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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 April, 2005, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
Passion composer wins film prize
The Passion of the Christ
Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ set box office records
The composer of the musical score for Biblical epic The Passion of the Christ has won a prestigious US lifetime achievement award for his work.

John Debney received the Henry Mancini award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in Beverley Hills on Wednesday.

Debney has also composed for films including Spy Kids and Spider-Man 2.

Sam Arlen received a plaque to mark the centenary of his father Harold, who composed Over the Rainbow.

Mr Debney, who is turning his Passion music into a symphony to be premiered in Rome, said the award was "a complete honour".

Controversial film

He said: "For whatever reason people seem to yearn for more things of spiritual nature and I think it's a good thing, no matter the belief."

Shot in the ancient languages of Latin and Aramaic, Mel Gibson's controversial film details the last 12 hours in life of Jesus Christ.

It made $610m (317m) at the global box office after its cinema release in February 2004.

Harold Arlen wrote music for films from the 1930s until the 1960s. His famous songs include One for my Baby (And One More for the Road) and Stormy Weather. He died in 1986.

Movie history

His son Sam said Somewhere Over the Rainbow was removed from the first three cuts of The Wizard of Oz because of doubts about Judy Garland's performance and the effect on the film's pace.

He said: "Finally the powers be prevailed and they finally put that song in and they kept it in there, it just became history."

Last year the song won an American Film Institute poll to find the best movie tune. Eva Cassidy's version is among many popular covers of the song.

The ASCAP's Golden Note award went to TV and film music composer Mark Snow, best known for his work on the X-Files series.


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