Dead Ringer/Andre Previn

November 4, 2006


The mighty Babe Ruth and Andre Previn have something in common. Babe was a successful 20 game winning pitcher for Boston and then went on to become one of the greatest homerun hitters of all time, making him arguably the greatest baseball player of all time. Previn became a successful composer/arranger/song writer in Hollywood winning (4) Oscars along the way and then walked away from it to become a 1st rate conductor and concert pianist. Probably no one will ever win 20 games and lead the league in homeruns again and no one will do what Andre has accomplished. Yet when we talk about composers his name seldom comes up in conversations and it really should.

Bette Davis (1908-1989) appeared in over 100 films and television programs spanning a time frame of nearly 60 years from 1931 to the year of her death in 1989. The 60’s brought about a series of pictures where she was more of a scheming villainess in such films as What Ever Happened to Baby Jane (her 10th and final Oscar nomination), Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, and this film Dead Ringer, which was directed by her former co-star in Now, Voyager Paul Henreid at her request. The concept of playing twin sisters has been and will be done again, Davis having already done it in 1946 in A Stolen Life. Don’t rush out to your latest video outlet and rent the film but do consider the fine varied Previn score.

The first thing that you are going to hear in “The Main Title” is some of that brass jazz sound Previn has used as almost a signature in several of his scores and then he introduces a harpsichord which gives us the main theme. As the theme is further carried by the string section the harpsichord still remains as part of the orchestra. “Edie’s Theme” is a wonderful love theme, a good example of the themes of the 60’s that Mancini, Mandel, and Previn created. It is a theme that is also used in “This Was His Room” and the source material (a party sequence) played by a dance orchestra in “Edie’s Theme” (bonus track). “The Dog Attacks” is a great example of some of the powerful underscore that Previn is able to write with nice use of the harpsichord, an off key melody of the main title, and then just some dissonant quite disturbing playing from the strings and the brass. “Figueroa” (part of the address of an actual bar used in the filming) is very much a 60’s jazz trio number for organ, drums, and bass. Even though it is fairly short and somewhat restrained for a jazz piece it is still a nice one. “End Title” gives a very brief few bars of the love theme and then ends with the main title.

As is the case with many of the FSM releases there are lots of bonus tracks and this one is no exception with (8) of them. However, unlike the first (13) tracks which came from the original masters for the LP and are in stereo, the extra cues are mono and while they are very clean of hiss and distortion, they do sound a bit different. “Nothing Visible” “Upstairs”, “Muzak for Murder”, “No Visitors”, and “Exchange Watches” are additional source cues featuring the trio of organ, drums, and bass (no credit given). Previn did some jazz work with Red Mitchell and Shelly Manne and seems very comfortable in writing this style of music. The other two tracks are some additional nice underscore featuring some more of that cool harpsichord. This score has two good themes, some good underscore, and nice jazz. Definitely one that you should explore. Recommended.

Golden Scores Rating ***

Digital Mixing and Mastering Doug Schwartz

Produced by Lukas Kendall

CD# is FSM Vol. 9 No. 15

Track Listing:

1. Main Title (02:05)

2. Edie’s Theme (02:52)

3. Maggie’s Murder (01:50)

4. This Was His Room (02:44)

5. Hidden Jewelry (03:10)

6. The Fireplace Poker (02:50)

7. The Dog Attacks (02:20)

8. Forgery (02:31)

9. The Morgue (02:04)

10. The Police Is Waiting (02:46)

11. You’re Not Margaret (01:55)

12. Figueroa (02:38)

13. End Title (01:42)

14. Edie’s Theme (source) (04:28)

15. No Children/The Police Is Waiting, Pt. 2 (alternate)/She’s Dead/Duke (04:25)

16. Tony’s Apartment/Investigation/Booked for Murder (05:26)

17. Nothing Visible (01:40)

18. Upstairs (02:41)

19. Muzak for Murder (04:25)

20. No Visitors (00:57)

21. Exchange Watches (01:48)

Total Duration: 00:57:17


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