Letter: Carl Davis the showman

<span>Photograph: CTK/Alamy</span>
Photograph: CTK/Alamy

I, Monster (1972), starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, had the distinction of the youngest director to make a feature film – me, at the age of 22. I chose a budding young composer – well, he was 34 – to create the score. Carl Davis was exotic, being American – and his Battersea flat was dominated by the grand piano that served as his desk. We decided that the score would be heavily influenced by the early work of Kurt Weill, which fitted well with the dark character of the film. It was a wonderful collaboration.

In 2003 I moved to Prague, and by chance – three years later – Carl put together and conducted what became an annual Hollywood Night concert for the Prague Proms. Many film scores were recorded there, as its many talented musicians got just a flat fee for their work, rather than royalties.

Carl was a great showman. A few years ago his new assistant called me in a panic: “Where can I get luminous orange shoes in a hurry?” Perhaps his favourite outfit was his union jack tailcoat, as in the opening event of the Karlovy Vary film festival in 2019, to which Carl brought his customary energy.