Music from two Italian Peplums, Digit movies have again managed to amaze me with this marvelous double compact disc set. The music from HERCULES and HERCULES UNCHAINED released for the first time in its entirety. Both scores have been issued before on the CAM- Phoenix label, and some music from HERCULES made it onto a RCA LP which also included dialogue and sound effects. Both scores are the work of composer Enzo Masetti and conducted by Italian film music stalwart Carlo Savina. I remember when I was a kid going to what we used to call Saturday morning pictures, this was a thing for kids during the 1960,s and was always a bit of an experience, at times it was hard to hear the movie for the noise being generated in the cinema. It was at these Saturday morning sessions that I became familiar with characters such as HERCULES in the form of Steve Reeves plus many other characters from Greek mythology, this was via a huge amount of Italian peplums that were screened at these Saturday morning outings. Of course I was not at that time aware that the films were of Italian origin, I just enjoyed them. As we all know some of the Italian peplums were re-scored for U.S. and U.K. audiences, but I honestly think that the films I watched all those years ago contained the original scores by Masetti, I might be wrong so don’t all write to me and tell me I was imagining it. With this release in particular I think Digit movies has managed to convince me that they are probably the best soundtrack label in the world. With each release this dedicated label brighten my listening experiences. This magnificent 2 cd set. Is a must have item. I was a little apprehensive when it was announced as an up and coming release, but my fears of sub standard music and poor sound quality because of it’s age were totally unfounded. The sound quality is in a word wonderful, the music is superb and the presentation of the compact disc by Digit Movies is excellent. I thought that maybe the music would not be that interesting, simply because British scores from the same period were no more than a continuous musical wallpaper on the film, with no real purpose or character. But this collection of themes are thoughtfully composed, meticulously orchestrated and performed to perfection. The level of sound quality achieved here is stunning. Enzo Masetti has penned some exquisite and wonderfully lyrical compositions for both of these movies, with the first compact disc HERCULES standing out just slightly from Disc number 2, HERCULES UNCHAINED. There is just so much music here, a total of 79 cues in total. It is true to say that many of the cues are somewhat short-lived, but this does not in any way detract anything from them in the quality stakes, and are a vital component within a score that is varied and rich in its overall sound.

The style that Masetti utilized for both of these movies is a fusion of romantic, dramatic and epic, and somewhat akin to the style utilized by Eastern European composer Dasan Radic during the 1960,s on his LONG SHIPS and GENGHIS KHAN scores, I only mention this to give you a basic idea of what to expect. Track number 21 on disc one of the set is a good example of the sound and the flavour of the scores, URANGANO contains brass, strings wistful woods and an almost heavenly choir. The compact discs contain numerous previously un-released cues and Digit movies have taken much time and also a lot of care in restoring and releasing these soundtracks, and this time and care has certainly paid off, and we as collectors are the ones to reap the benefits of their labours. The art work is stunning and the notes by Tim Lucas of Video Watchdog are well written and extremely interesting. The booklet contains various examples of posters from the movies, and also lobby cards and even the original art work of the RCA album. It also has a fascinating spread of black and white photographs taken on the sets of both movies, one in particular caught my eye, which is of Mario Bava who was F/X photographer. I cannot recommend this release enough, it is one to buy play enjoy and cherish.



Released in 1977 this was the cinema version or sequel to the highly successful TV series SANDOKAN. Directed by the famed Sergio Sollima, the movie enjoyed moderate success at the box office and starred Kabir Bedi who reprized his performance as Sandokan from the TV shows. At the time of the movies release only a single 45 rpm record was issued which included two cues from the soundtrack, but thankfully the full score still remained intact and in fairly reasonable condition in the vaults of GDM. Digit movies have lovingly and meticulously restored the tapes and have issued for the first time in stereo the full score from this adventure yarn, music courtesy of the original Italian composing duo Guido and Maurizio de Angelis. As we are all aware the style and sound of this talented pair is at times an acquired taste, in other words you either love it hate it or just sit and think at times why did they do that, as in KEOMA-THE VIOLENT BREED. I am happy to say with this particular soundtrack, there is a little bit of everything that should please everyone, or at least I hope so. There are a number of fairly descent melodic themes within the work, which are orchestrated and arranged in a way that I will describe as conventional, taking into account the other works of the De Angelis brothers. There are some grand sounding cues which to be honest took me by surprise. Fully symphonic and full blooded orchestral cues which are certainly not John Williams, Hans Zimmer or Alan Silvestri but hit the spot emotionally and musically sweeping along at a brisk pace, there are also so more offbeat cues included as one would expect from the Brothers De Angelis, track 2 for example, where the composers utilise a sitar being played in no particular direction, backed by percussion, after a few seconds it does become monotonous, but I am sure it services the movies story line well, even if it is not exactly a pleasurable listening experience. The score relies upon the usage of the string section, which is enhanced and supported throughout by the likes of woods and mandolin, which perform the central theme in various manifestations giving it a bright and vibrant sound each time it emerges. Track 6 is a good example of this, layered strings act as a background to a mandolin picking out the theme, which in turn is replaced by delicately placed and performed woodwind, and then as the cue reaches its final seconds the mandolin returns. There are also a few more atonal cues within the score, but these to are in there own way entertaining. As with the majority of De Angelis soundtracks there is a song included on this occasion performed by long time collaborator of the De Angelis boys, Oliver Onions,I say collaborator but we all know that Onions is an alias for the composing duo, MOMPRACEM (track 21) is a fairly typical example of the vocals heard in many other De Angelis scores, so nothing outstanding but again not unpleasant, this is repeated in an “off vocal version” which is basically the cue without Oliver Onions and includes just orchestra and choir. I think I am going to stick my neck out and highly recommend this release, it’s certainly not the usual example of the music of the De Angelis and will I think be an entertaining and pleasant surprise to anyone who purchases it. It comes with some stunning art work on the front cover and informative notes, along with some colourful stills from the movie. Recommended.



Like so many collectors during the 1970,s I was introduced to the music of Franco Micalizzi via his landmark score for the comedy western THEY CALL ME TRINITY, it was not until about a year later when I purchased the LP record THE BEST OF FRANCO MICALIZZI that I realised there was far more to this Maestro than the catchy little tunes on the Trinity score, Personally I am of the opinion that Micalizzi is probably the most important film music composer in Italy next to Morricone, he has the ability to create jazz infused cues and romantic emotive themes plus he has written some classic Italian western scores, which include some pretty infectious thematic material. I think my next encounter with Micalizzi came with THE DEVIL WITHIN HER, then THE TREE WITH PINK LEAVES and THE LAST SNOWS OF SPRING followed in quick succession, so as you can imagine I am over the moon that at last a number of this Maestro, s scores are being issued on CD. A release from Digitmovies has been this double soundtrack CD which has on it the score from the western SEI IELLATO AMICO HAI INCONTRATO SACRAMENTO and a thriller I DUE VOLTI DELLA PAURA. Now I would have been pleased with just SACRAMENTO but the second score is a bonus and a pretty amazing one too. The first score SACRAMENTO was originally issued on a promotional LP way back in 1972, which has proved to be very elusive, although some CDR LP transfers were made available a few years back via collectors. In many ways SACRAMENTO is similar to TRINITY, although personally I think it is a better structured and far better orchestrated work. Micalizzi utilizes again piano, electric and Spanish guitar and solo trumpet passages combined with soft almost romantic sounding strings, and punctuates the main themes with jaws harp and choir to add that certain Spaghetti western sound which he does to great effect. The score gives off the persona of being written for a comedy western at times, but also there are other cues which undoubtedly create the atmosphere of a serious and more urgent nature, the composer uses to wonderful effect the marvelous vocal talents of Edda dell Orso, and the distinct sound of IL CANTORI MODERNI both of which add depth and power to the work. This is an entertaining score that has the ability to stand on its own away from the images it was intended to enhance, and will be a sheer delight to all fans of Italian film music. The second score on this CD is as equally rare as the first; it too was originally issued on a promo LP back in the 1970,s and has been just as elusive as SACRAMENTO for collectors. I DUE VOLTI DELLA PAURA (THE TWO FACES OF EVIL) contains a score that is very much in the style of Morricone, strings, harpsichord, piano, percussion and female vocal combine to create a haunting yet easy going sounding theme, which as I have said could easily be mistaken for the work of Morricone, the remainder of the score is very much in the same vein, easy on the ear themes fill the soundtrack light and airy tone poems that are orchestrated and arranged with much skill and precision. Alongside these there are just a few tracks that can be described as dissonant and suspense filled but even these few examples of atonal writing are in their own way melodic. It is however the cues that contain what I label as the classic Italian sound of the more romantic and easy listening cues that are the attraction of this score, flawless and at times soaring female vocals, beat/shake compositions with an injection of a pop infused Hammond organ and romantically slanted tracks are all included here, this compact disc is probably one of the most entertaining and enriching listening experiences within the digit movies catalogue thus far, I say thus far because we can only hope that scores such as THE LAST SNOWS OF SPRING, THE TREE WITH PINK LEAVES and the excellent WHITE HORSES OF SUMMER all by Micalizzi will one day see a CD release on this label. Let’s hope it’s not too far off. It’s one of those CD,s that you buy for the first score, then end up loving the second score as well, which is always a delight as it is unexpected. As always art work and presentation are second to none and sound quality is exceptional. I cannot recommend this CD enough, just go and get it now!!!!!!!!!!!



Stelvio Cipriani is a composer who contributed a great deal of original and entertaining music to Italian movies from the early 1960,s through to the latter part of the 1980,s. Despite this his music is in comparison with other composers such as Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai poorly represented on compact disc. Italian company Digit movies have with this, one of their latest releases continued to make amends for this oversight. UN’OMBRA NELL’OMBRA was written by Pier Carpi in 1974, and it was Carpi who also directed the movie which was released in 1979 in Italy. Considered something of a masterpiece in the Devil movie genre this chilling tale of devil worship and possession is a riveting and convincing piece of cinema, which featured Ian Bannen, Frank Finlay, John Phillip Law and Irene Papas in its cast. Cipriani’s music although being for a horror movie still includes a fair amount of strong thematic material which is melodic and non atonal, this I am glad to say is a quality that Cipriani managed to sustain when being involved with movies of the horror genre, often scoring these types of movies in a strangely romantic fashion, thus lulling the watching audience into a false sense of security, so when the actual moment of violence or horror takes place it is more of a fright for the audience.


Cipriani,s score for UN’OMBRA NELL’ OMBRA is a fusion of symphonic and synthetic styles, the composer utilising electronic sounds to act as a background to the orchestral compositions, this is not a grandiose sounding soundtrack in any way, there are few sweeping or lush interludes, in fact it is a low key affair for the best part of its running time, the composer maintaining an uneasy atmosphere via his sparse scoring where he employs bass guitar, organ, percussion and the aforementioned electronic effects. This is a welcome addition to the Digit Movies catalogue, and hopefully more of Cipriani,s music will follow on this label. As always the compact disc is presented very well, containing striking cover art and numerous stills from the movie within its booklet, there are also notes about the movie by Claudio Fuiano, which are informative.


bruno 56

A great release from the ever popular Digit movies label, this 1972 movie which is referred to as being part of the DEMAEROTICO genre of films which were produced in their abundance during the 1970,s. The production Stars the stunningly attractive actress Edwige Fenech and popular Italian comic Pippo Franco. The story is set in the medieval period where knights were bold in more ways than one and the ladies wore exquisite gowns (most of the time any way). An entertaining romp which is a saucy little comedy. Which I suppose is akin to the British CARRY ON,s, but more revealing, and probably a lot funnier. The score by Maestro Bruno Nicolai, is fairly typical of what the composer was producing during this period, and in a number of ways is similar to Ennio Morricone’s WHEN WOMEN HAD TAILS and Nicolai,s own WHEN WOMEN LOST THEIR TAILS, it has that same energy and light but bubbly persona. The score opens with a fanfare of sorts, which one just knows cannot be taken seriously, as the composer utilizes muted trumpet which is slightly off key supported by rolling timpani, this is short lived and gives way to a comical sounding and catchy sounding theme, that in the movie introduces Pippo Franco,s character, who is a Knight returning from the wars. This theme is given several airings throughout the score in numerous arrangements, one of the most memorable being on track number 6 where the theme is performed on a music box type instrument. Even though the theme does reprise a number of times one never tires of hearing it. The other central theme is for Edwige Fenech’s character UBALDA, and is a particularly haunting and beautiful composition that is first heard on track number 7, Nicolai has penned a pleasing and light sounding composition, which again is reprised on a few of the cues and even combined with the Knights theme on occasion as on track number 10. As you progresses through the soundtrack it is possible that you will draw a few comparisons between this and other Nicolai works, such as GIORNATA SPESE BENE, as there are little musical phrases and motifs present that the composer has utilized before, but this I think is the appeal of the work and also of Nicolai, the outstanding track for me is cue number 9 which is a full version of the Ubalda theme, performed on strings with harpsichord, plucked electric guitar, faraway sounding horns, choir and solo female voice adding to its content, the only way I can describe it is to say think of the theme for THE RED TENT or even AROUND THE WORLD WITH THE LOVERS OF PEYNET, it is delicate and superb. So this is another triumph for Digit Movies, packaging is again up to the now expected high standard, and sound quality is excellent.