The Rains of Ranchipur/Friedhofer

December 2, 2006


The Rains of Ranchipur was based on the Louis Bromfield (pulitzer prize winner for Early Autumn) novel The Rains Came and in addition is also a remake of the 1939 film by the same name. Louis was a pulitzer prize winner for Early Autumn. The 1955 20th Century Fox CinemaScope production starred Lana Turner, Richard Burton, Fred MacMurray, and Michael Rennie. Taking place in India it is yet another story of a tragic love triangle this one complete with a monsoon, earthquake, plague, and more. A bit of trivia is the fact that Alfred Newman did the original film in 1939 but as head of the music department at 20th Century Fox in 1955 chose to hire Friedhofer to do the task, one of five films Hugo did for Fox in 1955.

Unfortunately, very little of the score has survived. To be precise 14:20 covering (4) tracks is all that remains of what Varese/Sarabande was able to save from the ravages of time. If you are interested the John Morgan reconstruction on Marco Polo 8.223857 offers 17 minutes of material divided into (7) tracks. The love theme (main title) is sprinkled with the mysterious air of the far east, something that reminds me of the Russian composers like Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, or Glazunov. And this is not a simple few note melody but something far more complex and detailed. This is one of those themes you are going to remember as it is quite memorable. You will be humming it for days. And when you hear it is has the feeling of love but also of tragedy. The “Main Title” is divided into the love theme followed by an arabian dance style music. “Dinner In The Tent” is classic underscore from Friedhofer which slides into the love theme ever so briefly and ends with a danger motif, a foreboding short phrase of the tragedy that lies ahead. “I Admire Her” is also the love theme featured with the oboe and lush strings, a nice treatment. “The Theme” restates the love theme once more and the scant 14 minutes is over with.

What does remain of the transfer is a good solid stereo recording with good balance, volume, and brightness (if anything it is a tad too much). It was orchestrated by Edward R. Powell and the orchestra was conducted by Lionel Newman. The release was limited to a 1000 copies and at this writing copies were still available but for how long is really just a guess.

This recording is coupled with Seven Cities of Gold which will be discussed in a separate review. It is one fine theme from Friedhofer who actually prided himself on the non thematic approach of film scoring. Well, he failed miserably in this case! The score comes very highly recommended and is worth the price of the CD even without the other score. Don’t let this one slip away from you. It goes without saying that I was quite taken with this one.

Golden Score Rating is (****)

Varese Sarabande VCL 1106 1057

Edited and Mastered by Daniel Hersch

Produced by Nick Redman and Robert Townson

Track Listing

Main Title (4:11)

Dinner In The Tent (3:32)

I Admire Her (3:57)

The Theme (2:39)

Total time is 14:20


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