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Irving Thalberg once sent an emissary to persuade Arnold Schoenberg to produce a score for The Good Earth. The man, finding Schoenberg indifferent at best, launched into an animated discussion of the potential for music to complement the film. "Think of it," he enthused. "There's a terrific storm going on, the wheat field is swaying in the wind, and suddenly the earth begins to tremble. In the midst of the earthquake, Oo-Lan gives birth to a baby." "With so much going on," Schoenberg drily replied, "what do you need music for?"

[Schoenberg never did score a Hollywood film. "I will write the music," he once offered, "and then you will make motion pictures to correspond to it." Unsurprisingly, the producers declined.]

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