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.
LA TIGRE E’ANCORA VIVA: SANDOKAN ALLA RISCOSSA !