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Published on May 7, 2009
RIP Mitch Miller! He died 99 years old!
Mitchell William Miller (July 4, 1911 -- July 31, 2010)was an American musician, singer, conductor, record producer, A&R man and record company executive. He was one of the most influential figures in American popular music during the 1950s and early 1960s.
In the early '50s Miller recorded with Columbia's house band as "Mitchell Miller and His Orchestra". He also recorded a string of successful albums and singles, featuring a male chorale and his own distinctive arrangements, under the name "Mitch Miller and the Gang" starting in 1950. The ensemble's hits included "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena", "The Yellow Rose of Texas", and the two marches from The Bridge on the River Kwai: "The River Kwai March and Colonel Bogey March".
The Bridge on the River Kwai is a British 1957 World War II film by David Lean; based on the novel The Bridge over the River Kwai by French writer Pierre Boulle. The film is a work of fiction but borrows the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942-43 for its historical setting. It stars Alec Guinness, Sessue Hayakawa, Jack Hawkins and William Holden.
In 1997, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected for preservation in the United States Library of Congress National Film Registry.
Two prisoners of war are burying a corpse in the graveyard of a Japanese World War II prison camp in southern Burma. One, American Navy Commander Shears (William Holden), routinely bribes guards to ensure he gets sick duty, which allows him to avoid hard labour. A large contingent of British prisoners arrives, marching in defiantly whistling the Colonel Bogey March under the leadership of Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness).
A memorable feature of the film is the tune that is whistled by the POWs—the "Colonel Bogey March"—when they enter the camp.The piece was originally written in 1914 by Kenneth Alford. It was accompanied by a counter-melody (known as "The River Kwai March") written by the film's composer, Malcolm Arnold, and played by the off-screen orchestra taking over from the whistlers. Mitch Miller had a hit with a recording of both marches.