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Born in Roubaix France on March 15th 1925, Georges Delerue was set to become one of the most celebrated composers of film and classical music in the 20th century. Although he was interested in music from an early age he was not particularly attracted to it over his normal school work and lessons. His Mother enrolled the young Delerue at the local music conservatory where he began to play clarinet at the age of fourteen but his interest in the instrument was outweighed by his love of playing with his school friends. During the early days of WW ll and aged nearly fifteen years old Delerue gave up his studies and began to work in a factory where his father was foreman so that he could support the family, but even though things were considerably difficult and bleak for his family they still encouraged Georges to follow a career in music and study hard. His Grandfather was a vocalist and also his Mother played piano and also sang and after being immersed in this atmosphere that was filled with music Delerue finally decided that he too would like to become involved in the writing and also the performance of music. He divided his day into two parts the first part was taken up with his work in the factory and the latter part of the day he would attend the conservatory, plus he would also perform clarinet with local bands.

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As the war continued in Europe and Germany invaded Poland and France became ever threatened by the shadow of the Third Reich, many young men were enlisting in the army and other forces to protect their country, Delerue’s Mother feared for her son and persuaded him to study music more so that he might be enlisted into the relative safety of a military band, it was at this time that Delerue decided to change from his clarinet to piano as he was much more interested in this instrument. Delerue auditioned for Picavet Bacquart hoping that she would agree to be his tutor, after performing a piece by Mendelssohn she agreed to teach the young pianist and Delerue began his studies proper. Shortly after he began his piano studies he was diagnosed with scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and was coping well with the condition until he had an accident on his bicycle which resulted in him having surgery and being confined to bed for a while. It was during this period that the inner musician within him was released and he decided that he wanted to become a composer. Encouraged by a new director at the music conservatory Delerue begins to study full time. In 1945 Delerue graduates from the conservatory with second prize in clarinet, first prize for piano, chamber music and harmony, which earns him a place at the Paris conservatory of music where he continues his studies.

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Although he had a scholarship living in the French capital one year after the war had ended proved difficult for Delerue so he began to earn money by performing at weddings, funerals and also in local bars etc. When playing at funerals Delerue started to perfect his organ playing but was also at this time was drawn to the jazz styles that were being played in Parisian bars and restaurants.

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In 1948 Darius Milhaud becomes director of the National conservatory in Paris, Milhaud who had been in exile in the United States during the war years becomes a powerful influence in the career of Delerue and it was via his influences and advice that Delerue moved ever closer to the world of writing music for the theatre and eventually cinema. His career as a film music composer began in 1950, when he started to provide scores for short films, and between 1950 and 1957 the composer was kept busy working on theatrical productions and also working for French television which was at that time in its early days of development. In 1960, Delerue wrote his first film score for director Pierre Kast which was for a movie entitled LE BEL AGE it was also in 1960 that Delerue first collaborated with film makers Francois Truffant on SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER and Philippe de Broca on THE LOVE GAME. In 1964 he was called upon by Ken Russell to score the film FRENCH DRESSING and Russell also made a film for the BBC about Delerue called DON’T SHOOT THE COMPOSER.

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The sixties were a busy time for Delerue, in 1966 he worked on A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS for Fred Zinneman and also in that year composed the music for the ballet THE THREE MUSKETEERS. In 1967 he wrote the hymn OUR WORLD for British television and was honoured with an Emmy for his work in 1968. The rest as they say is history, Delerue’s music is elegant, fragile, haunting and melodic. It is beautifully simple but at the same time enticingly compelling and attractive. Film music without Georges Delerue would have been a rather ungracious and rather dull place. CRIMES OF THE HEART, A LITTLE ROMANCE, PLATOON, RICH IN LOVE, DAY OF THE DOLPHIN, THE FRENCH REVOLUTION, TRUE CONFESSIONS, THIBAUD THE CRUSADER, PROMISE AT DAWN, STEEL MAGNOLIAS, THE LAST METRO, THE BORGIAS, JULES ET JIM, SILKWOOD, THE 25TH HOUR, OUR MOTHERS HOUSE, DAY FOR NIGHT, THE WOMAN NEXT DOOR, AGNES OF GOD,BEACHES,INTERLUDE,MEMORIES OF ME, EXPOSED and many many more are scores that will forever be with us even though the composer has left us, he once said, “ JE NE CONCOIS PAS MA VIE SANS LA MUSIQUE”. (“ I CANNOT IMAGINE MY LIFE WITHOUT MUSIC”) Well I cannot imagine the world without the music of Georges Delerue. He passed away in 1992. Take a day soon listen to his music, marvel at his melodies and his talent, and be prepared to be overwhelmed with emotion.

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With the release of the music from the PLANET OF THE APES TV series on La La Land records, I was thinking about the series as a whole, not just the actual movies but the soundtracks of course. The APE films were in most cases pretty entertaining and even when they began to get a little implausible and silly, as in ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES, the musical scores still remained fresh and above all original. One can never forget the sight of an ape soldier clad in black brandishing a rifle on horseback in the HUNT scene of the original APE movie accompanied by the chilling, foreboding and somewhat grotesque sounding rams horn that composer Jerry Goldsmith conjured up for his innovative and iconic sounding score. I think that scene in particular will stay with me forever, I was just twelve years old at the time and I had managed to get into a cinema on a crafty day off school I am not sure what I was expecting but lets just say I was surprised, a little scared but most of all excited and intrigued. Charlton Heston was marvellous as the cynical Taylor an astronaut who with a crew of three others two male and one female had crashed landed in a lake on what they thought was an alien planet sometime in the future. They had been put into a deep sleep and on impact realised that the Female member of the party had passed away, they escape from the space craft and start to explore the inhospitable terrain which is predominately desert they eventually find a green area and take advantage of fresh running water to refresh themselves and bathe, whilst doing so however they become aware that they are not alone on the planet and have their clothes and also their scientific apparatus stolen they give chase but it is too late the apparatus is smashed and they see that the inhabitants of the planet are human like but are mute. Taylor thinks it is not a bad thing as if this is the best that the planet has to offer it wont be long before they will be running the place. But he could not be more wrong, an ominous sounding cry is heard and the mute humans begin to panic and run, not knowing what is wrong the three astronauts do the same, running in the same directions, but from what or whom? It is not long before the watching audience and the astronauts find out and from that moment on the film is a rollercoaster ride in a topsy turvy world where talking intelligent apes are the masters and primitive humans are reduced to being guinea pigs for surgeons or target practise for the ape army. Taylor is injured in the hunt and as a result looses his voice after being wounded in the throat by an ape bullet.

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So the ape elders are not aware that he is different from the others, he becomes close to one of the mute females Nova, played by the beautiful Linda Harrison, and is also befriended by two doctors who just happen to be chimpanzees, Zira and Cornelius, played by Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowall, who were most convincing in their respective roles. The cast list is quite impressive, with Maurice Evans, James Whitmore and James Daly with superb direction from film maker Franklin J Schaffner an entertaining screenplay by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling that was adapted from the writings of Pierre Boulle and produced by Arthur P Jacobs, with that highly original neo avante garde score by Jerry Goldsmith and convincing make up created by John Chambers. Released by 20th century fox it was to be the first of five movies in the first series and also spawned the TV series and an animated series. It was a compulsive motion picture that is not only visually outstanding and intelligently constructed but also sent chills down ones spine when it eventually reached the final scene which along with the sight of the ape on horseback must be one of cinemas most iconic scenes. The sight of the statue of liberty or at least part of the statue rising out of the beach as Taylor makes his getaway with Nova is an imposing and memorable one and one could say it is shocking also as Taylor realises he is actually back on earth back home to the place that he was so desperately trying to get away from, the upside down planet ruled by apes is his planet destroyed by war or some disaster.


The second film in the ape series was BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES, personally I still prefer the first movie in the series to any of the sequels, but BENEATH was still a good sequel and in many ways I think it would have probably been better to stop here rather than go on into the silliness and embarrassments that were to be included in ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES which was the third in the series. BENEATH was filled with action as we saw the apes preparing for war with the surviving humans who had made their home in the subterranean world beneath the area that the apes referred to as THE FORBIDDEN ZONE. The humans were mutants disfigured by a nuclear war and wore masks to cover these afflictions, they possessed the ability to make communication by thought rather than speech although they did resort to speech when they had to, for example when communicating with lesser beings. The film starred James Franciscus as Brent an astronaut who just happens to land in the same area as Taylor after being sent on a rescue mission from earth to find out what had happened to Taylor and his crew, Heston made an appearance in the movie but was seen at the beginning and also at the finale.


It is actually Brent that discovers the mutants first and also discovers that they have taken Taylor prisoner but also realises that these mutants worship a god that comes in the form of an atomic bomb. The situation worsens between the apes and their sworn enemies the mutants and the ape army invades the forbidden zone. The ape leaders pushing their soldiers onwards into a battle that no one can win. In the final scenes of the movie Brent is killed by the apes and Taylor is wounded but manages with his dying action to basically push the button and sets off the bomb which destroys the planet. The musical score for BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES was the work of composer Leonard Rosenman, and in some ways was similar to that of Jerry Goldsmith’s work on its predecessor by this I mean it was original and in many ways experimental or modern sounding, Rosenman at times blending certain phrases from Goldsmith’s original work into his own, the composer relying on musical sounds and dramatic action sounding cues rather than anything that was melodic. Nevertheless the end result was rewarding as his score went hand in hand with the action and scenarios that were unfolding on screen. Goldsmith was asked to return to score the second movie but was busy working on PATTON-LUST FOR GLORY. There are for me two outstanding pieces within the score, the lumbering and powerfully unsettling MARCH OF THE APES which accompanies the ape army on their journey from ape city to the barren wastelands of the forbidden zone and then onto the underground city of the mutants. Plus there is also the ingenious and discordant sounding MASS OF THE BOMB which although somewhat offbeat and bizarre was still a stroke of genius.

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The soundtrack was originally released on AMOS records at the time of the films release but was only available as an import from the USA, it was a recording that also contained dialogue, and in fact like many soundtracks that were released at that time was a re-recording of the music which had been adapted or arranged for an LP release, so for example THE MARCH OF THE APES sounded very different from the original version that we had heard in the movie, but beggars cant be choosers as they say and we had to be contented with that until the original score was issued many years later on FSM, a release that not only contained the original score but also had the tracks from the LP release with dialogue, so everyone was happy I guess? The re-recording for the LP release featured a number of the days leading musicians these included Carol Kaye and Paul Beaver who was a pioneer of the moog synth. The part of General Ursus in BENEATH was originally offered to Orson Welles, but he turned it down as he did not want to spend all his time in make up and a mask, the part eventually went to James Gregory. Also the part of Cornelius in BENEATH was played by actor David Watson as Roddy McDowall was unavailable.

Beneath The Planet Of The Apes

Ok now onto the third movie in the series and probably the one I like the least in the cycle. ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES was farcical an attempt to bring the apes to earth and into the 20th century, Zira and Cornelius accompanied by another chimpanzee Dr Milo (Sal Mineo), land on a beach in the United States (where else). They have taken off from their planet in Taylor’s space ship and see their world destroyed as they go into space, somehow they manage to go back in time to earth and anyway it all gets very silly, very confusing and also well I lost interest after about thirty minutes and the only reason I stayed to watch it was to hear Jerry Goldsmith’s score, which contained elements of his original APES score but elements which he had infused with something more akin to his soundtracks for the FLINT films.


Electric guitar enhancing and leading jazz influenced cues going side by side with dramatic and action led cues to create a score that I think outshines the film for which it was written. I suppose if you put the Ape movies into something that resembled chronological order it would begin with ESCAPE, then continue with, CONQUEST, BATTLE then PLANET and end with BENEATH at least I think that’s right. Roddy McDowall returned to the series for ESCAPE and reprised his role as Cornelius but at the end of ESCAPE we see both Zira and Cornelius killed and also their newly born baby (Milo) murdered, but all is not as it seems as the baby has unbeknown to the authorities been swapped and given to a circus owner Armando (Ricardo Montalban) to bring up. The film ends with the image of the young primate but with the soundtrack filled with the cooing of a human baby. Which informs the watching audience this is certainly not the last in the series.


In CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, baby Milo has grown and has also become Caesar, actor Roddy McDowall took on the role his character discovering mankind’s inhumanity and mistreatment of many life forms that shared planet earth in particular their cruelty and mistreatment of primates, who supposedly resembled man the most. The film was in my opinion probably the most savage episode of the series and showed humans and apes literally battling it out for the planet.


The music was written by Tom Scott who although primarily known for jazz and jazz fusion produced a serviceable score for the movie, even if the producers did utilise a cue from Jerry Goldsmith’s PLANET OF THE APES at the end of the movie. CONQUEST’S plot is one that has been touched upon more recently in RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, and although it is not a straight remake of CONQUEST it contains many of that movies themes and scenarios. The final instalment of the first ape series is BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES. Directed by J. lee Thompson and released in 1973, it stars Roddy McDowall, Paul Williams, Natalie Trundy and John Huston. Again one can draw comparisons between this and the second in the new series of the ape films DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES but as with CONQUEST and RISE it is not a direct re-make.


Composer Leonard Rosenman returned for this final instalment, and provided once again a serviceable soundtrack but one that was very similar to his previous outing on BENEATH, largely action fuelled and dramatic rather than melodic. BATTLE is set ten years after the events that we witnessed in CONQUEST and Caesar has taken command and has managed to get humans and apes to live in some sort of harmony, but elements of the ape community led by a hawkish General and also some humans are set against Caesars plans and plot to start a war. Love it or hate it the first ape series is an entertaining one and has as I have already said spawned a TV series numerous comic books, animated series and also a rebooted series of the ape stories. Just on a personal note for me the first film in the series from 1968, remains the best and also for me contains the most original and memorable score.



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Dwarfing the mightiest, Towering over the Greatest, this was the tag line that I remember for ZULU, and it is 51 years ago that the movie opened to excited audiences in the UK in the January of 1964. Hailed as the greatest British war movie ever made, the film is a classic in every sense of that words meaning, it set Michael Caine on the road to stardom and further established Stanley Baker as the iconic British actor that we all now know and love of course Baker also co-produced the film. I wonder what Baker would have made of the success and also the longevity of the film if he were alive today. Although essentially flawed historically in the storyline department, ZULU still attracted the audiences and I am sure if it were to be re-released today in cinemas it would still pack em in. It was a great adventure movie I suppose the stuff that boys dreams are made of, brave soldiers defending what is thought to be a hopeless position against overwhelming odds but in the end triumphing and managing to hold out. 4,000 Zulu warriors made their way to the mission station at Rorkes Drift on the Buffalo river in Natal Colony South Africa, to basically wipe it out, they aimed to kill the British garrison that was there, a garrison of just over 150 men many of whom were sick.

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It was to be the second victory of the Zulu army or so they thought, the first being the massacre of 1,500 British soldiers on the slopes of the mountain Isandlwana on that morning. Lord Chelmsford had made a fatal mistake and thinking that he was fighting an inferior trained force decided to split his column, leaving one half camped on the mountainside whilst he took the remaining force up country towards the royal kraal of Ulundi, this proved to be one of the biggest military blunders in the history of Great Britain. In fact the battle at Rorkes drift would not have taken place if it were not for the insubordination of the Zulu Kings half Brother, who decided after pursuing survivors from Isandlwana that it would be a good idea to take his impis of warriors over the river into natal and attack the British at the mission station, the Zulu King Cetshwayo had forbidden his army to invade Natal.

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The film was a success no doubt of that but there were many historical blunders in the screenplay, some of which were basically an insult to the memory of both the British and the Zulus. Henry hook for example was a disciplined and model soldier and after the battle became a sergeant, but in the movie was depicted as a lazy good for nothing who had been taken into the army because he was a thief, he was also depicted as drunk, when in real life Hook was teetotal, the performance by James Booth although being an entertaining one for the purpose of the storyline, was totally inaccurate and at the premiere of the movie in London the real life daughter of Henry hook walked out of the cinema in disgust at the films depiction of her Father.

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The colour sergeant Frank Bourne, portrayed by Nigel Green and a popular mainstay of the cast, was also incorrect, Green’s character came across as a seasoned veteran of numerous campaigns with years of experience, in reality Bourne was just 24 years of age in fact he was the youngest colour sergeant at the time in the British army, his subordinates often referring to him as “THE KID”. In the movie the character displayed a number of medals on his tunic, this too was fictitious as he would not have been allowed to do so. After the battle Bourne was offered a commission but because he lacked the money necessary to be a commissioned officer he refused it, but eleven years later he did accept the commission, Bourne was the last surviving member of the garrison at Rorkes Drift and became a full Colonel, before his death which was in 1945. The song MEN OF HARLECH that was used in the movie was also incorrect, in fact at the time of the battle the regiment although based in Brecon was not technically a Welsh regiment, it was the 24th but attached to the 2nd Warwickshire, regiment of foot. They did not become The South Wales Borderers until three years after the battle in 1881. The song did eventually become the regiments song, but at the time of the Zulu war their regimental song was THE WARWICKSHIRE LAD, and of course there was no battlefield singing contest between the British and the Zulus. William Allen who was a corporal and in the movie depicted as a model soldier had in fact been demoted from sergeant for drunkenness just prior to the battle. Corporal Christian Ferdinand Scheiss who was attached to the Natal native contingent was depicted like Colour sergeant Bourne as a seasoned Zulu fighter in the movie despatching a number of the attacking warriors even though he was himself injured, in fact Scheiss was just 22 at the time of the battle. So if the movie was to be re-made nowadays with all the PC that is around maybe it would be a very different tale that it would tell. One thing that remains unblemished and still as fresh and vibrant as the first time I heard it is John Barry’s magnificent score, which although short in its duration is probably the film score that set the composer on the road to becoming one of the worlds leading film music composers. Yes he had already achieved success with the James Bond movies DR NO and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, but with Zulu we saw another side to Barry, he took traditional Zulu stamps or dances and arranged them converting them into a score that was dramatic, exciting and in many ways as savage as the action that was taking place on screen. The composer very cleverly used his score sparingly, but each time the music was utilised it underlined and elevated the scenes superbly.

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Zulu was my second soundtrack LP, it was released on the Ember record label and was on sale for the princely sum of 39 shillings and 6 pence which in today’s money would be just under two pounds I guess, with the A side being occupied by Barry’s epic score and the B side of the album being taken up by the composers take on some of the other Zulu stamps and dances which he had arranged and given an upbeat sound which was not dissimilar to some of the hits he had enjoyed with THE JOHN BARRY SEVEN it was an essential purchase. Although the movie was historically incorrect in places, it is still a classic film and one which has endured the test of time, an epic production the like of which I do not think we will see again.

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Philippe Jakko began his musical career as a composer of Ballets and also writing music for the theatre, he has also an impressive list of hit songs to his name. As well as being a gifted composer he also is an accomplished musician and conductor. So why have we not really heard much of his music until now? Maybe we just have not been looking or listening hard enough. My first encounter with his music came last year(2014) when I heard his score for ALLIES after this I was recommended to listen to his music for the film QUE D’AMOUR which was directed by Valerie Donzelli in 2013, what struck me immediately was the maturity and also the inventiveness of his writing on this particular project, his gift for melody and also his ability to create moving and haunting thematic material is stunning and obvious. The score for QUE D’AMOUR is in many ways similar to the style that fellow French composer Georges Delerue employed on a number of his film scores, but in fact there is so much more to the style and also the sound that Jakko has created for this soundtrack. I love the way that the composer combines strings with woodwind and also delicately adds harpsichord, vibes and piano in places to augment and infuse a certain fragility to the proceedings. There is also a definite nod or homage to Delerue in track number 17, FINAL ALLA DELERUE which evokes the style of the great French composer especially when he collaborated with filmmakers such as Francois Truffaut and Jean Luc Godard, there is a Baroque style present and also one that is filled to overflowing with simple but affecting writing. The compact disc opens with the free spirited and exuberant composition, RUE DE LA PAIX, strings build and introduce to the listener a pleasant and slightly up-tempo piece performed by the aforementioned strings that are later joined and supported by wistful sounding flute that is interspersed with delicate and subtle flourishes from the harpsichord. It is a brief but enjoyable piece that sets the scene wonderfully for the remainder of Jakko,s score, tantalising string lines are combined throughout the work with t times melancholy sounding woods and underlined perfectly by childlike xylophone. This is a score that you should own a triumph a delight and I hope that there will be many more to come from this highly talented and inventive composer.