Benjamin Frankel was born in London in 1906, he had originally served as an apprentice to a watchmaker, he became a proficient pianist and also played violin, he began to study music composition at the Guildhall School of Music in London in 1923. His career in music began as a jazz violinist, mainly in night clubs and he also performed with bands aboard ships. He worked as a musical director in London’s West End which included working on productions and shows by Cochrane and Noel Coward. In 1949 Frankel scored the thriller NIGHT AND THE CITY but his music was removed from the film outside of England because of contractual disputes and the movie was re-scored by Franz Waxman, it was not until 2003 that Frankel’s music was heard outside of the U.K. and it is thought that if his music had remained intact on the American print of the movie it would have been the breakthrough that the composer so richly deserved. One of his best loved pieces of music was actually an enchanting number which is essentially light music but was featured in the movie SO LONG AT THE FAIR which starred a fresh faced jean Simmons and a handsome young actor named Dirk Bogarde in 1950. When the film was first released it was this particular piece that attracted most people and because of its popularity was recorded by Charles Williams and his orchestra and more recently has appeared on a recording from the Marco Polo stable. The composer also wrote a similar haunting piece for A KID FOR TWO FARTHINGS, which was an enchanting British movie from 1955, which starred Diana Dors and David Kosoff, again Frankel’s music was recorded by another orchestra and George Melachrinois probably the composer who most think wrote the charming piece.
Frankel worked on a number of Ealing comedies one of the most prominent being THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT(1951). But it is probably the composers more robust and complex writing for cinema that he is best remembered for, BATTLE OF THE BULGE,CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF,NIGHT OF THE IGUANA etc all contained striking and vibrant scores. Frankel seemed to be more at home or at least more comfortable when writing complex and even more extreme sounding music for film, but even within the extreme music for CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF the composer does at one point return to a more simple, more melodic style in a delightful pastoral piece which itself in many ways echoes the composers work on SO LONG AT THE FAIR and A KID FOR TWO FARTHINGS. Apart from and as well as his music for film the composer has written extensively for the concert hall and based many of his compositions of serious music on a personal version of twelve tone serial technique, which he also employed within a number of his scores for the cinema stretching the tonality of his music to the limit, with effective and resounding results. He died on February 12th 1973 in London.