute short -- you knew I'd get around to it eventually, didn't you? -- Castleton Knight takes Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C Minor and imagines it as a score for a movie.... and then writes and directs and stars in a movie about a man who reads Poe's "The Premature Burial" and falls asleep, to have nightmarish dreams. With sound-on-film growing popular in the US and the swankiest London movie palaces,, it's a great experiment. You could have the house orchestra play the Rachmaninoff piece while this showed, or even record the Prelude on one of those discs or film tracks.
It was such an interesting experiment that within a couple of years, Walt Disney, would begin his series of Silly Symphonies. He could afford it, what with the success of Mickey Mouse and to keep his musical director, Carl Stalling happy, and ultimately FANTASIA.
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