Born Agnes Elizabeth Lutyens on July 9th 1906,in Bloomsbury London. She began her musical studies in Paris and then continued these at the Royal College of Music. She was to become the first Female composer to write music for films in Gt Britain. During the early 1930s she made various attempts to break into the world of film scoring, but it was finally via the efforts of Muir Mathieson that she actually became involved in film music, it was because of this well know British movie music icon that Lutyens was given her first scoring assignment in 1944, this was not a full motion picture score however, but was for a Royal Air force newsreel film for which she provided a march entitled BUSTLE for WAAF,s. The march which was similar in style to the quirky theme and scores that Malcolm Arnold composed for the St Trinians films was received well.
It was at around the same period that Lutyens also composed music for Crown Film Unit productions in which the composer decided to give the documentaries she worked on music that has more of an epic sound abandoning at this time her normal 12 tone style approach to composition. After this she became in demand and worked on a further four documentaries and with these completed she was commissioned to work on numerous short films. Her approach to scoring films was somewhat different from other composers working in film during this time, Lutyens preferring to wait until the movie was completed or in its rough cut stage before even viewing it and then deciding what music should be provided, her outlook and opinion of music in film was that it should not be overpowering or overbearing but should underline and maybe punctuate discreetly. Whilst other composers at this time such as Bliss, saw music as a more integral component and also an equal part of the film making process with composers being involved at times long before the cameras had started to roll. In 1960, Lutyens began to work more regularly on actual movies her first foray into this area of music for the moving image being DON’T BOTHER TO KNOCK, it was at this time that Phil Martell began to work with Lutyens and he would conduct the majority of her work for the cinema and was of the opinion that She had a natural flair and aptitude to create music for film.
It was Martell, who eventually mentored Lutyens and guided her in the art of film scoring and at times was the voice of restraint when Lutyens occasionally employed a more experimental style. But it was her 12 tone system that attracted Hammer films to Lutyens as a composer as her sound and style proved to be more than effective and the collaboration between Hammer and the composer was a very productive one and it is probably true to say that it was Elizabeth Lutyens music for horror films that brought her recognition and also monetary security. DR TERRORS HOUSE OF HORRORS, THE EARTH DIES SCREAMING, THE SKULL and TERRORNAUTS all benefited from Lutyens original and distinctive sound. She passed away on April 14th 1983.