Man Hunt (1941)/Newman

December 11, 2014

 manhunt artwork 001

La-La Land Records LLLCD1319

man hunt main title

If I were going to think about least likely things to happen one of them would be La-La Land releasing a 1941 score of Alfred Newman. “Man Hunt” directed by Fritz Lang for 20th Century Fox and taken from a British best seller “Rogue Male” by Geoffrey Household dealt with a story about an African game hunter Capt. Alan Thorndike (Walter Pidgeon) who stalked Adolph Hitler for sport he claims and is captured by the Germans. He escaped and the story title was on. Also appearing in the film were Joan Bennett, John Carradine, and George Sanders fine character actors in their day. The soundtrack was written by Alfred Newman, he did 15 that year with assistance from David  Buttolph and orchestrators Edward Powell and Herbert Spencer, a team effort from the 20th Century Fox musical department.

There are three themes that are repeated throughout the score: “Main Title” or ‘thriller’ theme titled by liner note writer Julie Kirgo, who did an excellent job, “The Roast Beef of Old England,” giving a British feeling for the main character, and finally “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square,” a song by Sherwin and Maschwitz which made the songbooks of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Glenn Miller among others. It was the romantic theme for Joan Bennett.

After a short prelude the ‘thriller’ theme is introduced first by the orchestra and then by the bass clarinet, a good choice for the use of an instrument. You will hear this theme interwoven throughout the entire score. It is an excellent one and due to the bass clarinet playing one that you’re not likely to forget soon.

A full treatment of the nightingale song is given in “Night Comfort” while “Fish and Chips” gives us both the nightingale theme as well as a nice sampling of the roast beef tune. The 42+ minute score is finished before you know it leaving you with a lasting impression.

The transfer of the material, my older intersound speakers, the surviving sound from the film results in an exceptionally clear mono sound with only a hint of some distortion in it. I encourage you to watch the film and purchase this soundtrack which is a limited edition of only 1500 units. If this would happen to be a first introduction to the talents of Alfred Newman you will not be disappointed. Get it before it sells out.

Track Listing:

1.  Main Title (1:25)

2.  German Headquarters (3;28)

3.  The Confession (4:00)

4.  High Places (3:25)

5.  In the Ship’a Cabin (2:40)

6.  Meeting Jerry (4:27)

7.  Helping Thorndike (2:24)

8.  Night Comfort (1:33)

9.  Fish and Chips (5:21)

10. Stalking (1:23)

11. Murder in the Underground (5:03)

12. A Letter for Stokes (2:39)

13. Exchange (1:59)

14. War Montage (1:33)

15. Bail Out-End Title (0:40)

16. End Cast (0:36)

Total Time is 42:34

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