This interview has been a while coming to publication,the reason for this is because the tape which it was recorded on was lost,but thankfully after some years i came across it in a box of other little treasures, That I had obviously place in a safe hiding hole and then promptly forgot where I put them. The story behind the interview is as follows, a while ago i reviewed some wonderful compilations that had been issued on MONSTROUS MOVIE MUSIC and I was so knocked out by the quality of the re-recordings and the actual music I was hearing that I faxed the company,(yes faxed-this was before the internet). David Schecter of MMM got back to me straight away and was even instrumental in getting the reviews I had written published in a magazine that was doing the rounds at the time(yes a proper magazine) . Anyway I was amazed to hear that Irvin Gertz was still alive and well, so I asked david how about an interview, sure he said send me the questions, which I did and a few weeks later a cassette tape popped through the letter box, as i have explained this was promptly lost by yours truly, and when i found it I was happy and sad because the composer had in the mean time passed away, and also the tape had been damaged by damp I suspect, so what follows is all that is left of the interview,nevertheless its an interesting few paragraphs and also a little bit of film music history. Thanks David Schecter, thanks Mr Gertz,R.I.P….JM.


JM You began scoring motion pictures at Columbia Films in 1941, was writing music for film something that you set out to do, or was it something that happened as your career progressed ?
I had always wanted to compose music, but particularly was interested in writing for the cinema. This was something I had always had in mind, during my teens I attended the Providence college of music which was a non academic school, I studied privately there in all aspects of composition, and also took up training in orchestration with Walter Piston which was in Boston, later when I was actually composing for movies in Hollywood I continued to study with Mario Castelnuvio .
Where did the idea come from to utilize the electric violin in the score for THE ALLIGATOR PEOPLE.

I had first used the electric violin in THE DEADLY MANTIS which was a movie produced by Universal Pictures, I thought that the instruments range and versatility was wonderful and the sound created was so distinctive, especially when in the hands of a seasoned and talented performer. The that we got from the instrument was perfect and was what I had wanted for both of the pictures.

alligator people
JM How long did it take you to score THE ALLIGATOR PEOPLE,
IG. It took me 1 week to compose and orchestrate, I work quickly, the orchestra I used consisted of around 36 musicians, which was quite large for a film of this type. This was normally how much time I was allotted per film.

When scoring a picture, how early on in the proceedings do you like to become involved ?
IG. I always prefer to see the movie, not interested in the script etc, I like to score what I see on the screen.

THE MONOLITH MONSTERS and IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, were movies that you were involved with, were these all original scores with music by yourself, or did the studio utilize other composers music from the library, which I understand was during this period the practice ?

MV5BMTMwNzE5NjE0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjY2MDEyMQ@@._V1_SX214_IG. Monolith Monsters, was a picture I worked on and wrote original music for, but as you say there was some music tracked onto the picture from the library of music the studio had put together, composers such as Henry Mancini, Herman Stein, William Lava etc. This music had appeared within other movies. But with IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, that was a completely original score, all original music, and we established cinematic items or little musical clips that we could latch onto to identify certain characters in the movie


What was your music relationship like with Joseph Gersheson,

IG, Fine just fine (laughs)
What composers would you say have influenced you ?

Over the years I have to say Korngold and Waxmn influenced me the most, they were absolutely marvelous at scoring motion pictures,

Cover of "It Came From Outer Space"
Cover of It Came From Outer Space

Does your approach differ when scoring a TV project as opposed to working on a feature film ?

IG I approach each one in a similar fashion, I write to and for the picture, I find the difference minimal, so I write music to enhance what I see on the screen large or small.
Have you a score of your own that you look upon with particular affection ?
Yes I do, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN, it was just a pleasure to work on.

Jm When asked to work on a project, did you have a lot to do with the producer or director, or would they leave you to your own devices ?

No, I would meet with either the producer or director, and maybe the editor at times, and get what ever ideas they might have, after this I would then continue on my own way with the assignment, so after meeting with the producer etc, I would normally proceed unimpeded.

JM  You are a conductor as well as a composer, did you prefer to conduct your scores and work on your own orchestrations ?

I do prefer my own conducting, but at times this was not possible due to time normally and I had to be in the recording booth to supervise. So I would hire a conductor, or at least the studio would hire one, I did like to do my own orchestrations though, as I think orchestration is all part of the composing process and the composers personality can come through in his orchestrations.



Cast your mind back if you can to the late 1960,s and the 1970,s,when composers such as Ron Goodwin were active in film scoring and Henry Mancini and his like were busy releasing albums of music that included well know film themes and also standards or easy listening numbers. Even Ronnie Aldrich released a number of albums which included his particular take on certain film themes, and LeRoy Holmes dipped into the film music pool more than once with albums of western themes and other cinematic classics. There was also Stanley black and his excellent series of film music collections on Phase 4,and lets not forget Mantovani because he too occasionally included the odd film theme along the way in his many albums. Then there was the wonderful Geoff Love and his orchestra,Love had of course become familiar to TV audiences via his connections with Max Bygraves and was also very active as an arranger and musical director for numerous other recording stars. But it was the Film music albums that Love released during the 1970,s that made him a household name within the film music collecting fraternity. The majority of the albums were pretty good and faithful to the original compositions. These albums for film music collectors at the time were gift from heaven as many soundtracks did not get a release back in those days, and especially with spaghetti western themes Love’s western collections were brilliant for collectors to listen to, even if they were not the originals at least we had something to remind us of the music we had heard in the cinema, as in A MAN A HORSE AND A GUN and the brilliant version of SABATA. I think the most appealing Geoff Love collection was his 1971 release, BIG WAR THEMES on the Music for Pleasure label, good old MFP, but saying this most of the themes that were on this album were in fact available in their original form i.e.: WHERE EAGLES DARE,BATTLE OF BRITAIN,633 SQUADRON,THE GREAT ESCAPE, GUNS OF NAVARONE,LAWRENCE OF ARABIA,VICTORY AT SEA,THE DAM BUSTERS etc etc. But I suppose it was a case of well might as well have the album and then wont have to hop from album to album, or something like that anyway. Music for Pleasure, no longer exists as far as I am aware, but EMI have re-issued a number of the MFP recordings on compact disc under the COMPACTS FOR PLEASURE banner, and BIG WAR THEMES is one of them, it is not an exact re-run of the original album in fact there are a few extra cues, but at least the collection has the core themes from the original release, all the aforementioned are present and correct, so we can put the CD on and wallow in nostalgia, plus we are treated to Love’s own versions of Clifton Parker’s epic war soundtrack from SINK THE BISMARK, Robert Cobert’s haunting and romantically laced opening theme for the TV blockbuster THE WINDS OF WAR Stanley Myers ever popular Cavatina from THE DEER HUNTER and the theme from LWT’s series WE’LL MEET AGAIN by Dennis King. There is also a track representing Miklos Rozsa’s THE GREEN BERETS, which I know was on the original MFP LP but the score was not available until a few years ago when FSM released it and IS PARIS BURNING by Maurice Jarre, most of the tracks are taken from the 1971 release, but there are just a handful that have been culled from a 1975 compilation, i.e.; THE COLDITZ MARCH by Robert Farnon which opened the now classic BBC series and THE 8TH ARMY MARCH by Eric Coates. Let us also not forget that Love also recorded under the non de plume of MANUEL AND THE MUSIC OF THE MOUNTAINS and under this name he also recorded numerous albums that although not completely dedicated to film music,they included their fair share of music from the movies.





This is a brilliant compact disc that not only evokes memories of the film that the music comes from but also it re-kindles the buzz one used to get from going out on a Saturday and searching through second hand stores and department stores for soundtracks old and new, in the hope that you would unearth something that was special. Nowadays, it’s a case of type in the title, click on buy and then wait for the postman, easier yes I suppose, but more exciting more interesting, more gratifying? HELL NO !