Bright Lights Film Journal

Film Composer Confusion – The Two Steins

I have a confession to make. Since reading the obituary of film composer Herman Stein who passed away on March 15th of this year, I finally realized that he and film composer Ronald Stein were not the same person. They weren’t even related!

Herman Stein (1915-2007) was a staff composer for Universal Pictures in the 1950s contributing to scores – frequently uncredited – for films by Joseph M. Newman (This Island Earth), Jack Arnold (The Incredible Shrinking Man), Anthony Mann (The Far Country) and Douglas Sirk (The Tarnished Angels). You can listen to some samples of Herman Stein’s music here.

Ronald Stein (1930-1988) was a staff composer for American International Pictures in the ’50s and ’60s. His most memorable scores were for films directed by Roger Corman (The Undead, Premature Burial, The Haunted Palace), Richard Rush (Psych-Out), and Francis Ford Coppola (The Rain People). You can listen to samples of Ronald Stein’s music here.

The problem is that Herman Stein – coincidentally – also worked for Corman, composing the score for Corman’s 1961 desegregation drama, The Intruder (starring William Shatner, above). Hence, my longtime confusion.

Both Steins were outstanding film composers whose work should be better known.

[P.S. Happy 81st Birthday, Roger!]