June 21, 2012
Don’t let the new artwork fool you! This Intrada release, an unlimited pressing, is the complete original motion picture soundtrack from the film starring Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, James Coburn, and Walter Matthau in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Universal Pictures. It is nearly 78 minutes in length compared to the re-recording of the material which logged in at 29 minutes. The re-recording was a policy that Mancini did to enhance the popularity of his recordings, making them very easy on the ears as well as danceable. They were easy listening/big band style that introduced this reviewer to the soundtrack world. As some of you know “Peter Gunn” was my very first vinyl purchase in 1959. The recording techniques used in his vinyl LP’s were far superior to the methods used by Hollywood as one can hear if you compare. This is a clean and faithful re-mastering but it is in mono and lacks that “living stereo” feeling.
The Charade Logo, a tense opening bit of underscore lets it be known that this is a thriller and puts you on the edge of your seat right away. The Main Title which you’ll hear often and in numerous orchestrations begins with pulsating Latin rhythm which is a prelude to the haunting theme played on a cimbalom which is a large dulcimer that uses mallets. This is a prelude to a snare drum, brass, and a big band riff before it changes to romantic strings which offer a love version of the theme. Megeve offers a very danceable Latin big band number which features the brass offering the melody followed by a piano solo, tenor sax, muted trumpet, and trombone all with the steady Latin beat. This track appears on the album but is extended on this release. Latin Snowfall offers some nice trombone work in an arrangement that Mancini lovers are accustomed to. Positive Identification is a first offering underscores tension type material with lower strings and a creepy harpsichord. This is a similar sound to one found on “Experiment in Terror” Somewhat different on the Intrada release is the vocal rendition of Charade which uses different words and a male chorus as opposed to the typical chorus of Mancini which was a mixture of female and male. I prefer the album version but the reason could be that I’m so use to it that anything different is not comfortable to me. Empty Room is another new track and offers a heartfelt solo piano of the Charade theme. This is a favorite new track on this Intrada release. Bye Bye Charlie is a short classical sounding chamber piece with violin and cello offering the melody with nice harmony/counterpoint. Punch and Judy comes off sounding much better on the stereo album version. It is a fun carnival/circus track that would fit a cartoon, silent film, and others. The Intrada version has a bit of a shrill to the upper end. Notre Dame/Drip-Dry Waltz begins with another romantic version of Charade (not included on album) and transitions very nicely to the Drip-Dry Waltz which is quite humorous. This is another favorite track on the new Intrada release. Bateau Mouche is a classic French sounding piece complete with violin, accordion, and wordless chorus. Hook Fight, not included on the LP is fine underscore material that is a welcome listen. Mean Cat repeats the Charade theme but adds a nice little bit of underscore at the end of the track.
This is a welcome release and well worth having whether or not you have the album version or not. I now have both so the decision was easy for me. But if you have nothing and have to choose go for this release. You won’t be disappointed.
|Track Listing for LP
Total Duration: 00:29:00
Track listing for Intrada
Total Duration: 01:16:24