Wreck of the Mary Deare/Twilight of Honor/Duning & Green

June 8, 2008



Picnic, by George Duning, was one of the very first soundtracks in my collection. I remember the picture on the cover of the Decca LP of Kim Novak and William Holden. It was a mono recording and it had a gray cover. My favorite track was the combo of “Moonglow” and the “Picnic Love Theme”, which I listened to over and over as a young lad and not only on lp but also on a 45RPM. Until FSM decided to unvault some of his other material, the Decca LP of From Here To Eternity, and the Warner Brothers LP of Any Wednesday was the extent of my collection. Recently FSM has released Any Wednesday, Toys in the Attic, Devil at 4 O’Clock, 1001 Arabian Nights, and Bell Book and Candle. George spent a lot of his composing career at Columbia and has worked on over 200 pictures, many of them uncredited. In spite of the Oscar nominations for the Eddie Duchin Story, Picnic, and From Here To Eternity he is unknown to many people and only considered an ‘A’ list composer by a few.

The Wreck of the Mary Deare, a best selling novel by Hammond Innes, was once considered by Hitchcock but soon was abandoned in favor of North by Northwest. A fine novelist Eric Ambler did the screenplay and Michael Anderson the directing. Featuring Gary Cooper and Charlton Heston, it tells the story of the freighter Mary Deare, abandoned except for Patch (Cooper), found by Sands (Heston) with his salvage ship, the resulting trial, and finally the uncovering of the sabotage. George primarily wrote a monothematic score without any violins to add to the dark depressing scenes of the freighter sequences. He cleverly chose the use of the Novachord (a hammond predecessor to the synthesizer) for the underwater scenes, as well as selectively through the score to add tension to the film. While the brass does introduce the theme in “Main Title” many of the cues feature the oboe carrying the motif. Recorded with a fairly small orchestra this dark score works quite well with the film itself and is a good listen away from the picture if one likes material on the serious side.

Johnny Green, like George Duning, is a relative unknown to some in the soundtrack hobby. His output for serious scores was rather small and he was primarily known for his leadership of MGM in the 50’s along with his adaption of broadway musicals to the silver screen for which he was honored with 5 Oscars.

Twilight of Honor, was tagged as the first feature film starring Richard Chamberlin, who was a #1 box-office television hit in Dr. Kildare. It also featured Claude Rains (the only reason to really watch it), Nick “The Rebel” Adams (nominated for an Oscar), Joey Heatherton, and Pat Buttram. The film was directed by TV veteran Boris Sagal (some felt it viewed as a made for TV movie). If you’ve seen Anatomy for a Murder then you’ve seen the film and as remakes usually go it is not as good.

The score features Ronnie Lang, flute and sax player, who once appeared in Staccato, on several Mancini soundtracks, as well as 100’s of recordings on reeds. His style gave some of the cues a nice improvisational west coast jazz style. One could easily mistake some of this music from a TV series such as The Fugitive. Perhaps the Sagal direction along with the lack of strings contributed to this. This reviewer feels no strings is really lacking on “I Knew It Then: I Know It Now.” The main theme “Twilight of Honor” is a strong big band jazz number over 4 minutes in length with riveting rhythm, percussion, and driving brass. Its a strong track in that it is allowed to develop and was miked to deliver a biting sound (turned my normal volume down slightly). Other tracks of interest are “Juke Jezebel” and “Phoenix Fire” featuring some excellent reed work.

Overall, this is a good way to introduce you to the music of Green and Duning and the type of music from the late 50’s and early 60’s. While this is not a CD that will ever make a top 100 list it is an excellent one and one that this reviewer will pull off the shelf and relisten to from time to time.

Golden Scores Rating is ****

Produced by Lukas Kendall

CD# is FSM Vol. 11 No. 3

 Track listing

1. Main Title (01:50)


2. Sands Curious (04:04)


3. Doubting Sands (01:23)


4. Captain Patch (03:17)


5. Wrecker Patch (01:21)


6. Patch Begs/The Sea Witch (01:25)


7. Patch’s Quest/Patch Discovered (01:59)


8. Trial Prelude (01:00)


9. Patch Desperate (01:28)


10. Operation Salvage (01:40)


11. Villain Higgins/Patch Vindicated/Trapped Divers (06:18)


12. Bulls Eye (02:04)


13. Higgins Has It/End Title (03:12)

(1-13 from “The Wreck Of The Mary Deare” (1959) by George Duning, total time 31’25)

14. Twilight of Honor/Reception/Filthy Mob/Into Town (Twilight of Honor Prelude) (04:29)


15. Swift or Sure?/In Trouble (01:33)


16. Vicarious Blast/Only One Answer/A Little Rusty (03:17)


17. God Help Ben/Laura Lies/Nice Hands (03:27)


18. Loved You Then and Now (01:28)


19. Juke Jezebel (Juke Box) (01:56)


20. Confrontation/You Told Me Things (01:38)


21. I Like Deep Blue/Desperation (01:54)


22. Phoenix Fire Alto Saxophone Soloist: Ronny Lang (02:22)


23. Hitch-Hike (01:11)


24. The Emmis (01:44)


25. Suspenseville (00:43)


26. Don’t Lock Me Out—Finale (01:45)


27. The Durango Drip (01:39)


28. Young Is My Lover (02:13)

(Bronislau Kaper & Mack David)

29. Motel Mumble (01:02)


30. Dead Duck (00:34)


31. Ruby Duby Du (00:49)

(Charles Wolcott)

32. Hats and Dogs Stomp (01:40)

(Lyn Murray)

33. Whiskey Sour (00:49)


34. Juke Jezebel (Juke Box) (02:12)


35. Last Dance (Motel Radio) (01:35)

(Charles Wolcott)

36. Georgia Slop (00:46)

(Lyn Murray)

37. Love Theme From Twilight of Honor (I Knew It Then; I Know It Now) (03:09)

(14-37 from “Twilight Of Honor” (1963) by John Green, total time 44’47)

Total Duration: 01:14:56








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