Great Film Fantasies

March 31, 2006

Most film compilations have a target audience that is completely different from the soundtrack enthusiast/collector.  This latest release from Telarc is a good example of why they would be disappointed.  The market for this kind of recording is Borders or Barnes and Noble bookstores in the US.  I was discussing this score with a fellow collector and he was going on and on about how many different things were wrong with playing, arranging, and orchestrations of Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings.  I kept pointing out to him that the people who buy this will think it is wonderful and will cherish the fact that they are getting everything on one cd instead of having to purchase all of them separately!  It is not designed to replace the OST and is not meant to sound like it.  These suites could be performed at a later date in a tour and are as such designed for a concert hall setting.  John Williams very likely did most of the suite arranging as no credit was given to anyone else except for one track.  While I am just as particular when it comes to something like Sunset Boulevard, I am still very impressed with the Gerhardt/National Philharmonic recordings of the main title.  I cannot emphasize enough that if you are a serious collector this is just an introduction to the basic themes contained within the vast array of OST material available.  To the casual listener, who this recording is meant for, it is a truly wonderful listening experience.  Erich Kunzel has not only picked up where Arthur Fiedler and John Williams left off with the Boston Pops but taken it to an even higher level!  For those who are interested in this fine recording here is a link where you can order direct.

 Also be sure to check out Erik Woods and his radio program in the near future which will feature this CD recording as well as other fine film music.

Caine Mutiny/Max Steiner

March 29, 2006

Having just viewed this film again for a possible one to watch as part of our film discussion group at the library I have always been quite amazed at the cost of obtaining a copy of the soundtrack!  You would think that someone would want to release the soundtrack.  I believe it did garner an Oscar nomination.  It is one that nicely add to the evergrowing collection of Max Steiner soundtracks available.  For the present I do have the RCA/Gerhardt/Bogart compilation which does feature the main title and I suspect it will have to do for the present.  One of the more interesting bits of trivia on this film is the actor Van Johnson had the distinction of appearing in two of the worst sea storms Hollywood has done.  This film and also Plymouth Adventure with Spencer Tracy.

The Heiress/Copland

March 24, 2006

Well, here we go again!  This film is so well thought of that they have yet offer it on a DVD.  To my knowledge the only choice you have today is a VHS tape.  Of course it has won Oscars so that must be the reason why it has not been remastered yet.  I wonder what it is about scores of Aaron Copland.  This one achieved the Oscar and the best they can come up with is an 8 minute suite, reconstructed by Arnold Freed.  It was given its “world premiere recording” in 1994.  I wonder why they waited 45 years.  Must be that it won an Oscar also!  The recording is good from RCA/Slatkin/St. Louis Symphony.  It also includes The Red Pony, Our Town, Music for Movies, and Prarie Journal.  Wyler, the director for Heiress, disturbed the prelude Copland had written which he likely should not have fooled.  William got it correct with the Friedhofer/Best Years Of Our Lives score but not this one.  Away from Hollywood the man is so respected for the music he produced.  But leave it to Hollywood to get everything all messed up.  Oh wait I forgot that it is all about money and there must not be any in this kind of thing.

I must admit to having very little or no experience with this score other than having watched the film a long time ago.  Recently I was asked to evaluate a new (2) CD set from Silva of Marlon Brando Films.  One of the selections was the 20 minute suite of music from this interesting score.  Note:  There is no official release of the soundtrack.  As I listened to the beginning of the suite something was very familiar to me.  I didn’t know what it was but I knew I had heard that theme before, I just couldn’t remember where.  After three more listens the light bulb went on and I realized it was the same theme from LA Confidential!  No credit was ever given to Leonard Bernstein on the OST of LA Confidential at least if it was I completely missed it.  Since the work is not in public domain I ponder what was going on.  Having talked to several people about this there has only been one person who has also picked up on this.  And believe me it is not similiar.  The first several notes are exactly the same.  Eventually both works go off in different directions.  It would be interesting to hear the whole story sometime.

Sisters/Herrmann Score

March 20, 2006

I watched the Brian DePalma directed film about siamese twins primarily to see how the Bernard Herrmann score was placed in the film.  Even though I knew the stabbing was going to take place, the music was so effective I jumped slightly.  The movie itself wasn’t very good but watching the film is always a good idea if you are interested in the film music.  I have seen so many posts where people claim they seldom watch the film but have the soundtrack and enjoy the music anyway.  That is likely true but they will enjoy the music even more once they have seen the film.  I don’t recall anyone ever telling me they enjoy the music less after seeing the movie.