January 28, 2015
LOOSEN IT UP
Not too long after his release of the CD release https://sdtom.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/come-and-shine-1977patrick-williams/ Patrick took on the task of doing the music for “Breaking Away” or so he thought. Bruce at Kritzerland over the years seems to come up with alternate scores and this is the case with this particular score where the temp music became the soundtrack, which was also arranged and orchestrated by Williams, but the music that Patrick wrote for the film is also included so you get to be the judge on which one you prefer. The score was nominated for an Oscar in the best adaption category losing to “All That Jazz.” Steve Tesich won the Oscar for his screenplay and the film was also nominated for best picture, director (Peter Yates) and supporting actress (Barbara Barrie). The film was very successful at the box office and to this day is still popular with a strong following. One of my favorite films of Peter Yates was “Bullitt,” a film completely the opposite of this one. It is a feel good story of four boys growing up and deciding what they want to do with their lives. One who is obsessed with an Italian racing team wants to compete in the “Little 500 Bicycle” race. Of course there is a female and two males vying for her attention.
Let us breakdown the score into two parts The first part is the material that was used in the film (arranged by Williams) which consists of Rossini, Mendelssohn, and von Flowtow with the exception of four cues “Back in the Race,” “Fixing it Up,” “The La-La Song,” and “Loosen it Up.” The second part are cues that Patrick Williams wrote but remain unused in the film numbering fourteen. The audio track I chose for you to listen to “Loosen It Up” could very easily have come from the “Come and Shine” album as the chorus sounds identical to the New York session (check out the shine track in the previous review I did of Patrick Williams). Many of the cues written by Patrick, such as”Full of Love,” “Truck Driver Race,” and “Goodbye Katherina” are classical in nature. Others such as “Souled on You” and “The La-La Song” relive the rock and roll era of the time. All of this shows the extreme versatility of Williams who seems to be comfortable in any genre which this soundtrack shows.
This is a limited edition of 1000 units, many times the case with Kritzerland releases so it is best to act sooner than later. The sound is good and the liner note duties are shared by Bruce and Julie Kirgo. Total time for the CD is 63:40.
December 4, 2014
When you take two box office draws like DeNiro and Streep and put them in a formula template that has worked in the past the producers expected a big Hollywood hit that just didn’t happen for Falling In Love. The acting was fine, plot good with the right amount of comedy and serious times, the New York background was superb and it had good direction. I felt it lagged in a couple of spots but this is a film I’ll return to and watch again as well as recommend to friends. During the film I was rooting for the main characters Mike and Maggie to get together at the end of the film which you’ll have to watch for yourself and see. I approved of the fact that there was no swearing, smoking, or nudity. As Bruce Kimmel producer of the release commented ” they felt the film was beneath its stars- they begrudgingly and halftheartedly says it’s good, damning it with faint praise.”
The Dave Grusin score, which is what we’re really interested in turned out to be a mixed bag when one compares the music from the film and the CD release. In this case I much prefer the CD to the movie especially in regards to the “Mountain Dance” substitution in the opening credits. Both are written by Grusin but the actual music he wrote for the film is far superior in my opinion. I can see why they could have chosen “Mountain Dance” but in reality it was the feature song for a specific album. I’m including a You Tube video clip to give you an idea followed by the “Main Title” music on the CD. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=takOVYOOucA. I also have to say that this is not a very good picture of Dave but fortunately the talent of Grusin shined through.
The “Main Title” which nicely depicts the hustle and bustle of the New York background is one that you’ll hear on several of the tracks. It is a catchy tune that you’ll remember and perhaps want to include in a compilation of Grusin film score music. “Trying to Recall” gives just a hint of what I’ll call the Mike and Maggie theme coupled with the “Main Title” music. It is featured in the track “Seat Taken” and then will appear several times more on the CD. In my opinion it is one of the better written tunes from Grusin. Other tracks of interest include “First Encounter” which introduces a third melody. I like what he did in “The Funeral” as it begins with what you’d expect to hear a fugue but seamlessly becomes the Mike and Maggie theme before ending with the sadness of a funeral. The entire soundtrack features the wonderful keyboards of Grusin who has a delicate but forceful style when called for. He selectively uses shimmering strings and harmonizes well with the percussion. The entire 48 minutes passes quickly.
As is usually the case with Kritzerland releases they are limited to 1000 copies and will sell out. Take advantage of this one soon.
July 3, 2014
LIMITED EDITION OF 1200 UNITS SOLD OUT AT KRITZERLAND
AULD LANG SYNE/MAIN TITLE
Bruce Kimmel in his sparse but detailed liner notes explained it quite well when he said “It is surprising to think that one of the most beloved movies of all time was a box-office disappointment during its original engagement.” The chief competition The Best Years of Our Lives, a story about Middletown U.S.A. a William Wyler picture ran away with the awards including the best original score (my favorite score of all time) by Hugo Friedhofer, orchestrator for Steiner and Korngold. While time has not been kind to this film It’s A Wonderful Life has grown in popularity to the point of being part of Xmas in many homes in America. The informal International Movie Data Base voting has it ranked #26 out of 250.
The story inspired by a dream the author Phillip Van Doren Stern was rejected by many publishers so he ended up printing up 200 copies in booklet form to give to friends. RKO heard about the story and purchased it the following year. The film itself starred James Stewart, newcomer Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, and Thomas Mitchell.
The fine musical score was written by Russian born Dimitri Tiomkin (1894-1979) who carefully combined his own material with traditional music Americans know and love. “A Wonderful Life,” or main title, is a happy upbeat major keyed melody that is selectively used throughout the score in addition to the beginning, the ending, and a vocal which in my opinion doesn’t give justice to the song at all. For me this is a Judy Garland number all the way. “Wrong Mary Hatch/The Prayer” gives you a few bars of one of the more recognizable sound bites “Dies Irae,” as well as a few bars of the drama motif. Listen for it as it’s pretty easy to spot. I also like the creepiness of “Pottersville Cemetery” complete with swirling strings and a wordless choir. The short but effective “End Title” is a big band version of the main theme which is a bit bouncy and upbeat. The viewers are in a happy mood and this reinforces it even more. I’m including this as an audio clip to give you a sampling of this fine score.
|1.||Main Title / Heaven (3:45)|
|5.||George and Dad(1:44)|
|9.||George Lassoes Stork (2:03)|
|11.||Bank Crisis (:53)|
|12.||Search for Money(2:01)|
|14.||Dankgebet / This Is the Army, Mr. Jones (2:20)|
|15.||Uncle Billy’s Blunder(1:14)|
|17.||George Is Unborn (2:24)|
|20.||Wrong Mary Hatch / The Prayer (2:05)|
|21.||A Wonderful Life (original finale)(3:24)|
|22.||Auld Lang Syne / End Title (:54)BONUS TRACKS|
|23.||It’s a Wonderful Life (vocal)(3:52)|
|24.||Wedding March / Big Band (1:10)|
|25.||Father’s Death (alternate)(:21)|
|26.||Haunted House (alternate take)(2:40)|
|27.||Pottersville Cemetery (without chorus)(1:19)|
|28.||Auld Lang Syne (extended take) (:32)|
Total Time is 49:26
May 14, 2014
KRITZERLAND 20025-0 LIMITED EDITION OF 1000 UNITS
main theme from Overload
When I choose to review a new release I usually have some prior knowledge about the film, director, and composer which was not the case with Overlord, a film by Stuart Cooper. I had some prior knowledge of Glass with a film he did for Preminger Bunny Lake is Missing (1965) but even with that I managed to get Paul and Philip mixed up! The film deals with D-Day; with war footage that came from the Imperial War Museum which is overlayed into a story of a British soldier and his involvement in World War II. Glass wasn’t considered a major composer for Hollywood but this score, completely overlooked by practically everyone except Bruce Kimmel, is a strong entry and one that deserves its place with the better material. Glass spent a good part of his life composing his classical music which I’m ashamed to say I have no experience with at all. Something that I certainly need to correct in the near future as there is an impressive list of compositions that Glass has done.
“Premonition” is the opening track and is a dissonant non thematic one that is not twelve tone but makes you feel a certain amount of discord. It is a theme that could also fit into a psychological film quite easily. Even though it displays the discord there is a certain element of structure which makes this one of the more interesting tracks I’ve heard in quite some time. “Tom” the second track begins with an extremely strong melody from the cello which exchanges the melody and harmony with a small string ensemble. The theme is repeated in “Prisoner” and an interesting variation in “The Fall” which adds opening track dissonant. “We Don’t Know Where We’re Going” is the second dominant theme and a period sweet band number with a catchy vocal sung by Nick Curtis with British accent and slang of the times. This is one you hear as an instrumental with the trumpet, clarinet, piano, and alto and tenor sax exchange playing the melody and harmony. I found the tracks on this one to be especially clear with crisp sound from the solo instruments. As the liner notes reveal this was a personal tape that Glass recorded and it must have been a good brand.
Overlord, the first of three soundtracks on this 2 CD release is an outstanding one and my personal favorite of the three likely because of the haunting main melody. I’m including “8M2” as an audio clip for you to enjoy. Highly recommended.
1… Premonition (2:07)
2… Tom (1:09)
3… A Long Walk (1:17)
4… Prisoner (2:23)
5… The Fall (2:30)
6… “We Don’t Know Where We’re Going” (1:03)
7… Corfe Castle/A Kiss (3:03)
8… “We Don’t Know Where We’re Going” (3:26) vocal
9… Called Away/Waiting to Go (1:46)
10. Preparing the Dead (2:07)
11. Premonition/Sacrifice/End Title (6:48)
12. 3M1 (1:08)
13. 8M3X (2:15)
14. “We Don’t Know Where We’re Going” (3:42)
15. 8M2 (2:49)
April 23, 2014
LIMITED EDITION OF 1000 UNITS
APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER PRELUDE
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Victor Young is the most unappreciated composer that Hollywood has ever had. He was an assembly line producing score after score with songs that have become standards. Bill Evans, a favorite of mine in the jazz world, recorded Young compositions and turned them into jazz standards. Henry Mancini, who Victor Young helped get a start in Hollywood, wrote an incredible suite of his hits and reintroduced many to his talents.
APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER (1950) starred Alan Ladd, Phyllis Thaxter, Harry Morgan, and Jack Webb. Ladd was a postal agent attempting to break up a million dollar robbery. Thaxter was a nun who saw more than she should have and Webb and Morgan played thugs. The movie which is free to watch on the internet will really help you understand the score. The “Prelude” which is included as an audio clip sets the tone for the picture with train motion a military theme and a sentimental theme for the relationship between Ladd and Thaxter. Source material music is prevalent which includes “ Tantum Ergo,” a child choir, “Symphony No. 1,” a Young arrangement of Brahms 1st Symphony, a scene where the radio is turned up, and “Lonely Am I/Slow Bus to Memphis” a bop number and a slow dance tune which are played on records. All of this shows the versatility of Young and his attention to details. The underscore material is well written and certainly of interest.
THE ACCUSED (1949) had a controversial story for its day dealing with a student who sexually attacks his teacher is killed in self defense but the teacher not only tries to cover it up but falls in love with his best friend. May I say it is a typical Loretta Young melodrama? Robert Cummings, Wendell Corey, and Sam Jaffe also star. The theme is a pretty one with a style that will make you recognize his compositions Golden Earrings and Stella By Starlight.
SEPTEMBER AFFAIR (1950) had a bit of a twist in the plot where a plane crash allows two lovers in there autumn years to disappear into the sunset. It starred Joseph Cotton, Joan Fontaine, and Jessica Tandy. Part of the score was the famous song September Song (Weill/Anderson) which Young nicely incorporates into six of the cues. This is a beautiful song lushly done with his singing strings, Young’s trademark when he recorded for Decca records. Other tracks feature a travel log of European sounds from Italy and other countries.
Fans of Victor Young will welcome these new soundtracks as a welcome addition to their collections. The average soundtrack collector will likely pass on this release as we can’t have everything. This release is limited to 1000 copies. Sound quality is fine for films made in the late forties and fifties.
1. Prelude (1:13)
2. Ferrar Enters the Act (1:18)
3. Tantum Ergo (Traditional)/Organ (2:14)
4. Soderquist’s Swan Song/Ferrar’s Bad Manners (1:16)
5. Goddard Plays Guinea Pig (1:54)
6. Symphony No. 1 (excerpt) (Brahms) (1:54)
7. Lonely Am I (Lilley)/Slow Bus to Memphis (1:35)
8. The Ferrar Chase/Bridge to Hotel (2:23)
9. The Clever Defense/The Boner (2:08
10. Regas Follows Nun (Bridge) (1:07)
11. The Mail Robbery (2:57)
12. The Short Straw (1:06)
13. Cops and Robbers (3:48)
14. Finale and End Cast (0:39)
Tracks 1-14 from APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER
15. Prelude (1:08)
16. Shimmer/Bill’s Guardian (1:32)
17. The Convalescent (1:30)
18. The Vacant Chair (2:15)
19. Cocktail Lounge–Radio Music (2:00)
20. Cyclothymiac Cutie/Hall of Justice (2:18)
21. Gypsy Violins (1:35)
22. Heart to Heart Talk (4:45)
23. End Title (0:35)
Tracks 15-23 from THE ACCUSED
24. Rome 1948 (1:43)
25. The Naples Tour (2:17)
26. Pompeii Tour* (2:08)
27. Capri Tour* (5:42)
28. The Letter** (1:47)
29. Avenue of Obscurity** (2:11)
30. The Telegram**/The New Love and the Old* (3:24)
31. Maria**/Return Home and Finale* (3:15)
*includes “September Song” by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson
**based on “September Song” by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson
Tracks 24-31 from SEPTEMBER AFFAIR
April 3, 2014
KR 20027-7 Kritzerland
LIMITED EDITION OF 1000 UNITS
Bruce Kimmel, owner of Kritzerland, has come up with the idea of using songs from horror movies and the result is fun, witty, and nothing I expected to hear when I spun the CD for the first time. As well as being interested in soundtracks I’m also interested in watching horror movies and hearing “ Hey You” from The Mummy’s Curse, and “Faro-La, Faro-Li” from Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman was an extremely pleasant surprise and most enjoyable. I’ve included this as an audio clip to tempt you. Always remember that the clips are low quality and not an indication of the true sound. This is selfish on my part as they save me a lot of space which helps out expenses. Bruce very likely used actors and actresses who have worked with him in his musicals he produces, directs, and sometime acts in them himself.
Beside the above mentioned I also enjoyed “Look For A Star” a pop hit that woefully seemed out of place in Circus of Horrors, a ‘B’ film that I wouldn’t waste my time on, is nicely sung by Guy Haines pretty true to the original. “Who Killed Teddy Bear” is nicely done with a Burt Bacharach “Walk on By” arrangement. Another song that was better than the movie was “You Gotta Have EEE-OOO” from the ‘B’ film Monster on Campus. The rock and roll number which is sung by Jason Graae has an infectious melody, some nice sax work that certainly recalls memories. The compilation also has “Eeny Meeny Miney Moe” from “I Was A Teenage Werewolf,” the Michael Landon forgettable film, and “Daddy Bird” from Frankenstein’s Daughter. After a 30 plus second blank spot we hear the “Mothra’s Song” this time with English words to end the 8 minute track. The previous track had some nice flute work and then the lyrics sung in Japanese.
This is not a soundtrack album but a easy listening CD that makes excellent background music to listen to as you’re working around the house or having people over for a gathering. The recording quality is fine and except for the bonus that is not shown it is one that monster fans will enjoy. In fact I’m getting out my DVD of Mummy’s Curse and having a listen to “Hey You.”
01. WHO KILLED TEDDY BEAR? (from “Who Killed Teddy Bear?”) – Tami Tappan-Damiano (3:52)
02. GOODY GOODY (from “What’s The Matter With Helen?”) – Lynnette Perry with special appearance by Zacherley (3:16)
03. LOOK FOR A STAR (from “Circus of Horrors”) – Guy Haines (2:59)
04. I’VE WRITTEN A LETTER TO DADDY / WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (from “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”) – Katherine Helmond and Remy Zaken (5:26)
05. THE FAITHFUL HEART (from “Journey to the Center of the Earth”) – Rebecca Luker (4:37)
06. HEY, YOU! (from “The Mummy’s Curse) / FARO-LA, FARO-LI (SONG OF THE NEW WINE) (3:39)(from “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man”) – Judy Kaye and The Scarlettes
07. HUSH…HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE (from “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte”) – Christiane Noll (3:35)
08. JEEPERS CREEPERS (from “Jeepers Creepers”) – Sharon McNight (3:48)
09. THE BLOB (from “The Blob”) – Alison Fraser (3:24)
10. AURORA (from “Hold That Ghost”) – Michelle Nicastro (3:07)
11. MOTHRA’S SONG (from “Mothra”) – Theresa Finamore and Juliana A. Hansen (6:32)
12. YOU’RE MY LIVING DOLL (from “Attack of the Puppet People”) – Susan Gordon (2:16)
13. STELLA BY STARLIGHT (from “The Uninvited”) – Brent Barrett (2:00)
14. WAS A TEENAGE HORROR MEDLEY: YOU GOTTA HAVE EEE-OOO (from “How to Make a Monster“) / EENY MEENY MINEY MOE (from “I Was a Teenage Werewolf“) DADDY BIRD (from “Frankenstein’s Daughter“) – Jason Graae (7:57)
Track time is 56:35
February 27, 2014
Following the Cinemascope film The Robe 20th Century Fox continued with a sequel Demetrius and the Gladiators which starred Susan Hayward, Victor Mature, Michael Rennie, Richard Egan, and Debra Paget. The veteran Delmer Daves directed with cinematographer Milton Krasner manning the camera.
Alfred Newman, who was overwhelmed with work at the time, assigned the job to Franz Waxman, who promptly took the major themes from The Robe and incorporated them into his soundtrack. Waxman was at his height in composing having won Oscars for Sunset Boulevard and A Place in the Sun with Prince Valiant, The Nun’s Story, The Silver Chalice, and Taras Bulba on the horizon. And these listings don’t include one of my all time favorite scores Rebecca that he collaborated on with Alfred Hitchcock, his first film in the US. And this was all against the better wishes of his family! Waxman composed classical music, had concerts in Los Angeles where he premiered new works from other classical composers, and dedicated his life to music.
“Prelude” opens the CD with a restatement of themes from The Robe including the lovely romantic theme Diana and the inspiring majestic main title to set the mood for the film. It is filled with brass fanfares, wonderful string motifs, and makes it quite clear that this is a film with religious ideas. “Night in the Palace” is a Waxman track that begins with an air of mystery as pizzicato strings are used in harmony with the brass and percussion to offer tension. The second half is a plodding underscore.”Claudius and Caligua” mono source, which is far more listenable than the stereo clip also included, is excellent underscore which has the Waxman sound. The harp is made good use of at the end of the cue. “Messalina and Demetrius” continues the use of the harp in a dance like style. I’ve always use of the glissando use of the harp and the oboe which is featured in a solo. “Torch/Egyptian Dancers” sound like an Oriental Dance you might expect to hear with the flutes dominating the cue. “Caligula Enters” is dominated by the trumpets with harmony coming from the rest of the brass section. “Gladiator March” is similar in sound with a nice touch of the tambourine. These two tracks have a little distortion. “At the Pottery” offers some nice playing from the reeds in a romantic interlude. The second part of the cue is a dance with the oboe leading the way with strong emphasis from the percussion.
I’ve included two audio clips to give you an idea of the improvement that Mike Matessino, restoration expert, was able to do with the score. The first clip is taken from the FSM release and the second from this Kritzerland offering. You can hear the evidence of the damage done. The only advantage of getting the FSM release would be a bonus track which came from The Egyptian called “Hymn to Aton.” The price is double what you can get the Kritzerland for. I would also encourage you to get the two CD set of The Robe from La-La Land LLLCD1203. Having both in your collection makes sense as this film is a sequel.
|Night in the Palace|
|The Slave Market / Roman Police|
|Claudius and Messalina|
|Torch Dancers / Egyptian Dancers|
|After the Fight|
|Messalina at Home|
|At the Pottery / The Gladiator’s Party|
|The Kiss (excerpt) / Fanfare for Gladiator’s Entrance|
|Temple of Isis|
|Claudius and Caligula (mono source)|
|Messalina and Demetrius|
|Return to Faith|
|The Dungeon – Glycon|
Temporary Dance Track
Caligula’s Death (unused percussion)
Claudius and Caligula (stereo – damaged)
Temptation (excerpt with sound effects)
Gloria (orchestra only)