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Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Oscar Hammerstein IIYou really should know who OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II (1895-1960) is! Born Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein, most people that have heard of the name Hammerstein coupled with Rodgers, as in Rodgers and Hammerstein. They know one wrote the music and the other lyrics, but aren't always sure who was whom. Oscar Hammerstein II is best known as a lyricist, but he wrote books, plays, TV shows, screenplays, operettas, librettos, musical plays, composed music and was the uncredited executive producer of Oklahoma!. He won two Academy Awards for song lyrics and was nominated for three others.

He wrote so many wonderful lyrics that it's hard to recommend only five films to witness his wonderful poetry. The point is however to get you started. So, here we go.

You should know at least the following five songs from these musical films that Oscar Hammerstein II was responsible for making musical plays.

Oklahoma! (1955) Poster Oklahoma! (1955) (Oh! What a Beautiful Morning) Lynn Riggs wrote the play, Green Grow the Lilacs and Oscar Hammerstein II turned it into a musical. Rodgers and Hammerstein won the Pulitzer Prize in 1943 for this play which after being extremely successful as a play, Oscar Hammerstein II saw to it that it became a film.
South Pacific (1958) (Bali Hai) Inspired by the James Michener Novel, Tales of The South Pacific, Director and writer Joshua Logan and lyricist and writer Oscar Hammerstein wrote the musical play. This was his second Pulitzer Prize with Rodgers.
The King and I (1956) (Shall We Dance) Oscar Hammerstein II wrote this musical play from the novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon.
Show Boat (1951) (Ol' Man River) Hammerstein wrote this musical play from the Edna Ferber novel.
The Sound of Music (1965) (My Favorite Things) This film was filled with hit after hit songs. If you don't know this music, I'd be shocked.

The list of great songs Oscar Hammerstein wrote is so numerous that I hope you'll continue to study his work after you've seen the films mentioned here.

*Contributed by: "Elizabeth Van Cleve Randolph" Date: Wed, Oct 12 2005 / 06:30:30 PST

Academy Awards®
© A.M.P.A.S.®
1938 Nominated for Best Music (Original Song): "A Mist Over the Moon" - Lyrics (shared with Ben Oakland - Music) THE LADY OBJECTS
1942 Won Best Music (Original Song): "The Last Time I Saw Paris" - Lyrics (shared with Jerome Kern - Music) LADY BE GOOD
1946 Won Best Music (Original Song): "It Might as Well Be Spring" - Lyrics (shared with Richard Rodgers - Music) STATE FAIR
1947 Nominated for Best Music (Original Song): "All Through the Day" - Lyrics (shared with Jerome Kern - Music) CENTENNIAL SUMMER
1952 Nominated for Best Music (Original Song): "A Kiss to Build a Dream on" — Music & Lyrics (shared with Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby) THE STRIP


  • Some great musicals there especially "The Sound of Music" which is one of my all time favourites since I was a child especially since my Gran is Austrian.

    By Anonymous NINAM, at Fri Nov 25, 01:02:00 PM PST