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YOUNG BESS AND THE RED HOUSE.

Released on TSUNAMI RECORDS IN 2005

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YOUNG BESS, is the first score that is represented on this compact disc and although this movies storyline was flawed in places it did not detract any of the enjoyment of the picture, as it still managed to be an entertaining and attractive period piece. Directed by George Sidney and released in 1953, YOUNG BESS brought together the creative acting talents of a fresh faced Jean Simmons, Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr and Charles Laughton. Based upon the story by Margaret Irwin it tells of the early years of Elizabeth the first and is told in a flashback style, which begins on the day that Henry Vlll (Charles Laughton) has his wife Anne Boleyn (Elaine Stewart) executed and sends away the daughter he had with her, a daughter who will eventually become Queen of England or the YOUNG BESS of the films title. Several years on and also a few more wives later King Henry recalls Bess to Court, where she resides with him and his new wife Catherine Parr (Deborah Kerr). When Henry passes away his son and half brother to Bess Edward (Rex Thompson) is given the title of regent because he is too young to assume the position of the monarch. Romance enters the storyline when Bess falls in love with the respected Admiral Thomas Seymour (Stewart Granger). She thinks that her love is unrequited so convinces her brother that it would be a good idea if Thomas was to marry Catherine, which he does. After Catherine’s death, Thomas confesses to Bess that he has deep feelings for her and always has had them. However the Admirals brother Ned (Guy Rolfe) decides to make sure that his brother is not happy and spreads malicious rumours that he has seduced the young Princess to ensure that he remains in a position of power and wealth. The picture received five Academy Award nominations, best director George Sidney, best colour costume design Walter Plunkett and three nominations in the colour art direction category for Edwin B Willis, Jack D. Moore and Urie Mc Cleary. Sidney was also nominated for best director by the Directors guild of America. The New York Film Critics Circle nominated Jean Simmons for best actress and Miss Simmons won in the best actress category at the national board of review awards.

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The second movie which is represented on this disc is the thriller THE RED HOUSE, directed in 1947 by Delmar Davies. Edward G Robinson, Julie London, Rory Calhoun and Judith Anderson starred in this near film noir motion picture which was based upon the novel by George A Chamberlain and had a screenplay penned by director Davies. Pete Morgan (Robinson) and his sister Ellen (Judith Anderson) live with Morgan’s adopted daughter Meg (Allene Roberts) on an isolated farm which is situated on the outskirts of a small town. In the middle of the woods that are near to the farm there is a RED HOUSE which is surrounded by dark and frightening secrets, travellers in the area avoid the house as tormented screams have been heard emanating from within its walls. Morgan and his sister keep their knowledge of the red house’s history a closely guarded secret. Morgan even hires Teller (Rory Calhoun) to guard the house making sure that no-one enters. It is not until a friend of Meg’s named Nath Storm( Lon McCallister) arrives at the farm to help out with the running of it that the horrific secrets of the families past and their connections with THE RED HOUSE begin to unravel and return to torment them, threatening to destroy all of them. The movie brings together the ingredients of a chilling horror and romantic nourish elements which together are a powerful and entertaining combination. Edward G. Robinson is outstanding in the role of the secretive and panic prone Morgan. With a memorable performance from Julie London as a spoiled school girl .

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The musical scores to both of these motion pictures was the work of esteemed Hollywood film music Maestro Miklos Rozsa. Dr. Rozsa was no stranger to scoring movies by the time he was assigned to YOUNG BESS and worked on the soundtrack to THE RED HOUSE at the same time as he was scoring BRUTE FORCE and A DOUBLE LIFE. To say that Miklos Rozsa was a prolific composer of music for the cinema is certainly something of an understatement. He was born in Budapest, Hungary on April 8th 1907, he came from an affluent family and his Father was an influential industrialist and land owner. Most of the young Rozsa’s early years were spent at his families country estate which was situated in the county of Nograd which was close to the Matra mountains. Rozsa’s first encounter with music came at the age of five when he began to study the viola and piano. Just three years later after celebrating his eighth birthday he began to perform in public, it was also at this time that he began to attempt to compose music. His Father however was not convinced that music was the right career for his son. So he insisted that he should set out to get a good all round education. Miklos attended a high school in Budapest for his education, but still remained actively involved in his study of music. After a while he moved to Leipzig where he began to study chemistry. These studies however were short lived and after Herrmann Grabner’s intervention Rozsa’s Father decided that he would allow his son to concentrate solely on music as a career. He started to study at Leipzig conservatory and during his final years there would at times stand in for his tutors giving lectures and instruction to fellow students.

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Rozsa’s first published orchestral work was a piece entitled HUNGARIAN SERENADE for small orchestra and it was given its premiere performance in Budapest during the summer of 1929 under the baton of Dohnanyi. The piece was received well and also garnered much acclaim from composers such as Richard Strauss. Rozsa soon established himself as a note-worthy composer and built up an impressive musical canon. He collaborated with fellow composer and friend Arthur Honegger to stage a concert of their combined musical works at the Salle Debussy in Paris. It was whilst working with Honnegger that Rozsa heard the composers music for the movie LES MISERABLES, and became interested and intrigued about the idea of writing music for the cinema and utilising music to increase the dramatic impact of film. After watching the movie and seeing how music and images worked together Rozsa decided that composing music for the cinema was something that he would also like to do. In 1936nhe travelled to England to work on a ballet entitled HUNGARIA and whilst there was asked to compose the score for Alexander Korda’s production of KNIGHT WITHOUT ARMOUR(1937). The film and the score were both a great success and later that year he was hired to write the music for another Korda movie THUNDER IN THE CITY (1937). Shortly after this assignment the composer was signed to the permanent staff of London Films which was the Korda production company. Rozsa’s first major scoring assignment came in 1939 when he penned the music for THE FOUR FEATHERS, but it was one year later that Rozsa composed a score that was to become one of his most accomplished and best loved works of his early period of writing for the cinema, THE THEIF OF BAGHDAD (1940) delighted and thrilled audiences all over the world and was a lucrative movie for the Korda organisation. It was this movie that actually led Rozsa to Hollywood, because he started work on the film in England but because of the outbreak of WWll the entire production was re-located to the United States and Rozsa went with it. The composers first movie Stateside was also for Korda THE JUNGLE BOOK (1942),the composer recorded a suite of music from the movie with narration by the films young star Sabu, this was the first time that film music had been recorded in the United States and it proved to be very popular. In 1945 Rozsa composed the dramatic and haunting score for Alfred Hitchcock’s SPELLBOUND, and won an Academy Award for his efforts. In the same year Rozsa was also nominated for THE LOST WEEKEND and the composer for this he utilised what was probably the first electronic instrument called the Theremin. In 1947, the composer again won an Oscar this time for his music to the George Cukor movie A DOUBLE LIFE. He was to win the prestigious golden statue again in 1959 for his epic score to William Wylers BEN HUR. He joined the staff of M.G.M. in 1948, and it is probably true to say that whilst at Metro Goldwyn Mayer the composer was at his most prolific, penning the scores to movies such as QUO VADIS(1957), EL CID(1961), KING OF KINGS (1962) and the aforementioned BEN HUR. As the Go;den age of film reached its sunset and the silver age dawned, filmmaking trends, styles of film production and practises too altered, up and coming filmmakers were opting for a more contemporary approach to score their films, often turning their backs on the established styles and traditional approaches and employing a more pop-orientated sound which included the use of synthesisers and songs rather than orchestral music. Nevertheless Miklos Rozsa remained in demand and created worthy and memorable scores for movies that probably did not deserve his wonderful themes.

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But of course there were a number of motion pictures that were worthy of his midas touch such as PROVIDENCE, THE LAST EMBRACE, THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES,TIME AFTER TIME and DEAD MEN DON’T WEAR PLAID in which the composer parodied the style of composition he had utilised on movies such as THE KILLERS, BRUTE FORCE and THE NAKED CITY. During the mid eighties Rozsa was forced to retire from writing music because of his failing eyesight, he passed away on July 27th 1995, he was 88 years of age. He left behind him a rich and varied tapestry of musical works and although he was predominantly recognised for his film scores Dr Rozsa also produced excellent works for the concert hall.

JAMES HORNER 1953-2015.

Composer James Horner has died after being involved in a plane crash.
He died when his single engine Tucano plane crashed in the Los Padres National Forest in California.

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James Roy Horner, was born in Los Angeles in the August of 1953. His Father Harry Horner was an Academy Award nominated production designer who worked in Hollywood, and at times would direct movies. James went to school in California and Arizona. He spent his early years in London where he studied at the Royal College of Music in Kensington. He continued to study music and completed his PHD at UCLA in the States. He was involved in the scoring of a number of shorts for the American Film Institute which he worked on during the mid to late 1970’s. His first film score proper was for the 1979 movie THE LADY IN RED, after this he began to write scores for a number of low budget movies that were produced by Roger Corman’s NEW WORLD PICTURES, which included one of his milestone scores for the sci-fi picture BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS in 1980.

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It is probably true to say that it was this movie that gained the composer recognition amongst film music collectors and also a number of producers and directors. It was also on this assignment that Horner first came into contact with James Cameron and Gale Ann Hurd who he would work with late in his career. It was in 1982 when Horner scored the sequel to STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE, STAR TREK ll~ THE WRATH OF KHAN that he established himself as an A list film composer and became much in demand. It was the way in which he scored movies in his early days that would endear him to many fans and peers alike, at times scoring low budget movies with grand symphonic works that overflowed with melodies and themes and it was this style of scoring that was to establish him further as one of Hollywood’s greatest composers.

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The 1980,s and 1990,s were particularly fruitful for Horner, the composer creating emotive, exciting and dramatic soundtracks for movies such as FIELD OF DREAMS,GLORY, RED HEAT, BRAINSTORM, GORKY PARK, 48 HOURS, HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS, THE PELICAN BREIF, AN AMERICAN TAIL, APOLLO 13,KRULL,THE ROCKETEER, COCOON, BRAVEHEART,LEGENDS OF THE FALL, ALIENS, WILLOW and his double Oscar winning music and song for TITANIC to name but a few. The latter still remaining one of the biggest selling film soundtracks of all time. In recent years Horner has scored his fair share of box office hits, THE PERFECT STORM, THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN, THE KARATE KID, A BEAUTIFUL MIND,HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, and AVATAR. The composer was nominated ten times for an Oscar, and also was the winner of two Golden Globe awards and six Grammy awards.
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Horner’s musical skills were not confined to film and he also wrote a number of classical pieces as well as providing hits for artists such as Diana Ross, Charlotte Church, Linda Ronstadt, Faith Hill and Tina Arena. His other passion away from music was flying and he combined his love of both music and flying by composing a piece for THE HORSEMAN P51 Aerobatic Team of which he was a member. Horner gained a reputation for being a perfectionist and chameleon like in his approach to scoring movies, being able to adapt and create a unique style and sound for the many films he scored. He worked with a number of directors these included, Ron Howard, Walter hill, Jean Jacques Annaud, Mel Gibson, Joe Johnston, Wes Craven, Oliver Stone, Roger Spottiswood, Nicholas Meyer, Douglas Trumbull, Michael Apted, Leonard Nimoy, Don Bluth, Norman Jewison, and James Cameron. He worked on 150 movies, his final offering being SOUTHPAW which will be released in July 2015. James Horner’s contribution to the world of film music is immense, staggering, enormous and enriching, beautiful and emotive. He will be missed so much, rest in peace Maestro.

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BRUTE FORCE,THE KILLERS AND MORE………

Released on TSUNAMI records, in 2005.

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A BACKGROUND TO VIOLENCE, is not as one might think the title of a motion picture, but instead it is the title given to a suite of music that composer Miklos Rozsa prepared which contains excerpts of music from three movies. All three pictures were produced by filmmaker Hark Hellinger. Te films that the music is taken from are THE KILLERS, BRUTE FORCE and THE NAKED CITY. These are all outstanding examples of the genre that was dubbed film noir and each has become a classic in its own right. The suite BACKGROUND OF VIOLENCE begins with the driving and dramatic PRELUDE and BREAKOUT from BRUTE FORCE. This opening section has a running time of almost five minutes and is this music that the composer utilised as the introduction to the movie, it contains energetic yet perverse rhythmic qualities which are embellished by the composers use of sharp and rasping brass stabs, the music is tense and taught and conjures up perfectly an atmosphere of a frenzied yet hopeless struggle. The suite continues with a further two musical excerpts from Rozsa’s brooding score, these appear in the form of a NOCTURNO, which in stark contrast to the opening cue is somewhat subdued and melodic this piece is used to great effect within the movie to relay to the watching audience the films principal characters thoughts of better times in their lives. This is followed by a SHERZO, that is powerful in its style but is also a perfect musical accompaniment to one of the movies lighter moments. The suite then segues into a cue from THE KILLERS which is entitled REMORSE and is scored under the scene where detectives are interviewing a female suspect , who is desperately trying to convince them that she is innocent. The next excerpt is taken from THE NAKED CITY, PURSUIT AND EPILOGUE, the pursuit section of the composition is a relentless and gripping musical tour de force and is used by Rozsa during the films final chase scene, underlining and punctuating the action wholly. This section of the suite eventually relents and melts into the music that is scored over the end of the movie, it remains dramatic but also has to it a mood and atmosphere that can be described as triumphant relaying a true sense of good prevailing over evil, and also brings the BACKGROUND TO VIOLENCE suite to a close. THE KILLERS, released in 1946, by Universal Pictures this powerful and hard hitting tale of corruption, deceit and crime turned the then virtually unknown actor Burt Lancaster into the proverbial Hollywood overnight success, the movie was based upon a short story by Earnest Hemmingway, who’s ideas were expanded upon for the screenplay by writer Anthony Veiller.

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Veiller’s absorbing and somewhat complex treatment basically led on from where Hemmingway had stopped or at least elaborated upon the subject and its characters. The Hemmingway story tells of two gunmen (Charles McGraw and William Conrad- THE KILLERS) who are waiting in a bar for the man they have been hired to assassinate. Their target, THE SWEDE, portrayed by Lancaster is aware that they are waiting for him, he lies in a claustrophobic darkened room resigned to the fact that he is going to die, too tired to attempt to escape his fate.

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Hemmingway’s story gave no indicators to readers why this man had to die, so Veiller began his screenplay with the fabric of the original story and then through a number of flashbacks took the story back to a series of events that he thought might have led the man to this fate. Veiller places the Swede as a boxer who has allowed racketeers to manipulate him and railroad his professional career using him as a front for their underhanded business. They are aided and abetted by the beautiful Kitty Collins (Ava Gardner),who’s involvement with the Swede is his real downfall. A big time gangster Colfax (Albert Dekker) has utilised the boxer in a number of illegal transactions and is consequently under investigation by an insurance company, who send private detective Riordan (Edmund O Brien) along to try and uncover the truth. The movie was skilfully helmed by filmmaker Robert Siodmak and photographed admirably by Woody Bredell. After his convincing and memorable performance in THE KILLERS Lancaster, became hot Hollywood property and with the performance he created for BRUTE FORCE one year later assured himself a place in tinsel town history.

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BRUTE FORCE was directed by Jules Dassin, the film put prison life and the methods that prison authorities employed to keep inmates in check under the microscope. Based upon the story by Robert Patterson the film contained a no holds barred screenplay courtesy of writer Richard Brooks. BRUTE FORCE was and to a certain degree still is a highly authentic look at the gritty and often cruel and dreadful existence that many prisoners experienced whilst under lock and key. The real star of the movie has to be actor Hume Cronyn who delivers a convincing and suitably sadistic performance as Captain Munsey, who is a corrupt and malicious prison guard and has his own less ethical methods when it comes to discipline and punishment. The regime that Munsey imposes upon the prisoners pushes them to the limit of their endurance and one of the inmates Joe Collins played by Burt Lancaster decides that he can take no more of the merciless and cruel methods that are being employed and overseen by Munsey. Collins decides that he will escape and attempts to enlist the aid of fellow inmate Gallagher (Charles Bickford). Gallagher is seen by many in the prison as the unofficial leader of the prisoners and also is the editor of the prison newspaper.

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Gallagher however is not fully convinced that the plan Collins has come up with is a good one and refuses to be involved in the escape. Collins however does manage to persuade a handful of the other inmates that share his cell to take part. The majority of these are very much like Collins and are in prison due to either good intentions gone tragically wrong or because of love and mis-guided loyalty. There is Soldier (Howard Duff) who fell hopelessly in love with a beautiful Italian girl played by Yvonne de Carlo during WWll and because of his love for her decided to take the blame for the murder of her Father, when in fact it was her who had committed the crime. Tom Lister (Whit Bissel) who was an accountant who decided that he would alter the financial records in his favour to the tune of $3,000 so that he could buy his strong minded wife (Ella Raines) a mink coat. There is also Spencer, (John Hoyt) who made the wrong decision and got involved with a clever female con-artist. Then there is Collins himself(Burt Lancaster) who in desperation carried out a raid on bank to get the money for his girlfriend (Ann Blyth) to have an operation. So that she did not have to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. Before Collins and his fellow inmates are able to escape Munsey increases the pressure upon one of the prisoners and Tom Lister commits suicide. Enraged by this Collins is even more determined to make his bid for freedom. Munsey also puts a stop on a parole order for Gallagher and this makes him decide to join Collins and the others. Collins finds out that Munsey via his many stoolpigeons has been informed that there is going to be a breakout, but Joe is undeterred in his plans. BRUTE FORCE is a convincing, taught and gripping slice of cinema, that for most of the picture has the audience firmly on the side of the prisoners, but at the end of the movie the storyline very cleverly does a twist and turnabout, which basically tells us that the use of strong arm tactics ofr Brute Force by the inmates is just as wrong as the Brute Force that has been carried out upon them by their overseers. Director Jules Dassin went onto work with producer Mark Hellinger on THE NAKED CITY, but after this fell foul of the political blacklisting and left the United States to go to Europe, he never returned to America. THE NAKED CITY, was released by Universal pictures in 1948, this is another accomplished portion of film-noir that is a no fuss, no holds barred account of homicide and its subsequent investigationon the gritty and down to earth streets of New York.

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Handled with much confidence and expertise by director Jules Dassin, the story centres on a period of six days in the city and although the actual plot of the movie is an engrossing and gripping one, it is probably true to say that it is actually the city with its eastside/Westside divide, Broadway and populace of 8 million that is the star of the picture. For in the this movie there are no props as such , if you see children playing in the streets that is exactly what they are, children from New York, not extras taking on the role, the scenes in the Police station were filmed in an actual Manhattan Police station and in the final chase scene the people we see on the streets again are not extras but New Yorkers, going about their everyday lives. A young and moderately successful model Jean Dexter is found dead in her apartment which is situated in the upper Westside of Manhattan, she has drowned in her bath but it soon materialises that she was knocked unconscious first and then drowned. So it is a case for the NYPD homicide department. Detectives Lt Dan Muldoon (Barry Fitzgerald) and his younger assistant James Halloran (Don Taylor) are assigned to job. The work that they and the New York Police department carry out on the case is interspersed with brief but important glimpses of life in the city and also the reaction of the cities inhabitants to the murder. The detectives first task is to find out why the girl was killed and after establishing this fact they can then move onto trying to find the person or persons responsible for her murder. After piecing together the final 18 months of the girls life their enquiries lead them to two men who are linked to the woman. Phillip Henderson who was supposedly romantically involved with her and also a Frank Niles (Howard Duff) who succeeds in making detective Muldoon even more suspicious of him when he is a little too fast and easy with the so called truth. Muldoon reaches the conclusion that there were definitely two men involved with the girls murder, but maybe there was a third individual involved who had a vested interest in seeing her dead. It transpires that the girl had a less than moral existence she frequented numerous parties and also had her fair share of male friends. The two detectives pursue their enquiries and explore the high social stratum and seedy sides of New York to find the perpetrators. The final chase scene on the Williamsburg bridge is one of those classic pieces of cinema that can never be forgotten, full of tension, suspense and excitement. Cinematographer William Daniels and film editor Paul Weatherwax both received Oscars for their work on the movie. Producer Mark Hellinger also acted as narrator on the film, and at its conclusion delivered those immortal words, “THERE ARE EIGHT MILLION STORIES IN THE NAKED CITY,THIS HAS BEEN ONE OF THEM”.
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Also included on this compact disc is THE NEW ENGLAND SYMPHONETTE from the 1947 movie TIME OUT OF MIND.
This romantically laced period drama set in the 19th Century was directed by Robert Siodmak and took its storyline from the novel by Rachel Field, the film itself was rather disappointing and tended to be a slow moving tale which was made slightly more interesting only because of the efforts of its stars Eddie Albert, Phyliss Calvert, Ella Raines and Robert Hutton. Calvert plays a servant girl named Kate Ferald who falls in love with Christopher Fortune (Hutton),and although he is also in love with her their marriage cannot take place because he is the Son of a wealthy New England sailing family. Kate realises that they can never be wed and encourages Christopher to marry someone from his own social class, as time passes on Kate watches from the sidelines witnessing his increasing frustration and unhappiness, until finally he drinks himself to death. Miklos Rozsa provided the film with a musical soundtrack that was fairly typical of his style during the late 1940,s and condensed his themes into this symphonette which is approx six minutes in duration.

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MUSIC BY ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD.

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Composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold was probably one of the first serious music composers to become involved with the writing of film scores, by this I mean he had already had a career in composing music for the concert hall before starting to write for Hollywood movies and went back to the composition of so called serious music after he ceased to work on motion pictures. Korngold it is said is the Father of film music, well yes I suppose this is true but let us not forget Max Steiner who was also responsible for creating the craft of the actual scoring of motion pictures or at least that is my own personal opinion. There have been many re-recordings of the film music of Korngold released the majority of which have been true to the original compositions, most notable is the series of classic film music on the RCA label with the National Philharmonic orchestra, under the direction of Charles Gerhardt and produced by George Korngold, plus of course there have been recordings of Korngold’s original scores issued in recent years as well as recordings by THE MOSCOW SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA under the baton of William Stromberg Let us however not forget the recording that was originally released in 1962 on Warner bros records (ws1438) and was the first authorised recording by the Korngold estate, this was later re issued onto compact disc on Stanyan records (stz 117) which was conducted by Lionel Newman and performed by The Warner Brothers Studio Orchestra.

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This recording featured music from seven motion pictures, KINGS ROW, ANTHONY ADVERSE, ELIZABETH AND ESSEX,THE SEA HAWK, THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER,THE CONSTANT NYMPH and last but by no means least THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. Arguably these were the most prominent titles of the composers career, I say arguably because it omitted his first official film score CAPTAIN BLOOD and the excellent ESCAPE ME NEVER but nevertheless a worthy collection of music and one that once it begins will I know evoke all the memories of the movies in question. The compact disc is in no way lavishly illustrated in fact it is devoid of any stills or photos apart from one small black and white picture on the back cover of the composer, but the information in the liner notes by Bill Collins and Rod Mckuen is interesting and informative. The CD opens with four cues from KINGS ROW, released in 1942 it starred Ronald Regan, Robert Cummings, Ann Sheridan and Betty Field, directed by Sam Wood the movie was a success at the box office in the United States and enjoyed mild success also outside of America. Korngold’s glittering and imposing trumpet fanfares that open the main title are in a word stunning and send shivers down ones spine, these majestic and regal sounding flourishes set the scene perfectly for what is to follow in Korngold’s effecting score. The composer being regal sounding and also infusing a subtle and emotional feel to proceedings.

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The four cues included are MAIN TITLES, THE CHILDREN, RANDY AND DRAKE and GRANDMOTHER. Section two is from the score to the 1936 motion picture ANTHONY ADVERSE, directed by Mervyn LeRoy, this was a lavish production that was said to have over 120 sets. A romantic and historical drama, which starred Frederic March as Anthony and Olivia de Haviland as the love of his life Angela and Claude Rains in the role of the malicious Don Luis. Korngold’s luscious score gave the production greater depth and certainly added emotion to the storyline. Korngold was awarded his first Oscar for his labours. The selections included here are, ANTHONY IS BORN,THE LOVE SCENE and ANTHONY COMES HOME. THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX is next in the running order, released in 1939, the movie directed by Michael Curtiz a director whom Korngold had collaborated with before a year previous on THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, just two selections are included form this score, MAIN TITLE AND ESSEX’S VICTORY MARCH and LOVE SCENE AND FINALE.

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It starred Bette Davies as Elizabeth the first and is still hailed as one of her best performances, Laurence Olivier was originally scheduled to play Essex but it was Errol Flynn that eventually took the role much to Davies disapproval, but saying this Flynn’s portrayal of Essex is not an awful one and for the most part is convincing and entertaining. The film had a strong supporting cast in the forms of Olivia de Haviland, Vincent Price and Donald Crisp. Korngold’s triumphant sounding score was regal and highly impressive, lush strings are augmented by brass and Royal sounding flourishes from the brass section are further enhanced and bolstered by the composers use of strings. For the next section we move into the 1940’s Directed by Michael Curtiz THE SEA HAWK was once again a vehicle for the enigmatic Errol Flynn, a swashbuckling romp that still inspires and influences pirate movies of today this rip roaring adventure cried out for an even bigger and rousing soundtrack, a score that would underline, enhance and support the action on screen as well as being subtle when needed. Korngold’s opening flourishes have also inspired and influenced composers such as John Williams on his STAR WARS soundtracks and have been mimicked in numerous pirate and adventure movies, ie THE GOONIES and to a degree CUTTHROAT ISLAND and the first PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movie. Korngold’s music complimented and heightened the dramatic sea battles, punctuated the somewhat cheeky manner of Flynn’s character and ingratiated the lavish sets, making them even more sumptuous and convincing, in fact the film and the score in my opinion have never been surpassed.

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Elizabeth the first was portrayed by Flora Robson and the films love interest or heroine of the piece is played by Brenda Marshall. It is a film that one never tires of and a score that spends a lot of time in the CD player. Two sections are representing the score on this recording, MAIN TITLE and THE REUNION. Next is THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER, based upon the novel by Mark Twain this 1937 release was directed by Michael Curtiz, again having Errol Flynn in the principal role. Korngold once again produced a suitably rousing and majestic work, alas just one short cue included on this recording, THE BOYS GO TO PLAY. Tracks 13 and 14 are taken from Korngold’s score to THE CONSTANT NYMPH, directed by Edmund Goulding in 1943, MAIN TITLE and FAREWELL are short but most certainly sweet representations of Korngold’s soundtrack, the latter being poignant and subtle and containing a sense of melancholy, which is purveyed by strings and restrained woodwinds. A beautifully produced movie THE CONSTANT NYMPH s a touching and heartrending drama for which Korngold composed one of his best scores. The final section on the compilation is from THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, what can I say, A CLASSIC in every way, a charismatic performance from Errol Flynn as Robin Hood, with Olivia de Haviland delightfully portraying Lady Marion, the movie had three directors, Michael Curtiz took charge of the studio action, whilst the outdoor scenes were handled by William Keighley and B. Reeves Eason.

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Korngold won his second Oscar for his dramatic and thrilling music and it is probably true to say that THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD is the score that we most associate with Erich Wolfgang Korngold. This is a wonderful compilation and a fitting tribute not to just the artistry and talent of Korngold but also to the actors, directors and producers that were responsible for bringing to the screen these glittering examples of Hollywood at its golden best. Seek it out, it is an essential addition to any film music collection.

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THE WAR LORD.

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When you think about it composer Jerome Moross was something of an odd man out in the scheme of things and amongst the numerous film music composers that worked at around the same period as he did. I often think of him as the forgotten name of Hollywood film music simply because he composed some of the most robust and familiar film scores that have endured the test of time, but it seems is always omitted from discussions about movie music maestros or at least brought up within the conversation as something of an after thought. This is I think unfair as Moross was a talented composer, arranger and conductor. He was overshadowed by many of the composers of the golden age who had already established themselves as giants of movie scores, composers such as Alfred Newman for example, Steiner and Korngold etc. Moross also seemed to be overlooked because of up and coming talents at the time such as John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith et al. We all of course remember Moross,s rousing soundtrack for the sprawling western epic THE BIG COUNTRY and his beautiful scores for THE PROUD REBEL, THE CARDINAL and RACHEL RACHEL to name but a few, but THE WAR LORD is a score and indeed a movie that just seems to slip under the radar. I first purchased the soundtrack on the long playing record on the Brunswick label many years ago and later added the compact disc on Varese and later the Tsunami edition to my collection. THE WAR LORD for me is primarily a score that contains a number of action cues, but it is also a romantically laced work that contains emotive and highly haunting compositions, the composer providing the Franklin J Schaffner picture with some of the most enriching and well written pieces of film music in many a year. I realise that the compact disc on Varese ha been around a while now, but how many purchased it I wonder? Released in November 1965 THE WAR LORD was based on a play entitled THE LOVERS and tells the story of Chrysagon a conquering Norman War Lord(Charlton Heston) who is sent to defend a coastal village that has been raided many times, whilst there he falls in love with one of the village girls Bronwyn (Rosemary Forsyth), but she is promised in marriage to Marc one of the men of the village, the Norman knight is bitterly disappointed but by chance becomes aware of a tradition that would allow him to take her on the eve of her wedding. He does just that and when she does not return to the village the following morning the villagers become restless and accuse him of kidnapping her. Jerome Moross composed a wonderfully lyrical score for the movie and produced themes that accompanied not only set action scenarios but he underlined the deep love that the Norman Lord feels for the girl and captures perfectly in his music the frustration that is felt and experienced by all within the story.

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Moross was originally given more than two months to write the score but this period was shortened to five weeks and Moross struggled with the score which resulted in veteran composer Hans J Salter being brought in to write approximately fifteen minutes of music, most notably THE WAR LORD IN BATTLE which is one of the scores most rousing cues. The score is simply drenched in rich thematic material whether it be the work of Moross or Salter the score is simply beautiful, mesmerizing in certain areas, stirring in others, but essentially this is quality film music, poetically emotive, lavishly romantic and fearsomely vibrant. It is a score that enhances and augments without being intrusive, but at the same time one is aware of its presence because of its shining beauty and brilliance, with its highly emotional musical passages and also its subdued but effective tone poems and its joyful and haunting musical persona. Tracks such as THE DRUID WEDDING, LOVE THEME, THE ASCENT TO THE TOWER AND FRUSTRATED LOVE and the delightful NOCTURNAL PROCESSION are all cues that will have you reaching for the repeat button. If you have per chance missed this one, I implore you to find it and love it as I do.

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