November 25, 2010
Nominated for 6 Oscars including the best score, the film took a back seat to The Heiress and All the King’s Men and won only for film editing. The Ring Lardner written novel Champion starring Kirk Douglas was a realistic look at the boxing scene in the 40’s. Ring pulled no punches, pun intended, and the film screenplay was somewhat sugar coated. Even so the film is a tough watch. The gritty film as directed by Mark Robson who did fine work for Val Lewton also paired Carl Foreman and Stanley Kramer together, a duo who are also responsible for High Noon and other films.
The Tiomkin score included the song “Never Be It Said,” lyrics by Goldie Goldmark and sung by Polly Bergen. This melody was a key part of the soundtrack and Dimitri put it to good use. Sounding a bit dated today the melody like so many that Tiomkin wrote was quite infectious and I found myself humming it long after I had stopped listening to the score and viewing the film. “Connie Finds Emma” is a track that offers the entire vocal as well as a romantic version of the song. It opens with an extended solo on piano which gives way to the vocal. “Shall We Get Wet” is the longest of the tracks of “Never Be It Said” and is very lush with the entire orchestra participating in the arrangement. “Love on the Sly” offers just the beginning of the vocal but is cut short by a dissonant passage. “Shotgun Wedding” has the marriage motif performed on the organ and then there is a dissolve into the “Shall We Get Wet” theme again. The cue is actually one minute not the 43 seconds shown on the track listing. The “Main Title” is a slow prodding funeral paced opening which quickly changes to the “Champion” a very American/Sousa march. This march was eventually recorded for Decca on a themes music album and is a very strong melody and track. There are several source cues written by Tiomkin for the film as well as a quick visit to the Sousa composition “The Washington Post March.”
This release is from the original mono acetates and while the quality is amazing it won’t have the dynamic range we’ve grown accustomed to with the digital recordings. There are small glitches in various places that couldn’t be repaired and is just something you’ll have to live with. If Ray could have done something he would have. You’ll enjoy this highly melodic soundtrack from Tiomkin in spite of the dated sounding material. I for one will revisit this CD on a regular basis. This is a limited release of 1500 units and while it is still available from Screen Archives it will sell out at some point. The liner notes written by Ray Faiola about the making of the film as well as the music by are quite enlightening so much so that I sought out a copy of the film to watch it. All in all this is yet another welcome release from Screen Archives. Recommended.
Total Duration: 00:42:26