Tobruk (1967)/Kaper

August 2, 2011

Certainly one of the more underappreciated composers in Hollywood was Bronislau Kaper (1902-1983) who did well over a 100 films. Did you know he won an Oscar in 1953 for Lili? He is the award winning composer of Mutiny on the Bounty. Some of his other films include Lord Jim, Butterfield 8, Green Mansions, and The Brothers Karamazov to name just a few. His approach to the films he worked on was a bit unusual. He thought of each film as not being well and what could he do to make it better with his music.

The Universal picture starred Rock Hudson, George Peppard, and Nigel Green dealt with a very dangerous mission to destroy a large battery of guns in the German occupied African port city of Tobruk. “Main Title/Prologue” opening bars with the brass offering the proud majestic theme from the military style snare drum make it clear the kind of film this is about. “Frognapped” is a tension underscore with the woodwinds offering a measure of eeriness something I like in the cue. It also ends with loud dissonant brass. “Rendezvous” is a brief military statement of the main theme again while “Desert Convey/Prepare for Attack” is a longer more developed version of the main theme with emphasis of other orchestral sections performing it. “Mine Field” is a tension piece with percussion acting as a clock against another statement of the main theme. “Toureg Trade/Caravan Continues” has an air of an oriental situation before it changes direction offering first the main theme and then a swirling of violins with key brass phrases. “Night Camp” is a short with the main title and a military statement while the clarinet offers a sad solemn track with no reference to the main title in “Traitor of the Tunnel” “Exit Portman” is underscore with the classic tension ending with a loud brass phrase. “Head Hunters” is a return to the main theme with a military statement and back to the main title again. “The Guns of Mersa” one of the few tracks which don’t offer the main theme is one of those tense eerie ones you don’t want to end. “Many Tanks” is a solemn very brief track quite dirge like. “The Big Dump” is a return to the main theme a solemn version. “Shalom” agitated strings begin the track with a softer almost romantic offering of a theme on the cello before returning to the agitation. “Bergman’s Death begins in dissonance before a military version of the main theme is offered followed by funeral like music. “End Title/End Cast/Emblem is a restatement of the main theme in three different styles.

I like the mastering quality and you can easily tell because it came from 15IPS stereo tapes. The sound while still not to the quality of a digitally recorded soundtrack is very good. The Intrada Special Collection #147  is limited to 2000 units and has been available for a time so I would act soon. Here is a link to listen to the audio clips.

Track listing


Main Title / Prologue (02:46)


Frognapped (02:32)


Rendezvous (00:43)


Desert Convoy / Prepare For Attack (03:42)


Harker’s Humor (01:22)


Mine Field (01:33)


Sitting Duck (01:01)


Taureg Trade / Caravan Continues (02:02)


Night Camp (00:54)


Traitor Of The Tunnel (01:40)


Exit Portman (03:19)


Head Hunters (03:34)


Many Tanks (00:43)


The Big Dump (01:38)


The Guns Of Mersa (00:55)


Shalom (01:47)


Bergman’s Death (02:40)


End Title / End Cast / Emblem (02:00)

Total Duration: 00:34:51

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: