Son_of_kong_8570183

While Richard Connell was a somewhat prolific writer of short stories, novels, and screenplays (nominated for Oscar in 1941 for “Meet John Doe”) he will be most remembered for his short story about hunting THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME(1925),a tale of man hunting man. It has been made for television, radio, and other movies several times, and even referenced by the Zodiac killer in one of his notes to San Francisco police.  This early film of David O. Selznick has to rank at the top of the list. The cast of Joel McCrea, Leslie Banks, Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong was strong, all giving top notch performances with direction from Irving Pichel (“Dracula’s Daughter”) and Ernest B. Schoedsack with assistance from Merian C. Cooper who would later go on to film “King Kong.” In fact the jungle set was designed to be used by both films and a keen eye will spot this almost immediately.

 

The original score was composed by W. Franke Harling and Cooper found it to be more of a Broadway sound than a jungle island drama and rejected it. Does this remind you of Lambro/Goldsmith, Yared/Horner, or Shore/Howard? Apparently this rejection has been going on in Hollywood since the beginning of sound pictures. To my knowledge it is not available on the market and disappeared wherever these kind of things end up. Max Steiner was hired with very little time to do the soundtrack but he didn’t disappoint and turned out what was to be the early beginnings of a full orchestral work for a film, albeit a small orchestra. I consider this to be an early landmark in film scoring and a template that ended up being adopted by many other films.

 

The Main Title begins with the ominous two horn note motif (call of the hunter) which is used often in the score. It is a classic Wagnerian idea. The Wagnerian opera was definitely the template when Max sat down and began to write this score. There is a prelude which leads the listener to the major theme of the film followed by a brief romantic melody and ending with a danger sequence. The brass has already begun to work overtime and they are downright exhausted by the end of the 31+ minute soundtrack. I’ve included the Main Title as an audio clip as it gives a fine overview of the entire score.   most dangerous game main titleRussian Waltz is a concert version of the main theme with a Rachmaninoff showy style cue performed by Leonid Makarevich in this reconstruction. In Incidental Music it is the same theme but the mood is an evil lurking one. The Chase will tire you out with its frantic pace of action and tension. This is the cue I discussed earlier that the brass is worn out by the time they finish. This is one of the better written action music sequences this reviewer has encountered. One can only imagine how black the music paper looked! Misterioso Dramatico, with the exception of the ending reminds one of the kinds of dramatic underscore music you’ll hear in King Kong.

 

Since a lot of the entire series offered by Morgan/Stromberg are now available on the budget Naxos label these have now become quite an incredible value especially if you invest in the Monster Music Box Set (8.506026) which this CD is a part of. Since this soundtrack was written for a smaller orchestra John Morgan kept this is mind when he reconstructed it. Believe me when I tell you that John and William are not becoming millionaires from these projects but are doing the industry a service by making this material available. The original soundtrack is rated no more than listenable and I would urge you to invest in this recording. It is ½ of a coupling with Son of Kong

sdtom.wordpress.com/2008/02/23/son-of-kongsteiner/

 

William Stromberg conducts the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra

Playing Time is 31:49

Naxos 8.570183

 

 

 

18.

Main Title (01:34)
The Most Dangerous Game

19.

The Wreck (01:17)
The Most Dangerous Game

20.

The Approach (02:24)
The Most Dangerous Game

21.

Russian Waltz – Leonid Makarevich (01:40)
The Most Dangerous Game

22.

Incidental Music (00:46)
The Most Dangerous Game

23.

Agitato (02:23)
The Most Dangerous Game

24.

The Iron Door (02:57)
The Most Dangerous Game

25.

Night (01:04)
The Most Dangerous Game

26.

The Count Approaches (02:20)
The Most Dangerous Game

27.

Misterioso Dramatico (03:57)
The Most Dangerous Game

28.

The Chase (04:43)
The Most Dangerous Game

29.

The Chase Continues (00:55)
The Most Dangerous Game

30.

The Waterfall (02:23)
The Most Dangerous Game

31.

The Fight (01:27)
The Most Dangerous Game

32.

Escape – Finale (02:00)
The Most Dangerous Game

 

 

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Chinatown (1974)/Lambro

December 16, 2012

Los_Angeles_1937_PRD060

Limited edition of 1000 units perseverance prd 060

 

The first thing that I noticed about the Lambro score to CHINATOWN (1974) was no mention of the name of the film (legal issue I’m sure) but there was no doubt what it was for. If you’re interested in learning more about what happened I urge you to read the book Lambro wrote “Close Encounters of the Worst Kind.” The second thing I noticed was the word unused instead of rejected, a much better way to phrase it. Rejected seems so negative compared to unused.

The liner notes by Gergely Hubai give a nice overview of all the problems that were encountered during the making of the film such as Jack Nicholson wanting time off during shooting to watch the Lakers, diva Dunaway, and the obsession that the producer Evans had with the Bunny Berigan chartbuster I Can’t Get Started. There is no track by track analysis of the score but there is a nice written comparison between the Lambro and the Goldsmith versions. Both themes I would put in the category of an easy jazz listening style. In fact they are somewhat similar with the trumpet being substituted for the sax in the Goldsmith version.

Main Title features a swaggering sax that you’ll not likely forget with able support from the piano all of which is somewhat haunting due to the creepy percussive/brass background. A dissonant trombone completes the orchestration. Tailing Hollis has no melody only dissonant sound from the percussion. An interesting underscore track that would likely be a synthesizer cue today. The Boy on a Horse is more underscore this time with a long note from the strings followed by a statement from the flute, clarinet, piano, and brass with percussion. A creepy track that I could see as underscore on a Twilight Zone episode. Mariachi Source offers a basic theme which is played by the winds/brass and strings. Effective underscore. Orchid Case is a pulsating track with the ever present percussion and strings sounding like a bee swarm. One Night with Evelyn is a repeat of the main title in a lush romantic setting. I’ve included this track as an audio clip. One Night With Evelyn (main title theme) Welcome to Chinatown and End Titles are pentatonic Chinese underscore.

This reviewer had no problem listening to the first fourteen tracks. They are mono recordings but the tape noise at least for me was minimal. As explained in the liner notes the two classical works were recorded separately at an earlier time and are stereo with fuller sound and a greater dynamic range. It was because of these works that Lambro was given the assignment to score CHINATOWN. The styles are quite modern sounding classical and are works that require many listens to understand.

This score like many of Lambro’s is dependent upon percussion which makes it highly effective as underscore. Owning both the Goldsmith and the Lambro is fun to compare. Recommended.

 

 


Track listing

1.

Main Titles (1M1) (02:02)

2.

Tailing Hollis (1M2) (01:11)

3.

The Boy on a Horse (5M1) (03:09)

4.

Noah Cross (7M1) (01:07)

5.

Mariachi Source (7M1X) (01:04)

6.

Orchard Chase (8M1) (01:59)

7.

One Night with Evelyn (9M2-10M1) (02:42)

8.

Finding the Captive (10M2) (01:05)

9.

The Last of Ida Sessions (11M1) (02:05)

10.

Welcome to Chinatown (14M1) (00:58)

11.

Evelyn Shot (14M2) (00:33)

12.

Forget It, Jake (14M3) (00:54)

13.

End Titles (14M4) (01:03)

14.

Trailer Music (03:08)

BONUS TRACKS:
Structures for String Orchestra

15.

Moderati (03:44)

16.

Lively (04:36)

Music for Wind, Brass & Percussion

17.

Lento misterioso (05:16)

18.

Allegro con fuoco (08:03)

Total Duration: 00:44:39

Wings_LLLCD1206

LIMITED EDITION OF 2000 UNITS #LLLCD 1206

To help celebrate Paramount’s 100th anniversary WINGS, the very first best picture Oscar, was given the royal restoration treatment including the J.S Zamecnik material written specifically for the film.  J.S. Zamecnik (1872-1953), who studied under Anton Dvorak, not only used original material but music from Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Sousa, DeFrancesco, Verdi and others for this project. The source music was absolutely necessary for the time period of this film.

 

Having had the opportunity to discuss the process with Gregg Nestor who was responsible for the music preparation, I learned what a labor of love this project turned out to be for Jeannie Gayle Pool, Dominik Hauser and La-La Land Records. What seemed to be a synthesized sounding recording to this reviewer’s ear, one that I almost put it into the pile of one and done CD’s, has turned out to be a real gem for me upon repeated listens. It is a mixture of live recordings as well as MIDI tracks which were edited to incorporate live and synthesized.

 

Filmed with assistance from the War Department, who supplied over 200 planes with Army airmen, the film cost a staggering 2 million dollars but the result was a runaway release for two years in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles in addition to a touring roadshow production. The sound effects and aerial battle scenes were used for years and years by Paramount which contributed in helping to recoup losses.

 

Highlights include the overture which consists of the main title, a theme with shimmering strings which builds to a crescendo and introduces the love theme an uplifting melody which is light and airy. The military theme takes front and center and the track concludes with the love theme which you’ll hear several times during the listening of this CD. You’ll also hear the main title as well as the theme for Mary and Jack. “A Small Town” is a very typical sounding silent theme which is being played to daydreaming Jack and the flirtatious Mary who has a crush on Jack but he is oblivious to her feelings. “In Military Camp” is a comical cue using Little Brown Jug, which also mixes in the patriotic Star Spangled Banner.  One of the more popular classical compositions used by Hollywood is Franz Liszt’s Les Preludes which is used as a battle is going on. Frederick Hodges performs ragtime and classical piano in a nice compilation of melodies as Mary confides in Celeste, a restroom attendant, from the film.

 

Would this release have benefited from the use of a full classical symphony orchestra? As a CD listening experience I would say yes without reservation. However, silent films used pit orchestras and these ensembles are certainly not in the 100 piece size, far from it. It needed the smaller ensemble to achieve the right kind of sound for the restoration of the picture. Perhaps at some point there will be another release for CD with a large orchestra giving the sound full impact to the listener. As you give this recording repeated listens you’ll come to appreciate the combination of live orchestra and sound samples. The liner notes were written by the producer of the project Jeannie Gayle Pool and she provides inside information of what was necessary to bring this restoration forward. Recommended.

 

 

 


Track listing

1.

Overture; Main Title; Love Theme Wings; Knights and Ladies*(02:53)

2.

A Small Town; Mary Preston Had Always; Mary Raises Finger(02:10)

3.

Sylvia and Dave in the Swing; Bon Vivant+; Close Up of Mary(01:32)

4.

Youth Laughed (00:24)

5.

In Military Camp+; Put Your Moniker (01:40)

6.

Ode to Spring*; She’s My Girl; If You’d Seen His Look (02:27)

7.

The Revolving Machine; Comedian Taken Out (00:41)

8.

Hurry #2+; You’re Game (01:37)

9.

Intermezzo+; Chanson+; Intermezzo+; Aviator White; Air Flight* (02:52)

10.

Change of Scene; Comedian Seen; Crusaders* (01:58)

11.

Allegro Furioso (00:32)

12.

Count Von Kellermann; L’istesso Tempo; A Midsummer Night’s Dream+; Second Airplane on Fire; Air Flight* (04:07)

13.

Storm+; English Trenches (03:08)

14.

Giant Gotha; Grandioso; Soldiers Marching; Escorted By; Over There+; Darktown Strutters’ Ball+ (03:05)

15.

Close Up of Mary; Germans Seen (00:42)

16.

Storm+; Incidental Symphonies #3+; Running Out of Gas(03:24)

17.

Right after Crash; A Midsummer Night’s Dream+; Say That’s the Shooting Star (00:45)

18.

French General Kisses (01:20)

19.

Cabaret Capers+; I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles; Cabaret Capers+ (02:58)

20.

Mary Walks to the Table; No War Drinking Song; When Yankee Doodle Learned to Parlez-Vous+; Mary Enters; I Understand; They Turn Away; Dress to Impress (04:39)

21.

The Cobbler and the Fairy+; Another Close Up of Mary (01:22)

22.

It’s Sylvia I Love; Jack Stoops Down (02:15)

23.

Incidental Symphonies #5+ (01:22)

24.

Behind the Enemy; Daybreak; Battle Music+ (01:57)

25.

Airplanes Start (01:50)

26.

Les Preludes+ (01:22)

27.

The Tempest+; Sicilian Vespers+; Battle Music; Far in the Enemy; Dave Crawls on Ground; Storm+; Soldiers Run (05:03)

28.

One Plane; Jack! Jack!; Jack Shooting (02:44)

29.

After Crash; Change of Scene; Disperazione; Don’t Go; My Buddy+ (06:12)

30.

The Flying Ace+ (01:12)

31.

Romanza Senza Parole+; Mother Close Up; Mary Seen at Fence(06:10)

32.

Jack’s Theme+ (01:03)

All selections Sony/ATV Harmony (ASCAP), unless otherwise indicated.
+Published by Paramount Allegra Music
*Published by WB Music Corp.

Total Duration: 01:15:26

 

Career (1959)/Waxman

December 13, 2012

Career_KR200245

The 1950’s were very good for Franz Waxman. The list of films includes SUNSET BOULEVARD, PRINCE VALIANT, A NUN’S STORY, A PLACE IN THE SUN, THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS, and REAR WINDOW. While CAREER wasn’t a highlight give Bruce Kimmel credit for finding this undiscovered little gem. As Bruce points out in the liner notes an opportunity to release a new Waxman score is a big deal. Waxman has to be ranked in the top five of golden age composers and should be appreciated by all.

The film dealt with a topic close to home to Bruce that being the story of making it on Broadway. What made it interesting to this reviewer was that part of the plot dealt with blacklisting the first time it had been dealt with in a film since McCarthy and his witch-hunt, a dark time in the history of this country. The film starred Dean Martin, Anthony Franciosa, Shirley MacLaine, and Carolyn Jones and was directed by Joseph Anthony, a successful theater director.

A glitzy Gershwin like beginning something you might expect turns to a dissonant brass statement with bongo percussion followed by a trumpet solo in the higher register. The Waxman orchestration has a hard biting edge to it and gives us an indication of what is to come. Waxman has a way in his writing to make effective use of the clarinet and oboe with harmony from the strings to paint a bleak depressing image of life as an unemployed actor who is struggling to live day by day. The track “Out of the Past/Cold Water Flat” is a good example of this. “The Surprise” gives us the love melody an eight note motif which we will hear often through the score. The love theme is cleverly mixed with the Wagner “Wedding March” in “Man and Wife.” The swagger of the sax nicely depicts Sharon Kensington (Shirley MacLaine) the alcoholic lover of Maury Novak (Dean Martin) in “Sharon/Sharon Proposes.”

Bonus Tracks include an upbeat vocal/chorus “(Love is a) Career” by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen. The first was cut for a 45RPM and offers an extended vocal. The second version made for the film has a long instrumental bridge featuring the piano, guitar, brass and woodwinds.  “Night Club Dance No. 1” is a very brief rumba featuring a flute with a strong percussion beat. “The Surprise (film) is the most romantic track on the CD, an extended version of the love theme. The forty nine minutes quickly pass.

The remastering is a stereo one and is typical sound of the late 50’s with biting brass, crisp woodwinds, and syrupy violins as called for. Waxman fans need to remember that 1000 copies can sell out quickly so it is better to act sooner rather than later. This reviewer is grateful for another Waxman release, recommended.

 


Track listing

1.

Main Title

2.

Out of the Past/Cold Water Flat

3.

The Surprise

4.

Man and Wife

5.

Preparations/The First Quarrel

6.

Sharon/Sharon Proposes

7.

My Way of Life/Another Obstacle

8.

The Smell of Success/Sad News

9.

Two Up on Me

10.

Detroit Theatre

11.

Hysterical Proposal/Across the Threshold

12.

Never So Good/No Divorce Parts 1 and 2

13.

Defeated Again

14.

Korea War

15.

A New Start/Back From the Past

16.

Discovering the Obvious/The Road to Success/Finale
17 – 21 bonus tracks:

17.

(Love Is a) Career – vocal version

18.

Night Club Dance No. 1

19.

(Love Is a) Career (film)

20.

The Surprise (film)

21.

Never So Good/No Divorce (film)

 

 

lastmanonearth

This reviewer has always pondered what this film would have been like if Hammer had decided to film the adaption of the novel “I Am Legend” the author Richard Matheson had done for the studio. I can envision Andrew Keir and Barbara Shelley in the titles role with Terence Fisher directing and an excellent score from James Bernard.  Alas they decided not to and it was sold to ‘B’ producer Robert Lippert who promptly filmed it in Italy. I can remember going to the drive-in and seeing it in a dusk to dawn spectacular and laughing instead of being mesmerized. It has since been remade as OMEGA MAN (Charlton Heston) in 1971 and I AM LEGEND (Will Smith) in 2006 neither of which I enjoyed. The music from THE LAST MAN ON EARTH is another story as Sawtell and Shefter seemed to have a knack for making good music for these kinds of films.

 

“Prologue” with its swirling strings and extremely effective use of its wind section set the mood and let the listener know this is going to be a science fiction story. The bleak desolate style complements the visual emptiness of the city, or what is left of it. If you sort through the tangled who, what, where, and when you come up with the facts that the “Main Title” was composed by Roy Webb for RETURN OF THE FLY! Does it fit the film? Absolutely just as well as RETURN OF THE FLY if not better. I’m including tracks from both films so that you can compare. main title last man on earth  main title return of the fly If you’re interested RETURN OF THE FLY was released by Kritzerland as part of a double feature, the other half being THE FLY. Other tracks of note include “Vampire Bop” author unknown. It is a structured dissonant jazz track that sounds quite generic and could have been used in any number of television programs such as MIKE HAMMER or PERRY MASON. There is a melody but it is one that is not memorable and quickly forgotten but certainly worthy of repeated listens or deserving of a place on a jazz compilation CD. The “End Title” is very similar to the end title from RETURN OF THE FLY with the 8 note theme this time done more in a romantic Hollywood style.

 

Also included on the disc are four welcome bonus tracks which eliminate the horrible wailing of the Italian dubbing. The cues are far superior as instrumentals.

 

This release I would put in the category of an archival release so what you’ll hear will not rattle your woofers or challenge your tweeters. It is limited dynamic range and if you’re looking for perfection you won’t find it on this CD. What you will hear is a faithful reproduction of what was available, Liner notes by David Schecter, provide everything you need to know about the composers, history of the making of the film, a detailed analysis of the music cue by cue making the liner notes a short story. Keep in mind that this release is limited to 1000 copies so act sooner rather than later.

 

This is always something to look forward to when you purchase a MMM CD. This one comes highly recommended. I hope that you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

 

 

 

 

Track listing

1.

Prologue [1:29]

2.

Main Title [1:36]

3.

Dead Vampires [1:00]

4.

Survival [2:18]

5.

The Stakes [0:41]

6.

Dead Vampires (Taken Away) [1:48]

7.

Pit Smoke [1:16]

8.

Goes for Supplies [2:46]

9.

Killing Vampires [2:03]

10.

Vampire Bop [1:21]

11.

To the Chapel [0:52]

12.

Beside Casket [1:27]

13.

Fights off Vampires [0:41]

14.

Finds Vampires at House [1:48]

15.

Watching Home Movie [1:42]

16.

Retrospect [0:16]

17.

Baby’s Room [0:36]

18.

Smoke [0:09]

19.

Taking the Dead Away [0:47]

20.

Still Troubled [0:12]

21.

The Deserted Lab [0:27]

22.

Death of Baby [0:57]

23.

Raging Inferno [1:47]

24.

Wife Gone [0:30]

25.

To the Cemetery [1:24]

26.

Face from the Grave [0:43]

27.

Sunrise [0:11]

28.

New Discovery [2:08]

29.

Vampires Iron Stakes [0:50]

30.

Dog Is Hurt [1:00]

31.

Buries the Dog [1:41]

32.

Girl’s Existence [1:24]

33.

Injection Needle [0:58]

34.

Girl Infected [0:47]

35.

Transfusion [1:45]

36.

Transfusion a Success [1:15]

37.

Iron Lancers Attack [1:31]

38.

After the Last Man [1:09]

39.

Last Man Shot (93X) [0:11]

40.

Last Man Shot [1:58]

41.

End Title [1:12]

42.

Beside Casket [1:29]

43.

Fights Off Vampires [0:44]

44.

Finds Vampires at House [1:48]

45.

Face from the Grave [0:43]

46.

End Title [1:11]

 

Total Time is 54:39

CD# is MMM1969

Hitchcock (2012)/Elfman

December 4, 2012

Hitchcock_541707

When I first heard that Hollywood was going to make a movie about Alfred Hitchcock starring two favorite actors Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren my heart skipped a beat in anticipation of the release of the film. My heart skipped yet another beat when I found out that Danny Elfman a composer who was quite familiar with Bernard Herrmann, the original composer of “Psycho,” had agreed to do the soundtrack.  This was a marriage that I was confident would result in nothing but spectacular results and I wasn’t disappointed in the least.

Highlights include the opening Logos which are lead by the harps while the reeds in the background enhance the creepy mood with harmony in the way of pizzicato strings. This is merely a prelude for the Theme from Hitchcock, a Largo tempo, which features yearning strings and a clarinet offering the harmony. It is a theme that will be repeated throughout the score, a motif for Hitchcock. It came as a surprise to me as I would have expected something more Hermanesque in nature. I’ve included this track for your listening pleasure.  02 – hitchcock theme Selling Psycho is an all too brief track that offers the listener a somewhat radical departure from the usual cue on this CD. It offers a cool jazz sound from vibes, percussion, and flute giving it a persuasive percussion style. While there is not much in the way of a melody it is a nice diversion in sound from the other tracks and is one that I’ll revisit often in the way of a homemade compilation CD. The Premiere offers that sense of urgency that is definitely in the style of what Herrmann might have written. Impulses also fit into that urgent style making reference to the Herrmann material that was written for “Psycho.”  Paramount/Out of the Gate offers swirling strings in a carousel style complemented with percussion and a few notes from the reed section.  End Credits #1 offer the Herrmann tension along with some nice solo violin work that sounds like it could have come from a Holmes movie. The final track, Funeral March for a Marionette, is a composition by the French composer Gounod and has become a trademark of sorts for Hitchcock over the years being the theme song for his television series.

One of the major benefits of this soundtrack is the recording itself. From the Logos to the Funeral March the digital sound is crystal clear giving the double bass and bass clarinet extra resonance, cymbals the swish sound, and a special tinkle from the harps. It offers excellent dynamic range, good miking and a strong overall performance from the orchestra. It would have put a smile on Herrmann’s face. This is a recording that would benefit from good quality wide range speakers. The small speakers attached to my computer weren’t up to the task of reproducing the bass properly but through my stereo system I detected no issue at all.

I found that with repeated listens much of the subtle nuances that Elfman used will come to the surface. It overall has a Herrmann sound but it doesn’t. It has an Elfman flavor but it isn’t. The music style incorporated is an Elfman original which is also a tribute to one of the finer film composers of all time Bernard Herrmann. Recommended


Track listing

1. Logos (00:49)
2. Theme From “Hitchcock” (01:22)
3. The Premiere (00:40)
4. Paramount And Out The Gate (01:56)
5. Mommy Dearest (00:58)
6. In Bed (00:36)
7. Impulses (01:29)
8. The Censor (00:59)
9. The Swim (02:03)
10. Peeping (00:36)
11. Sacrifices (01:16)
12. Walk With Hitch (00:56)
13. Celery (01:59)
14. Telephone (01:08)
15. Suspicion (02:30)
16. Explosion (03:11)
17. Selling Psycho (01:38)
18. Fantasy Smashed (01:30)
19. The Sand (01:22)
20. It’s A Wrap (01:05)
21. Busted (00:58)
22. Saving The House (01:01)
23. Finally (01:46)
24. Home At Last (00:59)
25. End Credits (Version I) (02:33)
26. End Credits (Version II) (02:25)
27. Funeral March For A Marionette (00:53)

Total Duration: 00:38:38