Written by his wife of 20 years, The Magnificent Elmer is the first book about Elmer Bernstein, a seminal figure of movie music. Elmer wrote music for more than two hundred films, including the scores for Hawaii, The Carpetbaggers, The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven,The Man with the Golden Arm, The Sweet Smell of Success, The Ten Commandments, The World of Henry Orient, To Kill a Mockingbird, True Grit, and Walk on the Wild Side, just to name a few. He was nominated for fourteen Oscars and won for his score to Thoroughly Modern Millie. He also won two Golden Globes and was nominated for two Grammys.
In this book, Elmer's former wife Pearl tells in vivid anecdotes of their move from a fifth-floor Manhattan walk-up to the red carpets of Hollywood - not an entirely timely move, as Joe McCarthy was at the peak of his powers and the studios were in their death throes. Pearl participated in the ups and downs of McCarthy, Will Hays, and Otto Preminger. She presents an array of Hollywood's leading men, warts and all, from Sinatra to Odets, from DeMille to Elmer's eponymous rival, Leonard Bernstein.