Requiem For A Heavyweight/Rosenthal
December 3, 2010
things are looking up (Love theme clip)
bad deal (dissonant theme clip)
Written by Rod Serling, who changed his Playhouse 90 story to better fit the silver screen, the film starred Julie Harris, Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason, and Mickey Rooney, all excellent in their roles in this black and white drama. Directed by Ralph Nelson and produced by David Susskind this gritty drama had no chance at any awards because of films like Miracle Worker, Lawrence of Arabia, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Days of Wine and Roses as the list goes on and on in 1962.
Rosenthal was at the top of his game in 61-62 having composed Miracle Worker, A Raisin in The Sun, along with this fine soundtrack. One of the underappreciated composers it is most welcome that Intrada has made available all three scores. Miracle Worker, Intrada Special Collection Volume 130 quickly sold out its 1000 copies but this 1500 limited edition Volume 148 is still available which also includes A Raisin In The Sun.
As explained in the liner notes by CD producer Douglass Fake the main title arrangement that was used in the film didn’t survive and this CD offers the original version. It is interesting to compare by listening to the beginning of the film on DVD and then this release. Both are excellent but the film version offers more brass and what I would call a swaggering version. The CD offers a biting dissonant version depicting the harsh reality of the fight game. “Night Threats,” which also appears on the Windemere 42345 release is a modern sounding dance track in the style of West Side Story, with sax, bongo, and brass in a dissonant cue. No melody on this one. “Bad Deal” is a short cue similar to “Night Threats” but at a mere 35 seconds it leads us to the “First Date” a love theme for Mountain and Grace, a wonderful waltz that does suffer from the older mono track transfer. This is a case where a modern digital recording would enhance the material. “Night Cap/Questionable Judgment” continues the love theme and then shifts back to the jazzy dissonant style again. “Things Are Looking Up” followed by “The Soft Side” are arrangements of the love theme once again.
Rosenthal fans should appreciate the material that is offered even though it is only a short 16 minutes. Other listeners will find the love theme well worth the investment especially given the fact it is also coupled with A Raisin in the Sun. This is a mono recording and it isn’t perfect having a small glitch here and there. Be grateful that the surviving material was able to be transferred. The film is also worth watching again and it is fun to compare the two different main titles. Recommended
Intrada Special Collection #148. Limited edition of 1500 units