HOW OLD WERE YOU IN 1972?

I was 16.

1972, was a year of variation in cinema, with a number of movies released in that year now being referred to as classics, movies such as The Godfather for example, then we were treated to films such as Deliverance, Straw Dogs, Silent Running,  The Last Tango in Paris, Solaris, X,Y and Zee, Play it again Sam, Aguirre-Wrath of God , Jerimiah Johnson, The Getaway, The Offence, Love in the Afternoon, Everything you wanted to Know about Sex but were afraid to ask, Images, and the list goes on it seems forever,

1972 also saw a scattering of Kung Fu movies, or should I say martial arts films, many being from China badly dubbed and heavily edited, such as The One Armed Swordsman but two of the better martial art sagas from that year were Fist of Fury and The Way of the Dragon, both of which starred Bruce Lee.

There were also a handful of international movies as in foreign language films, The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, Padroz za jeden usmiech, Wesele, and Poszukiwany, Poszukiwana. It was also the year in which we saw The Poseidon Adventure in cinemas and films such as The Mechanic, The Hot Rock, and Fellini’s Roma achieving good returns at the box office. Joe Kidd too was released but to a little less enthusiasm from audiences.

Filmmaker Billy Wilder also entertained via his movie Avanti that starred Jack Lemmon and Juliet Mills, and John Huston gave us The life and times of Judge Roy Bean with Paul Newman in the title role. And let’s not forget Liza (with a Z) Minelli, who wowed audiences in the screen version of the musical Cabaret.

So, I think you will agree that this was a not only varied year in film but also a greatly entertaining one as well.  It is now fifty years since these and other films from that year burst onto our screens, it was a world before disco, and a place where if you needed to know anything you had to buy a set of encyclopedias, go to the library, read books or ask a grown up. There was no internet (no, really there was no world wide web), home computers were not heard of (because I think if you wanted a computer at home you would have to live in a mansion or a castle to house it at that time) and people’s needs seemed to be less complex and difficult. The soundtrack market too was somewhat different as many film scores never saw the light of day on a recording unless it was a big movie or deemed to an important one. It was a period when there were some specialist soundtrack outlets such as Soundtrack and Harlequin in London, period but most of the time one had to rely upon the humble record shop and someone behind the counter that had an inkling of what film music was. Many shops stocked those compilations of cover versions of movie themes by Mantovani, Manuel and the Music of the Mountains, (Geoff Love) and the likes of Ron Goodwin etc.

So, it was a surprise to me when I went into the department store in the centre of town and found the LP soundtrack for Silent Running. I had seen the movie and loved it, it had a message, but I think most of the watching audience did not really understand it or get that message. That message I think is even more relevant today, but still, no one listens. I did whilst watching the movie notice the score and had not heard of the composer, but I know I liked the music and the way it worked in the movie. The LP was on the MCA label, and had terrific eye-catching cover art. It was a no brainer for me I had to have it. It is a score that I still listen to today, but I do tend to listen to the digital edition now.

I still have the original LP and the re-issue on Varese Sarabande in green vinyl, and was lucky enough to interview the composer, Peter Schickele a couple of years back. The music for the movie is not just supportive but also via the lyrics and vocals of Joan Baez tells a story and adds atmospherics and varying moods to the unfolding storyline. To say that Silent Running was ahead of its time is I suppose an understatement. The movie was a compelling one and contained many thought-provoking moments. The storyline implies that all plant life as we know it on earth has become extinct,( that could not possibly happen could it?) what has been done is that as many varieties of plants have been rescued and sent into space on great domes which are in effect huge greenhouses that can sustain life and preserve it in the hope that earth will be able one day again allow it to flourish, but until then these domes are attached to a spacecraft which is drifting in space.

The ship Valley Forge is part of a large fleet of container ships which is on the outskirts of the orbit of Saturn. The domes are attended by a crew, one of which is passionate about his work, Freeman Lowell played marvellously by Bruce Dern is one of the four-member crew and he tends the plant life and the animals that are in the domes, in the hope that soon they will return to earth for re-forestation. Things however do not go how Lowell thinks they will, and they receive orders that the domes should be jettisoned and destroyed by blowing them up with nuclear charges.

Lowell is incensed by the decision and after four of the six domes are destroyed, he decides to put a stop to the destruction and rescue the plants and wildlife that he has been caring for. It’s a tense storyline at times but also contains  but also has the ability to become frustrating for the watching audience, the other crew members are not at all in tune with the plants or the animals and to them it’s a job and when they are told to destroy the domes they set about doing this. Lowell kills one of the crew members who attempts to place charges in his favourite dome, in the fight Lowell’s leg is injured badly, but he manages to jettison and destroy the fifth dome which is carrying the remaining crew members. He then recruits three drones to help him and names them Huey, Dewey, and Louie and re-programmes them. The impressive movie was helmed by Douglas Trumbull, in his directorial debut.

This is in my opinion a mini classic and a must watch movie. And the score is too an iconic work, that like the movie has gained a cult following. It is a fairly small-scale score although there are a couple of cues that do become grand and symphonic, these being The Space Fleet, and Saturn, in which the composer utilises brass, strings and percussion to create an near anthem like sound, the remainder of the work is essentially low key and although symphonic has to it a more intimate and personal style as in the cues, Drifting, and The Dying Forest, with the composer combining a soft and fragile sounding solo piano with lilting strings to achieve a sense of melancholy in the cue Tending to Huey.

The composers use of solo cello and violin in certain cues is also affecting, purveying a sense of loss, disbelief, and desperation. There is also a sense of drama achieved in the tracks No Turning Back in which the composer employs sinewy sounding strings that ebb and flow at times swelling to create a melodic ambience.

Remember this was Pre-Star Wars. Yes, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker were still a twinkle in the minds eye of George Lucas. Silent Running is a film that you should watch and if you already have seen it why not take the time to return to it. I did and was I must admit even more impressed with it and its score.

composer Peter Schickele

From deep space we head back to earth and to rural surroundings of England, in the movie Straw Dogs where astrophysicist David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) and his wife Amy (Susan George) are bullied and taken advantage of by the locals hired to do construction work at their cottage just outside of a remote village in the west country of England. The couple have moved to the village in the hope that they will escape the pace of life that they have been experiencing in America, which is rushed and hectic, and the environment becoming increasingly violent. But they find the same elements and traits in the relatively quiet and laid-back Cornwall village where Amy was born and grew up and it soon transpires, she has history with some of the local males. When David finally takes a stand against the bullies, it escalates quickly into a bloody battle as the locals assault his home.

Jerry Fielding.

The movie directed by Sam Peckinpah contained the now infamous rape scene, Hoffman gives a sold performance in the movie and Jerry Fielding’s sparse but affecting music adds tension and generates greater atmospherics to enhance the storyline as it heads towards its violent and graphic conclusion. The music is brooding, menacing, and dark, and although it supports and underlines it never intrudes or overpowers the dialogue or action on screen, Fielding’s score punctuated and enhanced but also allowed the movie to breath.  

Just to remind you of the year 1972 maybe you recall the likes of Mr squeaky clean David Cassidy who was asking How can I be Sure? or the more shining bright and clean cut example of American wholesomeness The Osmonds, in the charts, or maybe the sweetly smiling New Seekers stand out for you as they were attempting to Teach the world to sing in perfect harmony (good luck with that one) or you could have opted for something a little more risqué in the form of T. Rex with Metal Guru, the 1970’s were to be a furtive time in both music and film, and even though the cinematic heights of 1972 were at times brought down to earth by certain movies such as Steptoe and Son or Carry on Abroad and Mutiny on the Buses, they were all entertaining in their own inimitable fashion.

Mutiny on the Buses in fact, was a better box office attraction than Hammer’s other big movie that year Dracula AD 1972, which attempted to bring the infamous Count screaming and biting into the 20thCentury with disappointing results, these included dodgy hairstyles, even worse clothing and a script that really was cringeworthy at the time and thinking about it stayed that way even when one revisited the film in the following years. I bet the Count was saying under his breath “I Hate you Buses” or maybe “Hey man groovy far out”.

The On the Buses movies were a spin off from the already successful TV series that was on the ITV network, but I do not think that even Hammer had envisaged just how successful the first movie would be and led to the studio producing two sequels Mutiny on the Buses and Holiday on the Buses which were both very popular with audiences.  Hammer studios were during this time at a crossroads, their horror films as in Dracula etc had begun to lose their attraction with audiences, mainly because yes, they were horror but was there enough horror in them for the audience to focus its attention? The time-honoured recipe for success that the studio had employed since the late 1950’s with movies such as The Curse of Frankenstein and their first Dracula, picture was waning for Hammer as they attempted to bring the vampire Count into the contemporary world during the 1970’s, in films such as Dracula AD 1972 and the slightly better effort The Satanic Rites of Dracula. But some of the old Hammer appeal did raise its head in productions such as Twins of Evil (1971) and the excellent Vampire Circus which was also released in 1972.

So, the studio turned once again to comedy as they had before with movies such as The Ugly Duckling in 1959 which starred Bernard Bresslaw and Up the Creek the year before. In the hope that they could re-create the success of the Carry On Movies, with the On The Buses series it worked, but after this the movies they decided to produced based on TV shows fell a little flat with cinema goers such as Man about the House and Love thy Neighbour losing their appeal on the big screen for some. The central character of all the On the Buses storylines was played by Reg Varney who portrayed the downtrodden Stan Butler who always seemed to be having bad luck. Mutiny on the Buses was scored by well-known Australian born composer Ron Grainer, who of course found a place in music lover’s hearts with his theme for Dr Who and had wowed soundtrack fans with his wonderfully atmospheric score to The Omega Man in 1971. 

Ron Grainer.

The music that he penned for Mutiny is serviceable and pleasant enough but it’s no Oscar winner as far as film music goes. The music is basically a continuous travelogue style of score that runs sporadically throughout the movie, there are some nice themes but these never seem to develop so the music never makes much of an impression or supports the storyline that much. GDI records released a selection of music from Grainer’s soundtrack on the Hammer Comedy Collection.  

HAMMER FILMS PRODUCTIONS: ‘VAMPIRE CIRCUS’ (1972) .

So, staying with Hammer from 1972 and Vampire Circus as I have already mentioned. This is in my opinion one of Hammers finest non-Dracula vampire yarns, the story was inventive and original plus it also contained traditional aspects of the vampire legend and the frights, blood, and sex came in the bucket load. It was a gripping movie with many familiar faces from Hammer history and British films. It also contained one of Hammer’s best film scores from composer David Whittaker who wrote a powerful and commanding symphonic soundtrack to enhance and bolster the vampiric goings on. The cast included Adrienne Corri, Anthony Higgins, John Moulder Brown, Lalla Ward, Robin Sachs, Thorley Walters, David Prowse (pre-Darth Vader) and a fresh-faced actress Lynne Frederick. 

“Your children will die to give me back my life” that’s what Count Mitterhaus vows on his death bed after being staked through the heart by the villagers of Stetl in an action packed and impressive pre-credits sequence. A little different from Mutiny on the Buses but a lot classier than Dracula AD 1972 and showing something of the old Hammer style. Sadly, David Whittaker’s magnificent score was never released in its entirety, but a suite was recorded by Silva Screen which ran for nearly ten minutes, and then GDI released sections of the score on its Vampire Collection, the music is beguiling and at times frenzied, but also contains hints of romanticism and is filled with menace and foreboding. There is a macabre and somewhat awkward sounding waltz theme which appears at the beginning of the movie during a love scene which proves to be a masterful touch from the composer.

THE BLOODIEST SHOW ON EARTH! HAMMER FILMS PRODUCTIONS: ‘VAMPIRE CIRCUS’ (1972)

It purveys a sense of romanticism but is at the same time tinged with an air of uncertainty and apprehension becoming sensual and affecting as the couple make love before being interrupted by angry villagers baring stakes and crucifix’s. The composer utilises strings in lush and opulent mode that are augmented by cimbalom adding hints of ethnic authenticity to the proceedings and introducing a chilling atmosphere at the same time. Directed by Robert Young and produced by Wilbur Stark and Michael Carreras (uncredited). The movie was shot at Pinewood studios, it was and remains a stylish and thought-provoking tale that kept one’s attention focused throughout, its strangely alluring and believable plot I felt was a better storyline than any of the Dracula movies I had seen. For a more in depth look at the film and its score click here. VAMPIRE CIRCUS. | MOVIE MUSIC INTERNATIONAL. (MMI) . (wordpress.com)

1972 also gave us Lady Sings the Blues the story of American jazz singer Billie Holiday portrayed convincingly by soul diva Diana Ross, produced by Motown films for Paramount Pictures it also starred Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor. As well as the songs of Billie Holiday the soundtrack also featured a romantic sounding theme with hints of melancholy by French composer Michel Legrand. The theme being utilised throughout in varying arrangements, Legrand employing a rich and lavish sounding piece, for strings and piano which created a sense of the luxurious.

Which worked well because it was just the opposite to what the central character was experienceing.

Buck and The Preacher was also released in 1972, the movie which starred Sidney Poitier who also co-directed the movie with Joseph Sargent also starred Harry Belafonte, and Cameron Mitchell. Poitier portrays former slave and Union Army sergeant Buck becomes a self-employed wagon master to wagon trains of freed slaves heading West. Buck knows the region well and he charges fair wages from the wagon trains employing him. He also has a working relationship with the local Indian tribes that charge trespassing fees from the wagon trains heading West across Indian lands. In return, they allow the settlers to move across Indian territory unhindered and to hunt a few buffalo needed to feed the wagon train settlers.

However, not everyone in the region is friendly toward the black settlers traveling West. Owners of Southern plantations, dismayed by the loss of slave manpower that previously worked the plantations for free, hire band of white rogues and outlaws to prevent former black slaves from going West. To achieve this aim, the hired band of rouges attack wagon trains and destroy the wagons, the supplies, and the food resources of the former slaves. They threaten the black settlers and tell them to return to the Southern states where they came from and work the plantations. Wagon master Buck encourages the freed slaves to continue their trek westward and to not give up their dream of settling in the West. Knowing this, the band of rogues led by DeShay plans to capture and kill Buck.

The DeShay gang sets up ambushes and traps, but Buck always manages to avoid capture. The gang resides in the town of Copper Springs where the sheriff, an honest man, doesn’t agree with the gang’s ruthless tactics against wagon trains of freed slaves. Chased by the DeShay bunch, wagon master Buck and his tired horse arrive at a river where a black preacher, Reverend Willis Oakes Rutherford, (Belafonte) is bathing. A desperate Buck switches horses with the preacher, against the man’s will, and rides off to meet his wagon train. The preacher heads to Copper Springs where he bumps into DeShay’s gang. Recognising Buck’s horse, the gang interrogate the preacher about Buck’s whereabouts. DeShay promises a reward to the preacher if he finds Buck and captures or even kills him. DeShay also instructs the preacher to convince all black settlers to turn back east toward the Southern plantations and abandon their trek Westward. The preacher agrees with DeShay and leaves town. Outside town he meets a wagon train formed of freed slaves and led by none other than Buck. After an angry exchange between the preacher and Buck, the preacher joins the wagon train.

During the following days of travel, the preacher notices that all the money of the wagon train is kept in a money belt carried by one of the women around her waist. A few days later, a distrustful Buck orders the preacher to leave the wagon train and he himself rides away to scout the area and to pay a right of passage to the local Indian tribe on behalf of the wagon train who will be seen as trespassers. The preacher follows Buck and he witnesses the payment made by Buck to the Indian chief for safe passage of the settlers. When Buck, followed by the preacher, returns to the wagon train he discovers that DeShay’s gang has attacked it, stole the settlers’ money, destroyed their food, and supplies and murdered a few settlers. Heartbroken, the surviving settlers want to turn back but Buck encourages them to go on.

Angry at the devastation, Buck and the preacher decide to ride to the town of Copper Springs and exact revenge on DeShay’s gang and try to retrieve the money DeShay stole from the black settlers. 

Benny Carter.

The music for the movie was the work of saxophonist, songwriter (“Because of You”, “Hot Toddy”), conductor, arranger and composer, Benny Carter who was educated at Wilberforce University in theology. He was a saxophonist in Horace Henderson’s Wilberforce Collegians, then played in the orchestras of Fletcher Henderson and Chick Webb. He went to Paris in 1935, and joined the Willie Lewis Orchestra, then became the staff arranger for the BBC in England. Returning to the USA, he formed his own orchestras in New York and Hollywood, and began writing for films. He became a member of ASCAP in 1942 and penned a number of other popular-songs such as Dream Lullaby, Blues in My Heart, Everybody Shuffle, and Poor Fool among them. He utilised harmonica within the score that underlined the plight of the black settlers and acted as support for both Buck and his sidekick.

Bad Company was directed by Robert Benton, who also co-wrote the film with David Newman. The western stars Barry Brown and Jeff Bridges as two young men who decide to dodge the draft during the American civil war. They head off to seek their fortune and freedom on the alluring but unforgiving American frontier. After its initial release many critics decided to classify Bad Company as an Acid Western, it has become something of a cult movie and contains an interesting score from Harvey Schmidt. The composer was born on September 12, 1929, in Dallas, Texas, USA as Harvey Lester Schmidt. He was a composer and writer, known for contributions to recent movies such as Captain America Civil War,War (2016), The Fantasticks (2000) and A Texas Romance, 1909 (1964). Schmidt was nominated for three Tony Awards with his long-time collaborator Tom Jones  in 1964, as Best Composer and Lyricist for 110 in the Shade, and in 1967, as Best Composer and Lyricist and his music as part of a Best Musical nomination for I Do! I Do! He was also the composer of The Fantasticks which ran for a staggering forty-one years, becoming the longest-running musical in US history. The lyrics and book for this were by Tom Jones, whom Schmidt met at the University of Texas. Although a prolific composer, Schmidt never studied music and was self-taught. He died on February 28, 2018 in Tomball, Texas.

Elmer Bernstein.

Then there was The Amazing Mister Blunden, which was directed by Lionel Jeffries, essentially a charming children’s movie but also one filled with ghosts and mysteries. An old solicitor Mr. Blunden visits Mrs. Allen and her young children in their shabby Camden Town flat in London and makes her an offer she cannot possibly refuse. The family become the housekeepers to a run-down country mansion which is in the charge of the solicitors. The children meet the spirits of two other children who died in the mansion nearly a hundred years previously. The children prepare a magic potion that allows them to travel backwards in time to the era of the ghost children. Will the children be able to help their new friends and what will happen to them if they do, well to find out you will have sit and watch the movie. Music for the film was by American composer Elmer Bernstein who produced a melodic and quintessentially English sounding score. The music adds much to the atmosphere of the storyline and punctuates the ghostly goings on to great effect. Bernstein employing a kind of watery sounding music that flows through the plot, underlining and acting as support to the action, conveying melancholy and a accompaniment to the unfolding storyline.

The music was not available on a recording at the time of the film’s release although it was much requested by collectors. The score was finally released in 2019 on the intrada label. That concludes my  selective and brief look at 1972, there were however many more excellent movies released during that year, how many do you remember?

DOGTANIAN AND THE THREE MUSKEHOUNDS. (2021).

Cast your minds back to the beginning of the 1980’s and to an animated series that was a Spanish/Japanese co-production, Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds was a successful series of cartoons as they were called at the time,  many countries screened these episodes on various channels,  but I do not think that they were shown in America, maybe because the American audience might not have got this kind of European vibe that flowed through it? I do know the BBC showed the English adaptation which was basically the same as the original’s apart from being dubbed into English the show was broadcast early in the afternoon on a weekday to catch the children as they arrived home from school.  The same team also produced The Mysterious cities of Gold and the brilliant Around the World with Willy Fog. I think one of the enduring things about the Dogtanian series was the infectious title song which was the work of Italian composing duo Guido and Maurizio de Angelis, of course the Brother’s had already established themselves via their unique styles of composition in Italy working on various genres of movies that included Westerns, Giallo, Cop drama’s, comedies, and horror films, most notably the films of Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. The title song had to it an instant attraction and appeal and it is one that I believe if one played it now folks from a certain generation would probably recognize straight away. Well, if you loved the original series, you are in for a real treat as the Three Muskehounds and of course Dogtanian are back with a bang and filled with swordplay and daring do, but this time on the big screen. And so too is that theme, well an arrangement of it at least which has been recycled and woven into the fabric of the films score by the talented and ever versatile composer Manel Gil-Inglada. I suppose it would be quite unthinkable to have a movie about the adventures of these intrepid individuals without that familiar theme popping up somewhere, and the composer has not only fashioned a sweeping, swashbuckling, and highly adventurous soundtrack but has also managed to incorporate fragments of the familiar theme into his original writings, providing the listener with a bridge back to their youth or maybe to when they first heard it. I have to say I totally enjoyed listening to the score, it is fully symphonic and its lush and driving musical persona is relentlessly thematic as well as being gloriously entertaining.  

The music that the composer has penned for D’Artacán y los Tres Mosqueperros to give the new movie its Spanish title, is a wonderfully melodic work performed by The Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra conducted by Vanessa Garde. The orchestrations are top notch filled with a rich and luxurious sound with the music being so varied, it is a rip-roaring action paced score that also includes lilting and fully romantic sounding pieces, gentle and fragile nuances and also catchy and haunting thematic properties.

All for one and one for all.

The score is not yet available commercially but there is a composer promo, but I am informed it soon will be released for all to hear, so keep an eye on digital platforms etc for announcements, Manel Gli-Inglada has created a musical tour de force, that will entertain and mesmerize well worth checking out when it gets a release. Highly recommended.

Dara Taylor-scoring The Tender Bar.

Dara Taylor.

Composer Dara Taylor talks to John Mansell of Movie Music International. On scoring George Clooney’s latest movie The Tender Bar. Which is now available on Amazon Prime.

Dara Taylor has emerged as a fresh voice in the world of scoring music to picture as evidenced by her score to Amazon Studios film The Tender Bar, directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker George Clooney and her co-score to the Lionsgate comedy Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar starring Kristen Wiig and Jamie Dornan. Her credits include the action crime drama Echo Boomers starring Michael Shannon, the Netflix series Bookmarks, the Netflix docuseries Trial By Media, the FX series Pride, and the Karen Allen film Colewell, for which she won a 2019 Hollywood Music in Media award. As a score producer and composer for Chris Lennertz. Dara has contributed to major motion picture films and series including Bad Moms, the action-comedy sequel Shaft, Amazon’s highly acclaimed television series The Boys, Netflix’s sci-fi series Lost in Space, The Happy time Murders, Ugly dolls, and the long-running CW show Supernatural. In 2015, Dara was nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award for her score on the short film Undetectable, and in 2016, she participated in the Women in Film’s Women Composers in Media concert. In2018, Dara was chosen as a fellow for the Sundance Institute Composers Lab and the following year she was chosen as one of the BMI Conducting for Composers Fellows. In 2021 she was chosen for both the Grammy NEXT program and the coveted Universal Composers Initiative. Dara is a proud Executive Committee member for the Composers Diversity Collective, as well as a member of the Television Academy, Recording Academy.

JM. Can I start by asking was music always something that you wanted to do as a career and were you from a family background where music played a big part of daily life? 

DT. Like many, I grew up in music. School bands, choruses, and musicals left a much bigger impression on me than AP Chemistry. My mom was also the director of the church choir so I grew up picking out harmonies by ear in conjunction with my classical education.

You have worked with Christopher Lennertz on scores, what was your role when working with him and at what stage of your career did you decide to become a composer of music for film?

Before setting off on my own, I worked for my amazing mentor and forever friend, Chris Lennertz for 6 years. I assisted, score produced, and contributed additional music which culminated in our first co-score for Lionsgate’s Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar.

I knew I wanted to score film and television since college and my time with Chris is an extremely large part of bringing that dream into fruition.

What musical education did you receive?

As far as formal education goes, I studied classical voice under Judith Kellock and contemporary classical composition under Zachary Wadsworth and Steven Stucky at Cornell University. Then I went on to complete a Masters of Music in Scoring for Film and Multimedia at New York University where I studied under Mark Suozzo. But then I learned so much of what I use now on the job working with Chris, and I continue to learn something from everyone I meet.

How did you become involved on the movie The Tender Bar?

I actually scored a Yance Ford-directed episode of an anthology series called Trial by Media on Netflix which was executive produced by Smokehouse Productions (George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s production company). So last summer they reached out to my agents and told them that they needed score to accompany some of the emotional beats between the needle drops.

The film is directed by George Clooney, did he have any specific ideas on what style of music he wanted for the movie and where it should be placed?

One thing George requested from the very beginning was a bittersweet melancholy that still felt hopeful. The aim was also to not be too disparate from the vernacular of the songs (using a lot of guitars and pianos with some light strings) but still be its own entity.

It’s a sparingly scored picture I think it has about ten minutes of score, and songs/needle drops taking up much of the soundtrack. Was it difficult to work your instrumental score in with the songs/needle drops that are featured on the soundtrack, because the music becomes a kind of a bridge between the vocals and the images adding a delicate and more emotive atmosphere to the storyline?

I think the moments George and Grant chose for score helped bridge that gap and score felt very natural in those moments. And again, since we chose a palette that was not too extremely different from some of the songs, the score’s intention was to fold into the narrative, letting the whole musical landscape of the film feel cohesive.

How many musicians did you have for the score and how did you arrive at the decision to utilize the instrumentation that you did for the score?

I had about 25 musicians on the score – a chamber string section in Nashville and a handful of LA soloists playing guitars, bass, percussion, harp, and piano. When it came to strings, I wanted it to feel intimate and wistful, more like the backing track of a record than a huge sweeping orchestral sound. Then the leading melodies were typically played on guitar or piano with the support of the other solo instruments.

Was the film scored during the pandemic, and did the restrictions affect the way in which you worked on it?

Yes, this was another score fully created in the pandemic. This forced certain things like virtual score reviews and spotting sessions and remote recording. However, I’m grateful for all of the technology available that still allows for creative collaboration – a process that now has become second nature.   

The Tender Bar is quite a major project for you, was it a little daunting stepping up to work on the movie?

Oh definitely. I put on my brave face, but it was certainly a little daunting at the start. Thankfully George and the entire team were so incredible to work with that they made me feel at home rather quickly in the process. I walked away from this project with a new layer of confidence as well as it’s now much harder to be star struck.

Are there any projects on the horizon for you that you can talk about?

The next project I have coming up that I’m able to discuss is the upcoming Netflix film, The Noel Diary, directed by the legendary Charles Shyer and starring Justin Hartley, which has been a lot of fun to score!

JM. Thank you so much.

SOUNDTRACK SUPPLEMENT FIFTY NINE.

Welcome to the first Soundtrack Supplement of 2022. In this edition we have a mixed bag of scores and news of up-and-coming releases as well as a few oldies but goodies. So, let’s not waste time and begin, shall we?

SCREAM AND SCREAM AND SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN AND AGAIN…

But first can I ask What’s your Favourite Scary Movie? No I know it’s not Halloween, but would it per chance be,  Scream or the Scream franchise or series that was so popular, well if it is here is some wonderful news, in fact you might even Scream with delight when I tell you, The new Scream movie is out and so is the atmospheric and highly charged score by Brian Tyler, yes good old Ghostface is back and back with a bang, (well a slash and a lunge actually). When I heard that the Scream storyline was to be resurrected or rebooted, retold whatever? I was really pleased as the movies I always thought were great horror flicks. Yes, they were at times corny and predictable with the audience not really having to think about much apart from who was going to die horribly next.

But still they were entertaining in a twisted sort of fashion, one of the pluses’ to the series of movies were the scores by the Master of the Macabre Marco Beltrami, I say Master of the macabre but since he scored the first two Scream films he has certainly come a long way, working on so many high profile movies of all genres, his scores for the original movies I always felt were more than just a run of the mill horror score that was filled with crashes, bangs, jangling percussive elements, booming timpani, and shrieking strings, instead they took on the persona being downright operatic in their sound, style and in the way the composer utilized and placed the music.

Beltrami’s scores made the movies to be fair, and supported, punctuated, and accompanied the slashes and the madness that was contained within them. So, as well as Scream 2022, by Brian Tyler, Varese Sarabande have released a Scream box set, which contains so many extras, As the latest instalment of Scream lands in theatres Varèse Sarabande revisits Marco Beltrami’s masterful scores from the horror franchise’s first four films with Scream: Original Motion Picture Soundtracks. The 4-LP set—pressed on blood-red vinyl with black smoke swirls dedicates a full album to each film and includes two hours of unreleased material. This is a collection that will be available for collectors from June this year, I know it’s a way’s off now but it’s a treasure trove of masterful compositions that you should add to your vinyl collection, and maybe keep it sealed? It’s available for pre order now. 

The collection is housed in a unique jacket, which folds out into a 3’ x 2’ Ghostface mask. For fans seeking additional content, the 6-CD set, and digital editions are available now and offer each film’s score in its entirety, plus more than four hours of unreleased music, previously unreleased demos, cues, and alternate takes. A total of 171 tracks and over six hours of music.

The CD box set is available exclusively on VareseSarabande.com and Intl.VareseSarabande.com and limited to 1,800 units. Both the CD and vinyl versions feature new, in-depth liner notes from film music journalist and author, Jim Lochner. This is a set that you should not bypass, it is superb and something to Scream about (see what I did there). But to Brian Tyler’s powerful soundtrack to Scream 2022, there is something of a Beltrami feel and sound to the work, which I was more than pleased about with Tyler including gentle nods to the original scores at times.

But as we all know Brian Tyler puts his own musical fingerprint on the movies he has scored, and this is no exception, it is a score that encompasses many emotions and covers a variation of senses. And very much like Beltrami’s original scores has to it a deep atmospheric content, that too achieves that operatic level. The opening cue New Horizons is a richly thematic and affecting piece for strings and voice and is mesmerizingly beautiful. It lulls one into a false sense of security, creating a restful and even calming aura, which we all know recalling the past Scream scores probably will not last long. Track number two, Rules to Survive, is surprisingly calm as well. With the composer again utilising strings, piano, and a scattering of electronic sounds towards the end of the cue. This is a brooding and apprehensive sounding piece, that has to it a calm outer casing but inside it is all the time building and growing into something that is more threatening and malevolent. But it’s not really until cue number three Ring, Ring that any true sense of menace begins to formulate and raise its head which effectively combines synthetic sounds with strings, to create a dark and malignant style. This is an icy and sinister sounding track filled with a formidable and foreboding that is I suppose partly alerting the watching audience or the listening film music collector that something is about to happen, and its not long before musically at least it does, the cue literally erupts into a cacophony of rasping brass, searing, and slicing strings that are underlined and driven via sharp and commanding percussion. To be honest Tyler plays an ace card here rather than going all out from the start he builds the tension with a simmering and tense composition that creates a thick and tantalising atmosphere before letting loose with the full onslaught.

I only listened halfway through to this score before I became engrossed and impressed, it’s a work overflowing with mayhem and has to it a harrowing and threatening persona. Recommended.

Armand Amar, is a composer I followed for a number of years, and it amazes me even now that many collectors are not aware of his magnificent body of work for cinema and TV. I do not think that I have ever seen this wonderful composer’s name on a list of favourites from any collector, yet when one sits and listens to his scores for films and television, as well as documentaries one cannot fail to be moved emotionally and mesmerised by his obvious talent for melody and his skilful placing of music within any of the mediums. His use of voices and the inclusion of ethnic instrumentation is I think why his music is so attractive, alluring, and interesting.

There is no doubt that his compositions are innovative and emotive, the composer being totally in tune with each project he has worked on. One of most recent scores is for the movie Mystere, and once again the composer delivers a beguiling, inventive, and haunting work, that will I am sure be appreciated by many. It has so many themes within it, all beautifully written and wonderfully performed, purveying a gracious and affecting sound and style.

This is a quality score, overwhelmingly beautiful, serenely sensitive, and totally absorbing. The score also includes additional cues written by Anne Sophie Versnaeyen and Mathieu Coupat. Highly recommended.

Cobra Kai season 4 is now airing on Netflix and the music is also available on digital platforms, composers Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson have again created an upbeat and thematic soundtrack for this hi energy and just as upbeat series. The soundtrack for season 4, is released on two albums vol 1 and 2, each containing some interesting musical styles, upbeat is a little bit of an understatement I feel, as the music for this series is unstoppable and powerfully high octane. The musical onslaught for want of better description is relentless, but it’s a good relentless as this is a score that is not only highly supportive of the series but entertaining to listen to away from the images.

Of course, there are also quieter moments, which too are affecting and effective.

The composers combine successfully dramatic symphonic sounding compositions with more contemporary pop/rock infused styles that at times evoke the popular synth music of the 1980,s and 1990,s as in Harold Faltermeyer and to a degree Giorgio Moroder, they also employ inventive percussive elements to great effect that drive and sweep the score along at pace.

Add to these components an ethnic sound for even greater effect and a style that could easily be from any one of the superhero movies that have been released over the past decade and what we have here is an inspiring soundtrack that I know you will love. Recommended.

I would like to mention a score that at this moment in time is not available on a recording, but I am hoping that it will soon be, it is taken from the movie The Tender Bar which is directed by George Clooney,

The music is by composer Dara Taylor, who has provided the picture with a fairly subtle score that weaves in and out of the storyline alongside popular songs that are featured on the soundtrack such as Radar Love by Golden Earring, Good Times by Chic, I Love the Nightlife by Alicia Bridges, Shotgun by Jnr Walker and the All Stars, and so many more.

Dara Taylor.

The movie stars Ben Effleck, Christopher Lloyd, Daniel Ranieri, and Tye Sheridan, and is a coming-of-age film about a young boy who tries to find father figures at his uncle’s bar. Dara Taylors sensitive and emotive music adds an intimacy and a fragility to the storyline and its characters, certainly a film to watch out for and hopefully the music too will get a release.

Quartet records have been industrious once again. I am pleased to say that the Spanish label have released for the first time on compact disc the great music of Ed Welch from the movie The Thirty Nine Steps, which was released in 1978 and directed by Don Sharp which starred British actor Robert Powell as Richard Hannay.  

The music is in a word gorgeous, and the opening track on the album entitled The Thirty Nine Steps Concerto is written in a similar style to that of The Warsaw Concerto. The music is typically English sounding and filled with lush sounding melodies and lavishly thematic material. Which is something that the composer continues to elaborate and develop upon throughout the remainder of the score, with the piano solos courtesy of the talented Christopher Headington.

I remember getting the LP record and loving the music and often wondering why it was not discussed or applauded more as it is a score that everyone should own, and now you can thanks to Quartet records, who also have released Treasure Island by composer Natale Massara, which is a name that is often linked with Pino Donaggio because he conducted the majority of Donaggio’s film scores including The Howling, Piranha, Home Movies and Tourist Trap.

But thanks to Quartet we can at last sample Massara as a composer in his own right, with this rip roaring and sweepingly, raucous, and dramatic sounding score for the Orson Welles movie that was released in 1972.  Both The Thirty Nine Steps and Treasure Island are available from Quartet now. Quartet Records – Specializes in the release of soundtracks

EPIC IS A WORD OVER USED NOWADAYS.

Have you ever thought what is an Epic? Or what qualifies as having epic proportions or themes in cinema and TV that is. An Epic as in when talking about cinema and TV productions, is a film or series that is full of spectacle, so I am told.  Historical films often fall into the category of Epic and would usually take an important or maybe not so high-profile event and ensure that the settings and the costumes and the content of the production are historically correct. Most times the films unfolding storyline would be accompanied by a grand musical score and to coin an old Hollywood saying, “A Cast of Thousands”, which would make them among the most expensive of films to produce. The most common subjects of epic movies are Royal figures such as Queen Victoria, Cleopatra, for example to just select two randomly, and events that took place in their respective reigns. Also, important people from history could also be the subject of these types of movies Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, in El Cid, or Napoleon in films such as Waterloo, Oliver Cromwell in Cromwell, T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, etc. Or they can be about events such as The Battle of Rorke’s Drift in Zulu, or the more sprawling and wider effects of the Russian Revolution in Doctor Zhivago and Nicholas and Alexandra (which we will come to in more detail soon) and more recent events such as The Normandy Invasion in The Longest Day.

There are a multitude of examples, with many of them being Biblically slanted, charting the life of Jesus, in movies such as King of Kings and Jesus of Nazareth for example. Or key figures within the Bible such as Moses in The Ten Commandments and later in the Italian made TV series Moses, which starred Burt Lancaster, these Epic productions often charted the rise of Christianity at the time of the Roman Empire, Ben Hur being a prime example. With The Birth of a Nation also qualifying as an epic a long time before any of the other movies I have mentioned. Some, Epics based on historical facts are interesting just as they occurred with the filmmakers relying on the facts and sticking to them to make a movie that will be of interest to audience es, but at other times the script writer has been known to add nuances, tweeks, and even fabricated events that they or the studio that was producing the movie deemed to be essential to spice up proceedings for watching audiences. How the West Was Won for example mixed events that had taken place in American history, such as the Civil War and mixed these with personal stories of individuals and families.

With, these blockbuster productions came impressive cast lists, and the grandiose and quite often lavish symphonic score, with sweeping and lush sounding themes or even in a handful of examples a more delicate and intimate soundtrack depending upon the subject matter and the characters involved. So, that is I suppose the meaning of Epic as related to a movie or small screen production. And so to Russia.

1971 saw the release of Nicholas and Alexandra, it told the story of the inept and out of touch leadership of the Russian Tzar Nicholas, and his eventual fall from power and about how he and his family were imprisoned and executed by the revolutionary forces. Directed by Franklin J Schaffner, the film was scored by British born composer Richard Rodney Bennett, who penned a suitably lush and romantic score, that was tinged with melancholy, vulnerability, and fragility.

It is a score that I personally still hold in high esteem and am of the opinion also that it is to this day one of the composers finest works for cinema. It contains and expresses for most of its duration a highly melodic and haunting sound, with woods and strings acting as the foundation of the work.

The score being influenced mostly by music from 19th century Russia, it is emotional, lyrical, sweeping and filled with an eloquent and imposing expressiveness and sensitivity.  The composers approach works so well within the movie adding emotive and poignant tonal verses that purvey hints of helplessness and a sense of longing, melancholy and frustration, the composer also maintaining an air of melodic, mesmerizing, and affecting musicality.

The composer deploys the works central theme throughout in varying arrangements and guises, adding choir, brass and percussive elements on occasion giving it a more lavish and opulent style when required. The haunting eight-note motif perfectly augmenting and underlining the storyline and its central characters, Rodney Bennett’s music caressing the images and weaving a rich but subtle background to the events taking place on screen.

The score becoming grander at key points within its development but never overpoweringly so, the brass and timpani employed in a somewhat martial fashion adding a more urgent mood to the proceedings.

The composer was a master at writing music for film and always managed to maintain a fine balance that allowed the score to support without overindulging itself, he is noted for doing this previously in 1967 with his lilting, sensitive and partly folk inspired score for Far from the Madding Crowd. The composer worked on a wide range of genres in cinema as well as writing and performing jazz and providing scores for ballets.

Richard Rodney Bennett was born in Broadstairs in Kent England on March 29th 1936. In an interview with composer James Bernard, he told me that he was at a session for an early Hammer production and John Hollingsworth who was at the time Hammer’s MD introduced Bernard to a young composer, who it transpired to be Richard Rodney Bennett. Bernard recalled that even then Hollingsworth could see something special in the young man.

And it would be Richard Rodney Bennett who would provide the music for the Hammer movies, The Witches, The Man Who Could Cheat Death, and The Nanny. But it would be films such as Lady Caroline Lamb, Murder on the Orient Express, Return of the Soldier, and Yanks that he became mostly associated with. His now iconic theme for Murder on the Orient Express being instantly recognisable from the first few notes. At times I feel that maybe Richard Rodney Bennett gets some unfair press as several collectors are still today quite ignorant to the importance of his music in film and TV. He was an influencer and inspired composers such as Christopher Gunning, George Fenton, and Patrick Doyle. Listen to Fenton’s scores for Ever After and Shadowlands in which one can clearly hear Rodney Bennet’s influence and to a certain degree in Gunning’s now iconic theme for the British TV series Poirot in which jazz influences are fused with dramatic scoring. Richard Rodney Bennet, died in 2012, one of his last scoring assignments was for the BBC TV series Gormenghast in 2000.

He was an eclectic composer of serious orchestral works, jazz songs as well as music for stage and screen and aside from his compositions for cinema his most famous compositions include a First Symphony, a piano concerto and four string quartets. Among the latter are scores for operas, such as the dramatic “The Mines of Sulphur” and the more light-hearted and satirical “A Penny for a Song”.  He was born into an artistic family (his mother was a pianist and composer, his father a writer of children’s books), Bennett wrote a cantata, “Put Away the Flutes”, before he had reached his twentieth birthday. He was enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music in London in 1953 and graduated from there in 1958. He continued to study music under the guidance of French composer/conductor Pierre Boulez in Paris, eventually becoming skilled at combining jazz and serial techniques, in addition to mastering jazz piano, and it is true to say that many of his better scores for film etc are influenced by jazz, as in Wrong Arm of the Law which was released in 1963.  The rest as they say is history, with Sir Richard Rodney Bennett becoming one of the most esteemed and sought-after composers of film music in the world. He died on December 24th 2012.

See you next time.   

CROMWELL. A VERY BRITISH EPIC.

Cromwell Soundtrack art.

In 1970 we saw a wide range of motion pictures released, these encompassed many genres, and it was I suppose a testament to filmmaking, writers, and filmmakers during this period that we had such a variety of subject matter showing in cinemas around the globe. Soldier Blue, Five East Pieces, Vampire Lovers, Scrooge etc being just some of the more commercial delights that were being shown in that year. What is interesting is that there were just two pictures that could be called epics because of the scale of the production or indeed the respective periods in which they were set, the epic by this time was losing even more of its appeal and the Biblical epic that had been produced by Hollywood had certainly fallen from grace with audiences, who had already forsaken it for the gadgetry and thrills of James Bond and macho anti heroism of Clint Eastwood as the The Man With No Name in the Dollar movies, to name but two in the mid to late 1960’s. Audiences were wanting more action themed films to entertain them, and supervillains and shootouts ruled by the time the 1970’s dawned. The movie Waterloo was one epic production that did manage to cause more than a stir of interest with audiences, probably because of the spectacle and the hype that surrounded the movie, then there was Cromwell, which too was a movie that generated ripples of mild reaction with audiences old and young.

The latter attempted to chart the later life of Oliver Cromwell and his involvement in the English civil war when parliamentary forces eventually led by Cromwell fought against King Charles the first and the Royalist forces on the side of the Crown. The war and events leading to it and the aftermath of the conflict eventually led to Cromwell becoming Lord Protector of England from 1653 to 1658.

*King Charles A democracy, Mr. Cromwell, was a Greek drollery based on the foolish notion that there are extraordinary possibilities in very ordinary people.


*Oliver Cromwell: It is the ordinary people, my Lord, who would most readily lay down their lives in defence of your realm. It is simply that being ordinary that they would prefer to be asked and not told.

The film based upon historical facts was written by Ken Hughes, who also directed the picture. The film was produced by movie mogul Irvin Allen, and starred Richard Harris as Cromwell with Sir Alec Guinness portraying marvelously the out of touch and ill-advised Monarch Charles Stuart. The supporting cast too was impressive with Robert Morley, Timothy Dalton, Dorothy Tutin, Patrick Wymark, Frank Finlay, Charles Gray, Michael Jayston, and Nigel Stock all giving solid and believable performances. At the time of its release the film received negative reviews, this was mainly because of the historical inaccuracies that it contained. But at the same time the production was applauded and found favour with the same critics who had panned it, this time praising the performances given by Harris and Guinness.

*Oliver Cromwell: The King is not England, and England is not the King!

The score was by British composer Frank Cordell, who had previously scored the historical epic Khartoum four years previous in 1966. In the same year as Cromwell scored the WWll drama Hell Boats, but Cromwell was totally different, and required a more complex and thought-out score that was in keeping with the period in which it was set. The composer did not keep it a secret that he had several problems creating a score that was deemed to be suitable for the production, but his efforts and finished soundtrack were greeted with positive accolades from critics and cinema goers alike.

Composer Frank Cordell.

It was nominated for an Oscar, and a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA. The composer’s stern, somewhat dark, brooding, and robust score lent much to the film’s images and storyline, punctuating and underlining the battle and action scenes and also supporting the wordy script without being intrusive. Cordell’s music seemed to add weight to the hopeless situation that the common people were being faced with, as in being governed firstly an uncaring and out of touch Monarch who took advice from his wife who herself was not at all in tune with the people of England, mainly because she was French and also a Catholic, and then by a corrupt and manipulative parliament after the King was tried for treason and found guilty and finally beheaded. Cordell fashioned a woeful, and foreboding work, in places which perfectly mirrored the sullen persona of the central character Cromwell and his dedication to his faith, country and ordinary people, Cordell’s music also took on the role of being deeply personal, intimate, and spiritual as it accompanied Cromwell.

The opening theme for the movie begins with a God-fearing sounding fanfare performed on horns, that acts as the introduction to a choral work, “Rejoice in the Lord. Rejoice in the Lord. He hath put down the mighty from their seat. He hath exalted the humble”.

 *Oliver Cromwell.We need men with fire in their bowels who fear the Lord but not the enemy”.

The score also contained numerous martial sounding interludes as in The New Army, in which the composer enlists percussion, and timpani, interspersed by brass stabs and flourishes and builds the composition gradually until it reaches its peak and fades for a while then returns with a vengeance with driving timpani, brass and male voices, singing “Rejoice in the Lord”, the composer then further enhances these with rasping, driving and daunting brass performances that are bolstered by strings which are further supported by trills from woodwind.

*Oliver Cromwell: O Lord, Thou know Est how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not Thou forget me.

Battle of Naseby too contains this martial musical style and robust sound, with a hint of maybe a hunting type theme with horns and strings calling the roundheads to do battle and charge at the ranks of the Royalists. “Keep your Faith in God, and keep your powder dry”, says Cromwell as the battle begins. The cue is the longest on the score, with a duration of almost eight minutes, the becoming the personas of the opposing armies with the composer creating a tense and desperate sounding piece that perfectly supports the desperate fight that is being acted out on screen. The Royalists initially thinking that victory will be an easy task after finding Cromwell’s army unsupported by Lord Manchester’s army and outnumbering them three to one, but the music also underlines the conviction and determination of Cromwell’s newly trained Roundheads as they charge and probe the Royalist’s ranks and eventually emerge victorious. The music has a triumphant aura as the cue draws to its conclusion, and then it alters to underline the defeat of the King as he leaves the field of battle.

As the composition comes to its final moments it segues into a heartbreaking yet positive and powerful arrangement of the scores central phrase “Rejoice in the Lord” but this time it is performed by soprano, adding a poignancy and sense of melancholy and desolation as it enhances the scene where Cromwell discovers his eldest son has been killed in the battle. It also closes the first half of the film bringing it to its intermission. This is a score that is supportive to the maximum, at times becoming complex and having moments that are withdrawn. The composer engaging and identifying musically with every character and every scenario, fashioning intimate, gracious, regal, and reverent sounding themes for King Charles after he is defeated. But all the time maintaining a somber side to the proceedings. I would say that Cromwell the score is probably one of my own personal favourites from the 1970’s. And one of the last great film scores from what was to be known as the Silver Age, and it’s also a British movie. It’s a film that I have always been drawn too, but there again I have always been interested in history from any period.

KEN HUGHES

From the music for CROMWELL, to the film itself.  Director Ken Hughes originally began working on the script for the movie back in 1961. Richard Harris read it and liked it and showed an interest in portraying Cromwell, but financiers did not consider him a big enough star at the time to finance the film. They wanted American actor Charlton Heston, but Hughes did not think he was appropriate. Heston also recalled in his diaries that he declined the part. Hughes wanted to get Richard Burton on board, but Burton was not interested in even reading the script. It was not until 1967 that Irvin Allen had John Briley re-work and re-write Hughes’s original script and he was hoping to have filmmaker Peter Hall direct the proposed movie. Allen was also hopeful that actor Paul Scofiled would take on the role of Charles the first and Albert Finney would agree to play Cromwell. Columbia pictures were going to finance the production and filming was due to begin in the summer of 1968, which was when Ken Hughes was working on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The deal with Columbia fell through and it was not until 1969, that Irvin Allen announced that Hughes would direct the movie. Hughes eventually got financial backing from Columbia, who after an initial outlay of just over 600,000 Dollars began to have second thoughts about the movie, but thankfully they revised the decision to withdraw and committed to the picture, the budget for the movie started at six million dollars and eventually reached the total of nine million dollars. A lot of which was spent of set and costume design, a replica of parliament square being constructed at Shepperton studios, most of the movie was filmed in England apart that is from the battle scenes which were shot in Spain.

The original cut of the film ran for three hours and fifteen minutes, but Hughes decided to trim t down resulting in the final cut of the movie running for two hours and twenty minutes, the director said later in interview that he felt Cromwell was the best thing he had done. The film won the Oscar for costume design (Vittorio Nino Novarese) and was nominated in the same category at the BAFTA’s in the UK.  Cromwell was one of the most popular movies at the British box office in 1970.   

Oliver Cromwell was a devout Puritan, a country squire, magistrate and former member of Parliament. The King’s policies, including the enclosing of common land for the use of wealthy landowners and the introduction of catholic rituals into the Church of England became increasingly infuriating to many, including Cromwell. In fact, Charles regarded himself as a devout Anglican, permitting his French Queen to practice Roman Catholicism in private but forbidding her to bring up the young Prince of Wales in that faith. Cromwell planned to take his family to the New World, but, on the eve of their departure, he is persuaded by friends to stay and resume a role in politics. That is the initial opening of the movie and the beginning of its plot. What followed was a combination of historical fact and poetic license on behalf of the writer and director. Whatever your opinion of the movie, there is very little doubt that it has remained a firm favourite with cinema goers of that period and has also gained more admirers as it has aged gracefully.  

Cromwell was one of the most powerful political figures and military commanders in Britain, and actively continued commanding armies in Ireland, Scotland, and England, and involving himself in government. Although rejecting a suggestion that he should be crowned king (after much deliberation), he was quite willing to take the title of ‘Lord Protector’ and govern England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales until his death in 1658.

MMI© 2022.  * Denotes quote from the film Cromwell. (c)1970.

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