Sound designer and sound effects editor Frank Edward Warner, who won an Oscar for his sound editing work on “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” died of natural causes in Arizona, on August 31. He was 85.
Warner said that “sound is like music that gives us the emotion that the writer intended.”
In 1966, while working with Stanley Kubrick on the film “Spartacus,” he realized that film was truly an art form and that sound effects made a definite contribution. “One of my best notes within my compositions was the absence of sound, which was very dramatic,” he said. “I accomplished more with silence than with actual sound. The greatest compliment I received about my work was when someone, after viewing a film, asked me what I did. It was so natural that the person was not even aware of the sound effects.”
More than 60 films included “Harold and Maude”, “Shampoo”, “Paper Moon”, “King of Comedy”, “Taxi Driver”, “Being There”, the Rocky franchise, “Breathless”, “Coming Home” and “Raging Bull”.
In 1978, Warner received an Academy Award for the sound effects on Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
For the Mother Ship sound, I made up 31 different sounds including haybalers (slowed and reversed), trucks, trains, mosquitoes, metal and wood twists, squadrons of planes, etc. All were treated to remove their source and to move this tremendous image of a big, heavy living but harmless mass.”
Warner’s sound library consisted of a million and a half feet of sounds, catalogued and cross-indexed. In 1988 he won a lifetime achievement award from the Motion Picture Sound Editors.