The Buccaneer/Elmer Bernstein
January 30, 2014
When Cecil B. DeMille (1881-1959) realized how successful his remake of “The Ten Commandments” was his thoughts turned to remaking another film he had previously filmed “The Buccaneer,” done 20 years prior in 1938. It was to be his last film ending up being directed by Anthony Quinn, his son-in-law at the time. It was given a star studded cast that included Yul Brynner, astHenry Hull. Everything was first class but the box office sales were rather cool, a disappointment for Paramount and DeMille.
The scoring assignment was given to Elmer Bernstein (1922-2004), one of nine films he did in 1958. It was done after “Anna Lucasta” and before “Some Came Running” to give you an idea of the time frame)
It was also recorded in Germany (strike time for the orchestras), performed by the Graunke Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kurt Granke. The Main Title, is one of the more powerful cues written. Beginning with a proud and majestic fanfare, something you might hear from a marching band, it next offers a short melody with sweet sounding strings. This is followed by the brass offering the main title, a variation of the opening fanfare. Up next is the romantic melody, warmly played by the strings. It continues with another variation of the main melody before it ends with patriotic references to Americana themes. This is all done in less than four minutes! These are all themes that you’ll hear throughout the score such as “Lady and the Pirate,” the romantic theme, “Jackson’s Study,” patriotic theme, “Lafitte’s Arrival,” main title and patriotic. There is an abundance of period type tracks offered such as “Elmer’s Virginia Reel,” classical Mozart style material that hints at the themes in the main title. “Honest Dominque” is a tavern type theme featuring the melody from the accordion and guitar background/harmony. If you like the bagpipe “Bagpipe and Drum Melody” gives you an extended track. There is a polka, waltzes, and even a vocal from Yul Brynner “Allez a l’eau.” The final 12 tracks consist of piano demos from Elmer Bernstein offering a variety of different styles.
There have been several releases of this score but none as complete as this Kritzerland release. It is limited to a 1000 copies so it is better to act sooner than later. The stereo sound does it justice to improve the listening experience as the Graunke Symphony doesn’t have the fire of the Hollywood Orchestras. There playing at times seems to plod along in spots. If you only get the soundtrack for the first track your getting your money’s worth.
Total Duration: 01:15:40