Time After Time/Rozsa

February 14, 2009

time_after_time_fsm12031

Nicholas Meyer, director and screenwriter of Time After Time, first got my attention with his novel The Seven-Per-Scent Solution, a tale about Sherlock Holmes and Freud. It was an excellent page-turner and gave this reviewer many hours of entertainment. Not exactly remembering the circumstances it could have been one of those reads where I ended up going to sleep in the early hours of the morning and having a hard day staying awake at work that day. It was that good! When I saw the preview and the credits for Time After Time, knowing that Meyer was involved, I was intrigued enough to go to the theater and see it. While I found the film to be entertaining it wasn’t anymore than that, a pleasant diversion for two hours. I’ve heard the phrase ‘holy grail’ mentioned with this film and in my opinion this is certainly not the case. Starring Malcom Macdowell, Mary Steenburgen, and David Warner it tells the story of H.G. Wells and his time machine going forward to modern day San Francisco with Jack the Ripper along for the ride. It tried to make a tale palatable to the generation of Star Wars fans. Perhaps it did. The film in my opinion would have been far more interesting if it had stuck to the basic concept of a science fiction thriller instead of injecting far too much romance and comedy trying to make it appealing to all who saw the film.The musical score from Miklos Rozsa was truly a step back in time, perhaps the reason why he was chosen for this particular assignment. His style was perfectly suited to the film and the themes he created for the picture are some of his best, especially the “The Time Machine Waltz.” Thankfully it turned out that the use of the “Spellbound Theme” (the original idea was to use the theme) was tied up in a rights issue and couldn’t be used. This CD offers a solo piano version (not in the film except for a few seconds) in addition to the piano and string version as played in the film and rerecorded on the LP as well as this CD and is the highlight. “Warner Bros. Logo/Prelude” is also a trip back in time with the playing of the classic Steiner fanfare, which leads us into the main theme a 5-note motif repeated throughout the film. “Jack,” which includes a tune Rozsa found in the Chants d’Auvergne, is a wonderful musical box theme used as a motif to indicate that Ripper is about. “The Vaporising Equaliser” (intentionally spelled wrong) is a very brief track, quite eerie sounding, and has a modern sound that really doesn’t sound like Rozsa at all. While there are tracks which have the film noir/40’s sound of Rozsa none are as prevalent as “The Ripper/Pursuit” cue which will bring back memories of The Killers, Naked City, and The Lost Weekend, that yearning from the string section and staccato beat from the entire orchestra. “Redwoods,” featuring first an oboe, then lush strings followed by cello and the concertmaster on violin is a highly romantic love theme one of his finer efforts.

This is a score that has always found the soft spot in my heart from the very first time I heard it in the theater so my opinion is far from objective. I welcome the additional material especially the solo piano cue of “The Time Machine Waltz” as well as the other 10+ minutes of material on the CD. Keep in mind I was first in line to get my copy of the original LP on the Entr’Acte label which was a completely new recording done in London to save money as the reuse fees were actually more expensive than going overseas and recording! This in addition to the fact that it wasn’t uncommon to rerecord on the lp to make it more pleasant listening experience as the record labels were looking at a different market in addition to the soundtrack collector. In addition to excellent history about the making of the film, the music, and track-by-track analysis from Jeff Bond and Frank K. DeWald there is a retrospective from Nicholas Meyer, which was an extremely good, read. This is truly one of my favorite scores from any composer.

Maintitles Rating: *****
FSM #Vol. 12 #3
Track listing

1. Warner Bros. Logo*/Prelude (01:19)
* by Max Steiner
2. Jack!/L’Aio de Rotso (01:16)

3. Farewell (00:53)

4. The Vaporising Equaliser (00:27)

5. Search for the Ripper (01:26)

6. The Time Machine (01:32)

7. Decision (00:46)

8. Taking Off/Time Travel (02:47)

9. Man Before His Time (01:53)

10. First Bank Montage/Second Bank Montage (01:02)

11. Utopia/Car Ride (01:57)

12. Cartoon/War (00:21)

13. The Ripper/Pursuit (03:12)

14. The Time Machine Waltz (04:31)

15. The Redwoods (02:06)

16. Palace of Fine Arts/The Dinner/Search for a Victim (02:28)

17. A New Victim/Frightened (01:52)

18. The Telephone Book/The Envelope (00:43)

19. Decision for Murder/Murder (01:58)

20. The Prism Pin/The Fifth Victim (02:02)

21. The Last Victim/Aftermath (02:27)

22. Valium/H.G. Arrested (01:26)

23. 3:20 P.M./Nocturnal Visitor (02:08)

24. Despair (01:03)

25. Dangerous Drive (02:57)

26. The Journey’s End/Finale (03:39)

27. The Time Machine Waltz (04:59)

Total Duration: 00:53:10

Produced by Lukas Kendall and Craig Spaulding

Orchestrations by Christopher Palmer

Digital Mastering by Doug Schwartz

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