Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

From Movie Score to Jazz Standard: “Stella by Starlight”

on September 21, 2021

The Uninvited was released by Paramount in 1944 as a classic ghost story based on the novel and play by Dorothy Macardle. If you like ghost stories, this movie is for you! The movie contains all the elements of a good ghost story – the abandoned mansion, windswept and crumbling, built on the edge of a steep cliff overlooking a raging sea; the beautiful young girl haunted by her past; the handsome young musician determined to save her; and a family mystery involving adultery and murder.

Stella by Starlight was written by Victor Young as a serenade for the movie. The original score reflects the plot of the movie: the developing romance between Milland and Russell; the mounting tension between the ghosts and the tenants of the old house; and the dark, moody character of the rugged Cornish coast. The serenade became a hit, drawing movie goers everywhere. Two years later, Ned Washington added lyrics and turned it into a jazz standard that is still popular today. It has been performed by such greats as Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, John Williams, and Liberace. No fake book would be without it.

Liberace performing a stylized version:

Jazz version by Miles Davis:

Enjoy the relaxing mood of Stella by Starlight!

Dawn Pisturino

September 20, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

7 responses to “From Movie Score to Jazz Standard: “Stella by Starlight”

  1. Got to love it!
    My parents and grandparents always loved these classic old school musicians and films! They rubbed off on me too, I relate to the classy fine-tuned precision and all heart that is incorporated into such masterpieces! My Dad went to a few Liberace shows!
    Now that’s what I call style!
    Man what’s happened to the world and people so soon; a short span of decades and it’s all upside down!
    Crazy man!
    Thanks Dawn; for the memories and reminder of what was and still is; somewhere over the rainbow!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aeriana Liana says:

    I really love old movies, even black&white. Thanks for remember me about them!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Iowa Life says:

    You’ve been coming up with some great ones.

    Liked by 1 person

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