My Week With Marilyn

October 22, 2011

The film, My Week With Marilyn, deals with Marilyn Monroe’s relationship with Sir Laurence Olivier and other royalty during the filming of The Princess and the Showgirl. Taken from two books written by Colin Clark (1932-2002), who also served as an assistant director, it stars Michelle Williams, Emma Watson, Kenneth Branagh, Toby Jones, Eddie Redmayne, and Judi Dench. Directed by Simon Curtis and filmed in the UK, this film has opened to mixed reviews. Some have said this is Oscar material for Williams while others have expressed disappointment. Not having seen the film yet it is hard for this reviewer to comment or draw any conclusions.

 

The music is set for a digital release on November 1st and CD to follow. The main title is composed by Alexandre Desplat and performed on piano by Lang Lang. Additional music is by Conrad Pope along with appropriate source music of the 50’s featuring Dean Martin and Nat King Cole. Michelle Williams also offers three songs. I’m declaring Oct. 2011 as Pope Month since this is the third review I’ve done of his material in October.

 

Marilyn’s Theme (1:47) is a wonderful theme from Desplat nicely performed on the piano by Lang Lang and a huge plus to this film. It is a throwback to golden age film music days when you were whistling the theme as you exited the theater. This is not a melody you’ll soon forget if ever. You’ll hear this theme throughout the soundtrack.

 

When love goes wrong, Nothin’ Goes Right’ & Heat Wave (2:10) are sung by Michelle Williams with a Latin jazz sound featuring some very effective use of the bongos. She sings in a sexy attention getting voice with excellent phrasing.

 

Colin Runs off to the Circus (3:02) is the first of some very nicely arranged orchestral underscore. It reminds me of material that I heard in The Terminal and Catch Me If You Can. Light and airy it features some nice string work along with the woodwind section.

Colin Joins the Circus/Mr. Jacobs (2:04) offers a big band Stan Kenton style arrangement where several instruments have a few bars of solo offering including trombone, sax, trumpet, bass and nicely lead by the percussion.

 

Driving through Pinewood (0:48) features the piano of Lang Lang in a very brief underscore track. There is a nice feeling of motion underscore.

 

Paparazzi (2:54) begins with the Marilyn theme in a very lush offering with full romance from the strings and harmony being provided by the horns. As the delicate piano chords end the theme it is replaced by a version of Les Baxter’s “Quiet Village” arranged Mancini style with flutes, the sound that made Henry famous.

 

Colin and Vivian (1:24) begins with a similar sound to the Colin runs off cue but shifts gears and becomes rather quiet and subdued with Lang Lang piano and solo flute.

 

Memories Are Made of This (2:18) this is a Dean Martin favorite that generally fits the mood of the soundtrack. The mono remaster is a nice clean one.

 

Rushes (1:27) Flutes and soft strings make this underscore delicate and mourning.

 

Lucy (0:46) features some nice piano work from Lang Lang in underscore material similar to tracks three and five.

 

Uno, Dos, Tres (2:43) is performed by La Tropicana Orchestra in a Desi Arnaz mambo arrangement.

 

Arthur and Marilyn (2:11) offers a dose of yearning material without a melody. It is a colorful orchestration that certainly sets the mood.

 

Marilyn Alone (1:38)) is back to the Marilyn theme performed with delicacy and feeling from Lang Lang.

 

Arthur’s Notebook (2:17) offers another dose of soft quiet underscore featuring a solitary clarinet and pretty piano chords. A flute solo adds a touch to the track.

 

Vivian Screens Marilyn (1:38) is back to more delicate material with the clarinet backed up with soft strings and piano chords.

 

The Getaway (1:46) takes us back to very similar material as what we heard in Colin runs off with a little more emphasis placed on the brass. It ends with a re-statement of the Marilyn theme from the piano.

 

You Stepped Out of a Dream (2:40) is a clean mono remaster of the classic Nat King Cole/Nelson Riddle song that was extremely popular in the 50’s.

 

Eton Schoolyard (1:20) great brass is featured in a nice swinging cue complete with clarinet and a Gene Krupa drum beat.

 

Autumn Leaves (2:40) is another Nat King Cole standard in a romantic Nelson Riddle arrangement featuring strings. This too is a mono remaster that is clean and crisp.

 

Overdose (3:31) tension and anxious piano and strings are offered in this dramatic underscore material. As the cue unfolds we hear another offering of the Marilyn theme from the piano. Tremolo from the strings and well placed piano chords end the track.

 

Colin’s Heartbreak (1:47) the flute offers the Marilyn theme backed with lush strings and a solo clarinet. The track ends with Lang Lang playing the Marilyn theme once again.

 

Colin and Marilyn (3:08) begins with a variation of the main theme in a quiet setting. The clarinet offers no theme but background color and a feeling of loneliness.

 

It’s a Wrap, I found a Dream (2:37) begins in a frantic pace with piano and strings and without warning shifts to a Michelle Williams solo and ends with the piano of Lang Lang playing the main theme once again.

 

Such Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of (3:36) another lush dose of romantic Marilyn theme designed to bring a lump to your throat and a tear to your eye. The tempo is somber and funeral like.

 

Remembering Marilyn (3:19) offers the final cue we hear the delicate piano and lush strings of the main theme.

 

That Old Black Magic (2:44) ends the soundtrack with a sexy rendition of the standard sung by Michelle Williams. Good piano work, nice rhythm, and well placed strings make this an excellent track.

This score offers lots of soft romantic material, a great Desplat melody, nice source material, some Latin flavor, a little big band, and the sexy voice of Michelle Williams. There is nothing loud and dissonant about any of it. I think Pope will be doing less arranging and a lot more composing in the future.

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