(Welcome to The Movies That Made Star Wars, a series where we explore the films and television properties that inspired George Lucas’s iconic universe. In this edition: King’s Row.)

George Lucas is the sort of filmmaker who takes his influences from everywhere. It doesn’t matter if they seem to fit at first. The way his mind works, any mishmash of things can make sense when they’re put together through the camera lens of his brain. One of the things he wanted to do with the whizz-bang fantasy world of Star Wars was give it music that would make it feel grounded and emotional.

In an interview on the THX remastered VHS releases of the original trilogy, George Lucas related to film critic Leonard Maltin his desire for the score: “I had known Steven Spielberg for a long time up to this point. And we were talking about the film real early on when I was writing the script, and I said ‘I want a classical score. I want the Korngold kind of feel about this thing, it’s an old fashioned kind of movie, and I want that grand soundtrack that they used to have on movies,’ and he said, ‘The guy you’ve got to talk to is John Williams. He did Jaws, I love him, he’s the greatest composer that ever lived. You’ve got to talk to him!’ and so I did.”

One of the most famous scores by Erich Wolfgang Korngold was composed for the 1942 film Kings Row and it would play an indelible part in the history of Star Wars. And as we all know, Lucas took Spielberg’s advice and John Williams was hired, knowing he’d be able to bring that Korngold sound to life.

In this installment of The Movies That Made Star Wars, we’ll talk about Korngold’s music that inspired Star Wars, and, specifically, King’s Row.

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