Pennies from Heaven/Compilation
June 25, 2014
PERSEVERANCE # 059
Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries
I think that all of the younger generation should be made to sit and listen to this soundtrack just like I’ve listened to some of the newer material that I must listen to as a reviewer and indirectly their music when I venture out in public at a restaurant as an example. This is the thirties and the depression era when Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were the thing and musicals made one forget the hard times. The lyrics were a contrast to the hopelessness of the era. My father who is 88 and very much alive has given me his experiences growing up in North Dakota at the time.
MGM took a very bold move in 1981 by deciding to revive the musical and going a step further cast Steve “The Jerk,” Martin, the new Jerry Lewis in the lead role. Martin wanted to shed his comedy side and show to the public that he could act. They invested fifteen million dollars in the project and the response from the public was lukewarm at best. Having said that Bernadette Peters, the female star in the film, won a Golden Globe for her performance and it was nominated also for two Academy Awards. As a bit of trivia for your friends Christopher Walken played a role as a tap dancer.
The soundtrack was mainly music of the time with additional material provided by Marvin Hamlisch and some very fine arranging by Billy May who is known for his skills as a composer/ orchestrator for Capitol Records in the fifties. Billy played trumpet with the Glenn Miller band in the early forties. I best remember May for his television work on Batman, Naked City, and Green Hornet. Because of the period music this is a mono soundtrack that features from very nice restoration work. You’ll hear very little noise in the background on this one. Yes the material is compressed but keep in mind some of this material is eighty years old.
Liner notes are provided by Daniel Schweiger a long standing writer in our soundtrack community. They provide a nice blend of the period, the making of the film, and the soundtrack itself. Give this one a spin or download and take yourself back to the time when the original King Kong ruled. I give Robin Esterhammer an A for taking a chance and making a good effort.
Total Duration: 00:58:21