Broken Arrow/Friedhofer

July 3, 2013

broken arrowOriginally released through BYU/SAE in 1999 it sold out over a period of time and SAE has released a very small quantity (300 copies) to give collectors an opportunity to purchase this fine CD if they missed the first time around. I would hurry because 300 copies isn’t very many copies.

By the time 1950 had rolled around Hugo Friedhofer had already broken away from his orchestration duties with Warner Bros. and had won an Oscar for The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), had Oscar nominated scores for The Bishop’s Wife (1947) and Joan of Arc (1948) and was considered to be an ‘A’ composer. While Broken Arrow (1950) won no rewards for him it is considered by some to be the finest score that he ever did. It was his very first western and like the film he broke the mold on how a western should score. Gone is the cowboy and Indian sound with the tom-tom drum (track 14 is an exception) sound that audiences identify with western films. This film treated the Indians as human beings, not savages and is considered to be one of the early adult westerns.

One of the things that you’ll hear in a Friedhofer score is the heavy use of the leitmotif/Wagner way of writing music. There are several of them in this score and they are all repeated. Beginning with a fanfare of brass  with support from timpani we hear the Cochise theme majestic in nature but also filled with an element of danger also from the horns. The music segues into a second theme Treaty which is in contrast to Cochise ( Jeff Chandler)giving the track a feeling of war and peace. These two themes together is our “Main Title” and we’ll hear both of these melodies throughout the score. “Good Samaritan” offers the Apache #1 theme a melody introduced by a clarinet and then soft strings making it somewhat romantic in nature. It segues into the Treaty to end a strong track. “Torture and Return to Tucson” begins with a dissonant version of the Cochise theme and concludes with another theme called Tucson, a bright update melody that could fit into any number of pictures. Alfred Newman, who conducted the orchestra offered his own track “Tucson and Cochise” which is a compilation of Friedhofer themes which ends in a powerful version of Cochise. “White Painted Lady” is the introduction of Sonseeahray (Deborah Paget) to Jerrod (Jimmy Stewart) and Friedhofer chose a spiritual version of the Apache #1 theme. “Mail Montage” shows a classical side of Friedhofer with an allegro vivace version of the Tucson theme very nicely developed. “Tucson and the Lovers” is yet another two part motif split between the Tucson and Lovers themes. The Lovers theme is nicely performed on the cello. There are two different endings offered for the film, one by Friedhofer and one arranged by Powell which prevailed as 20th Century Fox was looking for an upbeat version. Friedhofer’s, which I prefer, is on the darker side.

As far as this reviewer is concerned this is one of those must have CD’s for your collection if you have any interest at all in golden age material. The recording overall is quite good, especially some of the stereo tracks. Yes there is some background noise and the mono can be a bit flat but overall the work Faiola did on this release is to be commended. Don’t delay.

Track listing


20th Century-Fox Trade Mark (00:12)


Main Title (01:17)


Narration and Opening (01:29)


Good Samaritan (02:14)


Ambush (00:41)


Torture and Return to Tucson (01:14)


Smoke Signal (01:28)


Tucson and Cochise (03:46)


White Painted Lady (02:17)


Accidental Meeting (02:04)


Mail Montage (02:47)


After Battle (01:21)


Tom Proposes (02:22)


Warriors Return (01:31)


In the Woods (00:34)


Tom and Cochise (01:42)


Cochise and Nahilzay (01:44)


Return and Peace Conference (02:32)


Armistice (02:09)


Primitive Ritual and The Lovers (02:49)


Tucson & The Lovers (01:44)


Death of Sonseeahray (02:32)


End Title – Revised (00:49)


End Title (two takes) (01:34)

Total Duration: 00:42:52

2 Responses to “Broken Arrow/Friedhofer”

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