A Certain Smile/Alfred Newman

September 2, 2011



An incredibly lovely, popular, and romantic Oscar nominated song sung by Johnny Mathis, composed by Sammy Fain with lyrics by Paul Webster came out of this film losing out to Gigi by Loewe and Lerner. In fact in 1958 the duo of Fain and Webster had another nominee “A Very Precious Love” from Marjorie Morningstar. The song “A Certain Smile” was popular enough to reach #4 in the UK charts and #14 in the USA. This was a very danceable song for all ages. Mantovani, a sweet band with strings made it popular as an instrumental and the orchestral arrangement of Newman’s was a fine rendition. I know the teenage crowd loved it as it oozed romance.


The film is an expensive soap opera with Joan Fontaine stealing the show as wife Francoise Ferrand of the adulterous Luc Ferrand played by Rossano Brazzi. Dominique (Christine Carere) is the third part of the quadrangle because Bertrand Griot (Bradford Dillman) is also in love with her. To further complicate matters he is the nephew of Luc. The best part of this film is the Oscar nominated song and the soundtrack by Alfred Newman. Since this was a high budget 20th Century Fox film the sound was 4 track stereo so both the original soundtrack and the Columbia LP are stereo with well above average sound quality. Since this was filmed during the time of the AFM strike the recording was made in Munich Germany conducted by Urban ‘Toots’ Thielmann. In fact it is excellent from an analog source. The two CD set offers nearly 100 minutes of material. Some of the material is duplicated as indicated by the list below. CD1 is the soundtrack and CD2 is the LP. The number indicates the track numbers on the CD.

CD1                       CD2

1=                          2

2 &4=                     3

5=                          4

6=                          5

10 &11=                  7

12=                        8

13=                        9

14=                        10

15=                        11

17=                        12

21 &22=                  13

23=                        14

24=                        15


The “Main Title” offers the lush romantic melody with the trademark Newman strings offering more love than most melodies. At the end of the track he offers a hint of what is to come with a short statement of the fulfillment theme with a small bridge of light upbeat music from the oboe backed by a beat of time. “The Bus” is a twinkling upbeat melody with a comedic flare and of course the Newman strings. “Romanza” is an all too brief melody very romantic that you’ll hear again. “Francoise” has her own theme that is mixed nicely with the main title. It is soft and gentle and nicely depicts the wife who is left out in the cold. As a result there is a feeling of sadness. “The First Kiss” begins with the romanza theme bridges with fluttering flutes and then the main theme. The Johnny Mathis version on the OST has a one minute lead in to the main words we all know so well. “The Dance” is a sweet band arrangement with the trombones offering a bit of swing with and without mutes. “Fulfillment” first introduced in the main title is given its own track, a great melody. “Bertrand’s Visit is a gay full of life skipping along melody before it ends up in another version of romanza. “You Smell of Warm Grass” preludes nicely into the main theme again as well as being a great track title. “The Country Market” allows the entire orchestra an opportunity to perform. It begins as a nursery rhyme tune and ends very up tempo with many different melodies going on. This is an excellent example of counterpoint and arranging/orchestration. “The Party” is quite a formal waltz with the strings being supported by the piano, very schmaltzy but nice. “Jelly Rolls” composed by Jimmy Rowles is a nice bluesy number for solo piano. It’s a piano bar tune that brings to mind a solitary man at a bar drinking and wishing for better days. Beginning with the main title “Dominque’s Collapse” turns quickly into a melodramatic cue. More of the same style of music is offered in “Disillusionment.” “Don’t Leave Me Francoise” offers the francoise theme from the clarinet with counterpoint from the oboe. Soft and delicate strings offer this melody which is as pretty as the main title. “Reconciliation” is the fulfillment theme played in a very yearning style before the main title ends the picture. The motif of the accordion depicting Paris was not used by Newman, adding to the soundtrack. His sound of his strings is more than enough to make aware of where the picture took place.


Track 17 “Farewell to the Sea” and Track 23 “Don’t Leave Me Francoise” is slightly damaged goods on the soundtrack but not the album so you have as complete a recording as you’ll ever get. If you’re into soap operas great; you’ll like the movie. Otherwise, skip the film and enjoy the score. Limited to 2500 copies.


CD# is La-La Land #1178


Track listing

Disc/Cassette 1


Main Title (03:30)


The Bus (02:18)


Pastorale (01:27)


Romanza (01:10)


Francoise (02:44)


The First Kiss (03:49)


A Certain Smile (Film Version) (03:34)
(P. F. Webster/S. Fain)
Vocal by Johnny Mathis


The Dance (02:19)


Fulfillment (01:30)


The Letter (01:34)


Bertrand’s Visit (01:44)


Dominique’s Decision (02:09)


The Riviera (02:34)


You Smell Of Warm Grass (02:21)


The Country Market (02:41)


The Children (01:09)


Farewell To The Sea* (01:45)


The Train (00:47)


The Party (04:03)


Jelly Rolls (02:04)
Music by Jimmy Rowles
Published by WB Music Corp. (ASCAP)


Dominique’s Collapse (02:16)


Disillusionment (01:07)


Don’t Leave Me Francoise* (03:17)


Reconciliation (01:54)

CD1 – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Total Playing Time: 54:06
* Damaged Recording

Disc/Cassette 2


A Certain Smile (02:51)
(P. F. Webster/S. Fain)
Vocal by Johnny Mathis


Main Title (03:31)


he Bus / Romanza (03:29)


Francoise (02:46)


The First Kiss (03:50)


I’ve Never Seen The Sea / Fulfillment (04:43)


The Letter / Bertrand’s Visit (03:20)


Dominique’s Decision (02:10)


The Riviera (02:35)


You Smell Of Warm Grass (02:24)


The Market Place (02:43)


Farewell To The Sea (01:48)


Dominique’s Collapse / Disillusionment (03:19)


Don’t Leave Me, Francoise (03:17)


Reconciliation / End Title (01:56)

CD2 – The Columbia Original Soundtrack Album
Total Playing Time: 54:06

Total Duration: 01:38:28



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