Wall Street Journal notice and summer reading with Nathan Platte

Dr. Platte’s most recent book, Making Music in Selznick’s Hollywood, is featured in the Wall Street Journal‘s “Five Best” column, where biographer Steven Smith (Music by Max Steiner) shares his favorite books on film music. Platte’s book shares the shelf with The Music of James Bond, by Variety journalist Jon Burlingame, and the memoirs of composer Henry Mancini, fittingly titled Did They Mention the Music?

A Damsel in Distress (1937) – George Gershwin, Fred Astaire and ...
Fred Astaire, Gracie Allen and George Burns in Damsel in Distress (1937)

Platte also has two chapters in recent publications. In The Cambridge Companion to Gershwin (ed. Anna Celenza), his chapter shows how different directors visualized Gershwin’s contributions in the films Shall We Dance? and Damsel in Distress. In Voicing the Cinema (eds. James Buhler and Hannah Lewis), Platte combs through production memos, scripts, and scores from the Four Daughters films. There he finds an onscreen/offscreen drama in which shared musical composition is positively envisioned by screenwriter Lenore Coffee but threatened by colleagues more hungry for credit than collaboration.

And what’s Platte reading these days? Smith’s Music by Max Steiner, Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, and Jill Lepore’s These Truths. Happy reading, everyone.