ET UN AMI
DE LONGUE DATE
Norman J. Warren
we have enjoyed together.
John Scott – 6th May 2021
It was during the time that I was composing music for documentary films that I met Norman J. Warren. I was composing music for a documentary entitled “Shellerama” which was head and shoulders above the average documentary. Shot on 70mm film, this film was shown in Cinerama theatres and featured continuous music recorded in glorious 6 track stereo. The producer was Dimitri de Grunwald, brother of Anatol de Grunwald who produced the very popular academy award winning film “The Yellow Rolls Royce”.
Working for Dimitri was a young man by the name of Norman J. Warren. I quickly learned a lot about Norman who was thankful to Dimitri for having employed him as a runner/tea boy. Norman had suffered from “infantile paralysis’ and went through life with a disfigured right arm, such a disfigurement immediately places a person at a disadvantage and especially in the film business. However, Norman soon rose to the position of assistant director. He could never say enough about the kindness of Dimitri De Grunwald, who was a refugee from “White Russia” and was stateless, meaning that he had no passport or entitlement to live anywhere in the world! However, he operated on the right side of the law.
John Scott et Norman J Warren - PHOTO © 2021 Avec l'aimable autorisation de John Scott
One of Norman’s jobs was to constantly submit forms and information to the British and Russian embassies of behalf of the De Grunwald brothers. During Norman’s time in the “De Grundwald” offices he tells me that he had the honor to spill tea over Peter Sellers, gaze at Sofia Loren, who was constantly in and out of the office, and meet all the leading artists and technicians of the time. Norman's avowed intent was to write, direct, and edit his own films. He also knew that the horror genre was what interested him over and above other genres. In his spare time Norman was working on a short film entitled “Fragments”.
He asked me if I would like to compose the music for it and I agreed. From that time Norman and I have remained very close friends. Norman was seriously looking to work on feature films but like myself, did not have an uncle with influence within the film industry.
Nevertheless, after “Fragments” Norman went on to create his own opportunities together with a few close friends and enthusiasts. His leaning was, without a doubt, towards the horror and science fiction genre in which he later was to make his mark.
While Norman was waiting for better opportunities he wrote and directed a couple of films which were classed as soft porn, in other words, people running about in their underpants, that was soft porn in the 1960’s, and they called it “Swinging London.”
I more than willingly took on the owness of composing music for “Her Private Hell” and “Loving Feeling.” These films were well made and imaginative and quite a challenge as we had to be resourseful owing to less than minimal budgets.
It was during the early 1980’s that I relocated to Hollywood in an attempt to break into the well guarded realm of feature films. Norman joined me for a while and we both indulged ourselves in a tour of the South Western States. Norman had always been an enthusiastic motorist with a penchent for Amercan vintage cars, as long as I have known Norman he has been the proud owner of either a Cadilac or some other classic American automobile. We drove through Colerado, the Grand Canyon, Utah, Texas and re-lived the fantasies of the Wild West. I think it was during that time that Norman started to plan the realization of “Inseminoid” a very ambitious project that would later be filmed in the caves of Chislehurst.
Norman and I were regularly invited as guests of honour at horror film festivals and we would enjoy much conviviality and fun over the period of these festivals.
The last one we attended was at Aberystwyth on the Welsh coast in November 2019, we were accomodated in a beautiful hotel in the hills above the city.
The hotel boasts of having a few ghosts that appear from time to time but they left us in peace. It was a happy occasion and little did I dream that it would be our last occasion at such an event.
Norman certainly earned his place in the Horror film genre and I am proud to have willingly served him as composer and lifelong friend.
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