FRANK SPENCER, UNSUNG HERO OF THE SILVER SCREEN.

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Frank Spencer was a composer who contributed to numerous motion pictures and shorts during the 1940, s and up to the late 1950, s. To say his contributions to British cinema were immense is certainly something of an understatement, yet, his name is not more widely recognised amongst collectors and aficionados of film music. He was for a short time associated with Hammer films scoring their version of the DICK BARTON tales in the form of DICK BARTON STRIKES BACK and writing the scores for movies such as CLOUDBURST and THE ADVENTURES OF PC 49.

 

Spencer was born on July 19th, 1911 in Edinburgh Scotland. He was the first musical director/supervisor for the Hammer studios and it was his job to ensure that each of the films that Hammer produced and released received a score that was appropriate, although he was given the title of musical supervisor Spencer often wrote the scores himself. His first scoring assignment is documented as THE JACK OF DIAMONDS in 1949, which was directed by Vernon Sewell it was an adventure movie which focused upon an ex-soldier who persuades the owners of a yacht to take him to the Belgian coast to attempt to recover a treasure chest which he had hidden there during the second world war. The film which starred, Nigel Patrick, Cyril Raymond and Joan Carrol who was the director’s wife. The film was distributed by Exclusive films who later also distributed many of the early Hammer releases.

_The_Jack_of_Diamonds_During his time at Hammer from 1949 to 1952 Spencer was involved with many movies, CECILIA, (for which he shared a credit with Rupert Grayson), ROOM TO LET, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, THE LAST PAGE (U.S. A. title MAN BAIT), TWO ON THE TILES (which was a Van Dyke release), THE DARK LIGHT, DEATH OF AN ANGEL and THE ROSSITER CASE to highlight just a handful of pictures he wrote for and to draw attention to the composers output in this short period of time.

 

He also worked on a few non-Hammer movies during the same period these included THE CAT GIRL (for AIP) and THE MASTER PLAN where his stock or library music was used without him being given any credits, he also acted as conductor on a handful of projects these included and THE BLACK WIDOW which was a 13-part serial produced by Republic films in 1951. Spencer contributed much to film and it is somewhat disconcerting that he is overlooked and almost forgotten.

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