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Louis Applebaum


B: April 3, 1918 in Toronto, Ontario

D: April 20, 2000 in Toronto, Ontario

Louis Applebaum was perhaps Canada’s most prolific composer of film music. He studied at the University of Toronto where he completed his work for a Bachelor of Music, but didn’t take the final examinations. Instead, he moved to New York to study composition in the early 1940s. It is thought that it was here, in New York, that he fell in love with the worlds of theatre and movies. He wrote over 250 scores for NFB films, where he was the musical director from 1942 to 1948 and a staff composer right up until 1960. His score for The Story of G.I. Joe earned him an Academy Award nomination in 1946. While still composing for the NFB he became the first musical director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 1953 and founded the Stratford Ontario Music Festival in 1955. Applebaum resigned from administrative duties at Stratford in 1960, although he continued to provide incidental music to the festival until 1999. It was in 1960 that Applebaum launched his first private company, Group Four productions, where he served as President. That effort closed its doors in 1966. Comfortable in a wide range of styles, from full symphonic works to choral pieces and modern classical, Applebaum also composed jazz. Horror film buffs and Canadian film historians often remember him for his groundbreaking work on the 1961 feature, The Mask. Applebaum was awarded the Order of Canada in 1976 and was elevated to Companion of the Order of Canada in 1995, just five years before his death. Although not impossible, it would be extremely difficult to catalogue every Louis Applebaum composition. This listing is but a small representation of his considerable output.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video release

13 Platoon (1942)
Action Stations (1942)
Dollar Dance (1943)
Alexis Tremblay, Habitant (1943)
Proudly She Marches (1943)
Fortress Japan (1944)
Target Berlin (1944)
Tomorrow, the World! (1944)
Ordeal by Ice (1945)
The Story of G.I.Joe (1945)
Guests of Honour (1945)
Dreams That Money Can Buy (1946, “Narcissus” segment)
The Boy Who Stopped Niagara (1947)
Lost Boundaries (1948)

Around is Around (1950)
Royal Journey (1951)
Teresa (1951)
The Whistle at Eaton Falls (1951)
Pen Point Percussion (1951)
Walk East on Beacon (1952)
Operation A-Bomb (1952)
Land of the Long Day (1952)
And now Miguel (1953)
Varley (1953)
A Thousand Million Miles (1954)
Riches of the Earth (1954)
The Jolifou Inn (1955)
Oedipus Rex (1956)
Canadian Profile (1957)
The Bloody Brood (1959)
Wheat Country (1959)

The Mask (1961)
Paddle to the Sea (1966)

The Discoverers (1972)
Energy (1975)
Homage to Chagall (1977)
The Masseys – Chronicles of a Canadian Family (1978)
Arthur Miller on Home Ground (TV-1979)

The Love of Gardens (1984)
The Taming of the Shrew (TV-1988)
many, many others…

TV Series:
Images of Canada (1972)
Canada: Five Portraits (1973)

The Mask, movie poster
The Mask was the first Canadian feature to be distributed in the U.S.A. by a major studio (Warner Bros.), and is Canada’s only contribution to the 3-D craze of the 1950s. Unfortunately it was released four years after the trend had died out in Hollywood.