Well as the year draws to a close, I suspect that not many will be glad to see the back of 2021 and look forward with some trepidation to the next twelve months of 2022. As per usual there has been the last flurry of new releases and some re-issues in the last throws of this year. And here I present just a handful of mini reviews of these in Soundtrack Supplement Fifty-Eight, which will most certainly be the last entry on Movie Music International this year. Next year what do we have for you? Well, composer interviews hopefully starting with Jeff Grace, as well as archive material from the Silents to Satellite publications as put together and edited by John Williams originally back in the 1990’s, this is a wealth of material, and we are lucky to have permission from John to re-run this featuring the works of so many writers such as Peter D Kent who have sadly departed. I start this Supplement not with a soundtrack, in fact, not with music at all but instead with a book.



Waterloo Making an Epic- The spectacular behind-the-scenes story of a movie colossus which is by author Simon Lewis. This is a highly desirable work and one which is totally engrossing once you begin to read. It is an in depth meticulously, exhaustively, researched item that is a beautifully written account of the making of the 1970 movie Waterloo, and I have to say it is one of the best books I have read that deals with the production of a movie. Waterloo, was I think unfairly criticized when it was released, but as the years have rolled by the film has attained something of a loyal following and even maybe has achieved a cult status amongst film connoisseurs throughout the world. Its cast was and remains impressive even if sadly many of its stars are now no longer with us. It is something that you should most certainly investigate as once you begin you will not want to put it down. Available from the publisher and via Amazon. It is a thing of beauty and a rich source of information. Highly recommended.   
From the battlefield of Waterloo to the music of composer Harry Manfredini who is a composer I think is sorely underrated, and underused. It was more than four decades ago that Manfredini first stepped into the film music arena with his atmospheric music for Friday the 13th, which ultimately extended to a series of ten. I have always loved his score for Deep Star Six, and enjoyed his work on House, but it will be forever his Friday the 13th that the composer will be associated with. La la Land records in the USA have released the composers signature score with extra cues and remixed and remastered the score using tapes discovered in the Paramount vaults.

The soundtrack is if you forgive the pun a haunting musical affair, with the composer utilizing brass and voices to great effect, he also underlines and bolsters these elements with strings and creates sinister and chilling nuances with breathy gasps that are like icy echoing whispers that establish a sense of the malevolent and accompany the killer in the movie, but  even without the images make one’s skin crawl as well as purveying an atmosphere of menace.  Friday The 13TH– The Ultimate Cut, is available from La La Land Records. It is package well and includes brilliant liner notes by Brian Satterwhite.

Lots of new and entertaining shows are cropping up on the likes of Netflix, Apple, Now, Hulu and Disney plus these days, one such recent production is Hawkeye, which is a sequel of sorts to the events of Avengers Endgame. The music for the series is the work of composer Christophe Beck who has teamed up once again with Michael Paraskos to create a solid and infectious sounding score. The composing duo joined forces on other movies such as Ant Man and The Wasp and Wandavision amongst others. There is also an additional music credit on Hawkeye which goes to Tyler Westen and Jake Monaco. The series which is a six-episode production is I think one of Marvels best efforts thus far, it balances action with comedy and has plenty of moments that are filled with melancholy and emotion.

The score is also fast paced and varied, with the theme for the series standing out as being suitably anthem like and perfect for super-heroes and crime fighters. The composition is written for Strings and brass predominantly oozes that inspiring and rich patriotic aura that we associate with so many other characters from the Marvel studios. Recommended.

Don’t Look Up is one of those movies that you will either love or hate, I just could not get into it and found it annoying, aggravating, and downright stupid. But maybe that was the point of it all? Who knows or cares? I will I swear never sit through this again, it is a waste of celluloid and a waste of the services and talents of so many actors and technicians who worked on this waste of time and space. Leonardo Di Caprio for me is annoying at the best of times, so maybe I should not even have sat and watched the film? The music I must admit I did not even notice, why? Well because I was too busy getting wound up about the movie.

I do know that the soundtrack was scattered with various songs (what they were I do not know and again I don’t care) and the orchestral score was by Nicholas Brittel who is a talented composer. But even he could not add anything to this production, and certainly did not distract me from loathing the film. Maybe the score is a rewarding listen away from the images, I do not know yet, as not been there simply because the movie just stressed me out so much.

Avoid this film for your own sanity. 

From something that we will never speak of again to something more worthwhile and rewarding in the form of composer George Kallis and his score for the Russian movie The Last Warrior: Emissary of Darkness. Which is in a word Excellent, this is the third n the series thus far the previous two films also being scored by the highly talented Kallis. I just love these movies, pure fantasy, escapism, and adventure, (and boy don’t we need that these days) and the music penned by George Kallis is rich, luxurious, mystical, and magical.

This latest work is no exception and contains robust and rigorous sounding themes that are filled with action and commanding melodies, the composer also treats us to lavish and lush thematic material that can I think be compared with the sound we associate with the golden age of Hollywood, it is for most of its duration symphonic, grandiose, and relentless but also contains intimate and fragile nuances and passages that weave in and out bringing a charming and affecting persona to the work.

The composer also makes wonderful use of choir and soprano adding an ethereal mood to the proceedings. What a great way to end a year that has been a difficult one, with this an uplifting, vibrant, and inspiring score filled with both dark and light colours, and an abundance of textures and sounds.  I totally and without reservation recommend that you add this to your collection Now.

Iranian composer Amir Kolookpour has written some of the most affecting music I have heard in a while, the music is not from one but three scores that have been released, two being available on digital platforms from Movie Score Media and the third also on streaming platforms from Reality Bytes. The scores in question are Son-Mother, Woodgirls-A Duet for a Dream and the superbly touching and emotive There is No Evil, but I can say that all three are outstanding with the composer creating effective and affecting compositions that seem to come direct from the heart.

They all have to them a achingly beautiful and arresting style and sound, the composer employing strings and woods to fashion poignant and delicate tone poems that are not just melodic and mesmerizing but have to them a alluring and haunting aura. Its hard to say which of the scores is more ingratiating or emotionally charged than the other as all have qualities of their own as well as a collective sound and style that is the obvious musical fingerprint of the composer shining through each of them. In the cue Mother from Son-Mother there is a somber but at the same time highly emotive sound purveyed via use of strings and a cello solo performance which although brief soon establishes the fragility and the poignancy of the composition. The same can be said for There is No Evil, which in its opening cue and title track is wonderfully thematic and filled with a rich and almost luxurious style with strings taking the lead to fashion a light, romantic and warm piece.  The mood alters within the next track however, Escape part 1, is rather a stark and ominous piece and opens with a lone percussive beat, the composer then adds more percussion as the track builds and becomes more urgent, gaining pace and becoming more up-beat and having an increasing tempo to convey tension and drama. The cue is formed solely from percussive instrumentation, which is highly affecting in creating the required ambience.  Track number three If I, is also affecting with the composer realizing an atmosphere that is filled with apprehension but at the same time remaining melodic.

The track On the road, is performed by solo woodwind, the sound achieved has to it a loneliness and conjures up a deep emotional mood. The composers score for Wood girls A Duet for a Dream is too superbly written, and like the other two works totally consuming and a delight to listen to.

The opening cue Wood girls I felt had certain affiliations with the theme from the French movie, Jean De Florette by Jean Claude Petit, it has that neo classical but quirky appeal. All three of the composer’s scores are available now so please do go check them out as soon as you can. I feel he is a composer we will be hearing a lot more of in the not-too-distant future, at least I hope that is the case.

Richard Robbins.

As in other Soundtrack Supplements we look back a few years to releases you may have missed or to an individual composer. Richard Robbins has always been a composer I have admired, known mainly for his work on the films of Merchant/Ivory, Robbins sadly passed away in the November of 2012. However, he left behind him a wealth of beautiful music, and I just wanted to mention a few of his scores to maybe jog your memory or encourage you to check them out at some point if you are not already familiar with them or his music. I always thought of Robbins as an American Richard Rodney Bennet, his music always eloquent and rewarding. 

One of the obvious titles to select must be his music for A Room with A View, from 1986, the composer utilizing the music of Puccini as a foundation for his original work. It was this score that was my first encounter with the composer and straight away I was smitten. The score like the movie is stunning and beautiful, enchanting phrases and fragile nuances frequent the work, and punctuate and support the film superbly. Then there is Heat and Dust, The Bostonians, Howards End, Remains of the Day, The Golden Bowl, Jefferson in Paris, and Cotton Mary which I confess along with A Room with A View is one of my favourite scores from the composer.

His list of credits is vast, his music being wonderfully inspiring. It will be the tenth anniversary of his passing in November 2022, so maybe take time to listen and fully appreciate the genius of this American born composer. His style was varied, his sound delicate but always effective, his music brought a greater emotion and impact to any movie he scored.

Japanese composer Shin’ichiro Ikebe who worked on Kurosawa’s Rhapsody in August and others has written an interesting score for Nobutora, which is a period dramain which Ikebe combines more conventional symphonic styles with that of traditional Japanese instrumentation, the combination makes for a rewarding listen, the composer creating a tense and dramatic soundtrack that also has within it’s make up lilting and beautiful interludes performed by solo cello, woodwind, and strings. Worth a listen, available on digital platforms.

2021 has been a varied year for film music, and there have been a lot of nice surprises. Here is a list of scores I felt were outstanding in the class of 2021 and if I have missed any I apologize. The Reckoning by Christopher Drake, Traces of Madness by Riccardo Marchese, Freaks Out by Michele Braga, Nona et ses Filles by Philippe Jakko, Jean d’arc of the North by Raymond Enoksen, Tale of Sleeping Giants by Panu Aaltio, Nightmare Alley by Nathan Johnson, Benedetta by Anne Dudley, Knutby by Andreas Tengblad, The Kings Man by Dominic Lewis and Matthew Margeson,

A Boy Called Christmas by Dario Marianelli, L’Affaire Bovary by Maximilien Mathevon, Star Trek-Prodigy by Nami Melumad, Snakehead, by Roman Moilino Dunn, The Mating Game by Tom Howe, Le Chateau Du Tarot by Andrea Farri, A Classic Horror Story by Massimiliano Mechelli, Last Night in Soho by Steven Price, and Locke and Key by Torin Borrowdale,

I am dreading awards season because the bar is set so high with just the few titles I have mentioned.

La Befana vien di notte 2 – Le origini is a fairy tale with a difference, involving witches and witchcraft, which although can be seen as having quite grownup events and occurrences can structure a narrative easily understood by children, so the world of the mystical, magical, and impossible still represents a completely open and fully available universe.  Sounds interesting don’t you think, what is more interesting is the score by Italian composer Michele Braga, (Freaks Out). His music on this occasion is a little different stylistically from Freaks out, it is more grandiose if that is possible and maybe more Hollywood leaning in its overall sound. Which is no way a bad thing, the music is romantic and mystical, impish, and quirky, plus there are some sweeping and luxurious sounding interludes that are impressive to say the least, in many ways this is similar to the style of composers such as John Williams, the late James Horner, and Alan Silvestri, containing lavish and lush themes that tantalise and enthral.

But at the same time being simple and affecting. I love this score, it has everything one could ask for vibrant and melodic themes, cheeky and comedic passages and full-on commanding action pieces, strings and brass are the mainstay of the work, ably punctuated by percussion whilst being driven and further supported using choir. It’s a wonderous and sumptuous score and one that you should really add to your collection, romantic, luscious, and highly entertaining. Available on digital platforms, so what are you waiting for? recommended.

And that as they say is it for this year, I wish you health and happiness and a landslide of soundtrack releases, Happy New Year ………


Time for another Soundtrack Supplement and probably the last one of 2021. A year that has seen many fine film scores and numerous TV soundtracks, it was also a year when the streaming channels such as Netflix, Apple etc, all seemed to step up a gear and start engaging composers to write high quality scores for their respective shows, series, and movies. But before we go any further, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS, and I hope that we all have a better 2022.


Mother Android.

Hulu TV have also produced many good films and programme’s, sadly because this is not available in the UK yet, we do miss out on them. One movie that is now streaming is Mother Android, a sci-fi thriller which is filled with drama and tension. I enjoyed the movie (thanks to Hulu and their screener) and because it is still streaming, in fact it only premiered on Friday the 18thDecember, I won’t spoil things for you. I also enjoyed the score and was lucky enough to have a review copy sent to me, whether the soundtrack will get a release I am not sure, I suppose it depends on the film and how well it does. The music is by composing duo Michelle Birsky and Kevin Olken Henthorn, (My Interview with them is coming on FSM ONLINE in January 2022) who have created a subdued but at the same time quite powerful soundtrack.

Michelle Birsky and Kevin Olken Henthorn,

It is mostly realized via electronic instrumentation, but they add a mood of intimacy with guitar at certain points within the score. They also utilize unconventional sounds which are created by items that they apparently found in a kitchen whilst on a road trip across country in the States. It’s certainly an inventive work, and one that supports the storyline superbly. As I say there seems to be no plans for a CD release yet, but a digital one could be on its way via Hollywood records. 

Either way worth a listen even if you have watch, the movie to do this, which is also well worth doing and contains great performances from Chloe Grace Moretz (Hit Girl in the Kick Ass movies) and Algee Smith (Judas and the Black Messiah). It’s co-produced by Matt Reeves who has finished just directing The Batman which is to be released in 2022. Mother Android is a Hulu production directed and written by Mattson Tomlin, who is making his feature film debut as a director.

Anne Kathrin Dern.

Composer Anne Kathrin Dern has written so many great scores many of them for lower budget affairs, but her quality music is always superbly melodic and grandly symphonic, The Claus Family 2 is one of her more recent assignments and her score is truly magical and mesmerizing, sweeping and windswept sounding strings frequent the work and are enhanced and bolstered by choral performances both as in by a choir and solo renditions, woodwinds, percussion and brass also play a major part of the work,  a work which is vibrant and lush sounding, that for me evokes the styles and sounds of Silvestri, Horner, and Williams, think Home Alone meets The Polar Express and add to this the melancholy and mischievous nuances of An American Tale, or even the mystical atmosphere that is heard in Casper, and there you have it a score that sparkles, shimmers and enthralls.

But there is also a haunting and infectious style present that can only be pure Dern, the movie is streaming on Netflix and certainly worth a watch, the music is superbly engaging as is the film with the score being a warm and entertaining entity on its own away from the images. Recommended.  

Another interesting movie is the horror/thriller The Boys from County Hell, which involves a team of road workers trying to survive a night after awakening an ancient Irish vampire from his sleep. The score for the film is by composer Steve Lynch who I think has provided an outstanding soundtrack. It is dramatic and at times verges upon being operatic the composer utilizing strings, brass, and choral sounds to fashion a wonderfully affecting work.

He combines so many textures and musical colours within his score, fusing electronic with more conventional instrumentation to create some chilling and highly dramatic moments. It’s a dark and brooding work in places, but at certain stages purveys a style that could be identified as being from a western as in gunfight music or at least sounds and musical affiliations that resemble it. I found this to be an entertaining score, its vibrant, robust, musical persona adding much to the atmosphere and also depth of the ensuing storyline as it unfolds. Available on digital platforms from those very nice people at Movie Score Media.

Onto another score that I do recommend you at least check out on digital platforms such as Spotify is American Night, which has an atmospheric, menacing, and tense sounding soundtrack courtesy of Marco Beltrami and Ceiri Torjussen, and Buck Saunders. The music is mostly dark and broodingly malevolent, but at times does move into more upbeat and thematic pieces as it progresses and develops. We all know that Beltrami is a master at creating those foreboding, and apprehensive nuances that have frequented and supported past horror, sci- fi, and thrillers.

And the composer has not lost his touch in this department as he demonstrates throughout this work. Along with his collaborators creating, a robust and commanding work for the movie. Released on digital platforms by Movie Score Media.

It’s also Movie Score Media who brings us, Johan Soderqvist’s beautifully crafted score for the movie Betrayed or to give it its original titled Den Storste Forbrytelsen. This is a superb soundtrack and one that every self-respecting film music fan should own. The film which was released last year, focuses upon one Jewish family and their experiences as they are arrested and then deported from the prison camp Berg and their journey down river in a ship to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. It’s an emotive and perplexing watch and the composers score reflects these emotions alongside others such as desperation, frustration, and hope.

The score is an emotional listening experience, the composer providing the movie with music that is sensitively placed, and passionately performed. Strings feature as the foundation and foreground of the score as well as including solo performances on violin, it is a delicately woven work that is overflowing with a plethora of senses and emotions. Please do take the time to check this out. Highly recommended.

The dark and romantic story of Diabolik focuses upon the first meeting between master thief Diabolik and Eva Kant, so I suppose we could say that this is a prequel to Danger Diabolik which was directed by Italian master filmmaker Mario Bava in 1968. The new version of the tale is set in the fictional state of Clerville towards the end of the sixties. Inspector Ginko (Valerio Mastandrea) is on the hunt for the criminal portrayed by Luca Marinelli, attempting to put a stop to his evil plans.

The music is by Pivio and Aldo di Scalzi who have fashioned a varied and up-tempo score, which at times pays homage to the classic sound of Italian spy and thriller movies that were released in the sixties, the music at times having a retro flavour as if it could have been written by Morricone, Nicolai, or Fidenco.

If you are a fan of the sixties sound achieved by Italian composer’s as in pop/jazz sounding pieces fused with big band slanted compositions and full throttle drama, then this will certainly appeal to you, its inventive, interesting, and entertaining, with every track containing something that will attract. I enjoyed it immensely, released on Curci records Italy available via digital platforms. Recommended.

Ils Etaient Dix , (They Were Ten) (2020) is a French made TV series that is a modern-day adaptation of the world’s best-selling detective story (Ten Little Indians, And then there were None) Ten people, five women and five men, are invited to a Luxury Hotel on a Caribbean island. They quickly become aware that they have no way of contacting or reaching anywhere that resembles civilisation or a place where there are people. Why these ten? Well, it soon becomes apparent that all of them have committed murder at some point in their lives.

And they have been gathered there to pay for their crimes. I suppose it is a mix of Fantasy Island, Lost and Poirot. The musical score is incredibly inventive, with composers Anthony D’Amario, and Edouard Rigaudiere providing the twelve-episode series with an innovative and outstanding soundtrack. There is interesting use of voices within all twelve episodes, the music becoming increasingly menacing, and harrowing as the series moves forward and develops. For example, at times the instrumentation can be subtle or sparce with solo piano and woods taking the lead, these are then underlined and given depth by spidery sounding strings or solo violin, with half heard voices that call or whisper, sing and moan. There are like full stops and commas of percussion that punctuate the proceedings which add an even more unsettling aura to the music.

 It is at times a beguiling and almost hypnotic work, there are of course more foreboding and forceful pieces within the soundtrack, but the atmospherics and mood are mostly achieved via the use of less rather than more and the imaginative use of voices.  Which is particularly effective in the track Spectre Suite. It’s a score that I found to be compelling and attractive, but rather unsettling at the same time with very few relaxing interludes, but as I said totally effective and supportive.

See what you think, it’s on digital platforms now. Recommended.

Quartet records in Spain have released the enchanting score for the short O Night Divine, the music is by Alberto Iglesias and is wonderfully thematic and rhythmic. The composer successfully combines electronic, with symphonic and choral textures to create an interesting and also an poignant work in places. Directed by Luca Guadagnino, and written by Michael Mitnick it stars John C Reilly, lex Wolff and Hayley Gates.

The score is sentimental and emotive at times which is demonstrated in the track Lucia meets Santa but also has to it a more edgy and even sombre side to it that occasionally raises its head, solo piano features at times and there is a particularly haunting piece O Night Divine which appears midway through the score, that introduces a vocal of Santa Lucia, the score is available on digital platforms as well as being available from Quartet.

One score and film that did catch my attention was La Panthere Des Neiges,or The Velvet Queen which is a superb documentary. High up on the Tibetan plateau. Amongst unexplored and inaccessible valleys lies one of the last sanctuaries of the wild world, where rare and undiscovered fauna lives. Vincent Munier, one of the world’s most renowned wildlife photographers takes the adventurer and novelist Sylvain Tesson with him on his latest mission. For several weeks, they’ll explore these valleys searching for unique animals and try to spot the snow leopard, one of the rarest and most difficult big cats to approach.

The music is by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, who combine music and vocals to accompany this journey and the images that Munier captures. The score is a calming and spiritual listening experience, Cave performing vocals and co-composing the score. Well worth checking out.

Composer Felipe Ayres has written a haunting score for the movie Private Desert, which is released on Plaza Major records, for me it was the subtly and the intimacy that the music projected that made it even more attractive. The composer realising lilting and touching phrases that are created via electronic instrumentation, but also utilising guitar to great effect. I was somewhat surprised at the impression that this made upon me, its poignant and affecting musical poems being delicate and entertaining. I was reminded of the style of Vangelis from time to time whilst listening to the score. Available on digital platforms.

Spider Man-No Way Home is the latest offering from ever busy Michael Giacchino, and as always, he does not disappoint, its fairly typical super-hero musical material, but its great fun and filled with exciting and powerfully charged compositions. In fact, every track is interesting and entertaining, there is not one cue that I thought I am going to skip this on, there is that epic sound present that we have all become accustomed to in superhero movies, but there is also a handful of cues that have an upbeat almost rock foundation to which the composer adds dramatic sounding strings, brass, and up-tempo percussion. Its not just powerful though as we have the more melodic and melancholy cues present, which Giacchino does so well. Yes, it’s one for your collection.

There seems to be a lot of Lorne Balfe around at the moment, now I am no fan of this composer, as every score I have ever listened to seems to fall short of the mark somehow. But saying this I am rather partial to one of his latest offerings Silent Night, which I thought contained some nice themes. The film is a dark Christmas tale, and stars Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, and Roman Griffin Davies. Nell, (Knightley), Simon (Goode) and their son Art (Griffin Davies) host a yearly Christmas dinner at their country estate for their former school friends and their spouses. It is gradually revealed that there is an imminent environmental catastrophe, and that this dinner will be their last night alive. Balfe’s score is I have to say fantastic and displays that this composer can write quality music for film. I think Silent Night must be one of his best scores if not his best. Available digitally. Whilst there if you are so inclined take a listen to Rumble and Wheel of Time which are also recent works by Balfe.

Quartet re-released Zulu by John Barry a few weeks back, and I did mention the release in a previous Soundtrack Supplement, but I thought I would expand on my thoughts for this pre-Christmas look at soundtrack releases. I am all for re-issues if they contain substantially more music than the original, this however has just over a minute of extra music included, I say just over a minute and new music because it has never been issued before, and when you take into consideration how many re-issues there have been of this soundtrack on various labels, this I suppose we should welcome and be grateful for. The Quartet release contains the soundtrack and the selection of Zulu stamps arranged by Barry for the John Barry Seven, in Mono mixes, then in Stereo mixes, then we have the main title theme without the Richard Burton narration and the VC roll at the end of the movie minus narration, and there are two alternate mixes of Zulu Stamps. (Zulu Stamp and Monkey Feathers). I got this album back in 1964 on Ember, then there was a re-issue in Stereo on vinyl in 1971 and a CD release on Fat Boy records in a box set that also included Four in The Morning, Elizabeth Taylor in London and John Barry plays 007, all of which were originally released on Ember on LPs .followed a few years later Then there were a few more CD re-issues on other labels and Silva Screen released the Stereo mixes of the soundtrack on a CD with various other Barry compositions for film, TV and for vocal artists.

So, I ask the question, do we really need this release, well I for one do not think so, the sound quality on the extra music is not that good to be honest, it has distortion and a chatter on it. I suppose if you do not have the score, it is well worth having as it is one of Barry’s early triumphs and is now regarded a classic. One collector I spoke to about the re-issue referred to it as a cash trap for film music fans. But that is a matter of opinion, because one can always say no, I won’t be buying this.

What I will say is if you already have Zulu the original that is and not any of the re-recordings, (sorry Silva but they are not good) then save your cash to spend on something you don’t already have. As for the extra one minute or so of music, well we have managed without it for over fifty years, haven’t we? And if you are that desperate to hear them well, that’s a good excuse to watch the movie again. (which part are you playing this time)? Also of interest in this recent batch of releases are,

Chere Lea by David Sztanke, Called Upon by Nir Perlman, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by John Paesano, G.Storm by Anthony Chue, L’Invitation by Thomas Cappeau, The Novice by Alex Weston, The Matrix Resurrections by Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer and Segun Akinola’s atmospheric score for 9/11:Inside the Presidents War Room. Check them all out on digital platforms. Happy Holidays and enjoy the music.


NEAL HEFTI circa 1946.

I wonder have you ever stopped and thought about how brilliant composer Neal Hefti was. As a young child, he remembered his family relying on charity during the holidays. He started playing the trumpet in school at the age of eleven, and by high school was spending his summer vacations playing in local territory bands to help his family make ends meet. Born in Hastings Nebraska on October 29th 1922, He grew up close to Omaha, where he was lucky enough to hear bands and trumpet players of the Southwest Territory bands. He was also able to experience the virtuoso playing of several New York jazz musicians that passed through that way on tour.

The composer in later years.

Hefti often said that he was influenced at an early age by the North Omaha scene. He remarked about how impressed he was with the playing of both Harry Edison and Buck Clayton and Dizzy Gillespie when he was with Cab Calloway. All three trumpet players were a great inspiration to Hefti, as was the band leader Count Basie.  Seeing both Gillespie and Basie perform in Omaha, was a pre cursor to him experiencing them again in New York and seeing Gillespie develop his own style of bebop on fifty second street.  In 1939, Hefti, was still at junior North High school in Omaha, and he managed to get a start in music by writing arrangements of vocal ballads for local bands such as Nat Towels band.

Hefti’s first big arrangements for them being Swinging on Lennox Avenue and More Than you Know and a very popular re-working of Anchors Aweigh. A handful of his arrangements were also used by Earl Hines band. In 1941 Hefti was due to graduate from high school but just before he did he was offered the chance to go on tour with the Dick Barry Band, which was something he felt he could not turn down. He travelled with the band to New Jersey, but after just two engagements he was fired because he was unable sight read the music well enough. After being stranded in New Jersey because he had no money Hefti managed to join the Bob Astor band, where he met drummer Shelley Manne, who has on occasion recalled that even at a very young age Hefti was an impressive composer and arranger. But he focused more upon playing trumpet in Astor’s band for a couple of years before turning more to arranging and writing music. An injury forced him to leave the Bob Astor band and for a while he remained in New York, he played with Bobby Byrne in the latter part of 1942 and then with Charlie Barnet for whom he did an arrangement of Skyliner which proved to be a great success. It was during his time in New York that Hefti began to frequent the clubs on 52nd street, when I say frequent, but he never had any money to go into them but often would sneak into the kitchens and talk to the performers whilst at the same time trying to soak up all the new music that he was hearing. It is here that he got know many of the great beboppers.


He left New York and went to Cuba to play with The Les Leiber Rhumba Band, when he returned from Cuba in 1943, he got a place in the Charley Spivak band, and this led him to play in California and whilst there made a band movie. Hefti adored California and decided to try and settle in Los Angeles.  

It was not until the 1960’s that Hefti began to become involved in the writing of film scores, during this time Hefti wrote several memorable scores for films such as Duel at Diablo, Sex and the Single Girl, How to Murder your Wife, The Odd Couple, Synanon, Boeing Boeing, Barefoot in the Park, Lord Love a Duck, and Harlow.

It was also in the 1960’s that the composer/arranger collaborated with Frank Sinatra, on the singers “Sinatra and Swinging Brass” album. Hefti being credited as conductor, arranger on all the recordings twelve tracks. It was also during this period that he wrote the still popular Batman theme for the TV series and contributing to the TV series of The Odd Couple. In which he reprised his already familiar theme.

He received three Grammy Award Nominations for his TV work, and an award for his score to the Batman TV series. After the death of his wife in 1978, Hefti was never the same again, and retired from an active role in music. He passed away on October 11th 2008.



By John Mansell. © 2021.MMI.  

I have always loved the music of Henry Mancini and was thankful that the composer/conductor and arranger released so many albums of what is categorized as essentially easy listening music was but within these albums there were examples of film music and later the composer released a whole bunch of film music compilations, these included the compositions of Mancini and his own take on various themes by other composers. At the time of these albums being released which would have been the early to mid-1970’s, original soundtracks were few and far between and it was rare for a score to be released unless it was a big movie such as Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia or maybe something by Max Steiner and Miklos Rozsa. As in Ben Hur, El Cid, and Gone with The Wind etc. Mancini made film music accessible to fans via his various compilations, one of the most popular I think was his album that included Love Story, and one entitled Z and other film themes, these presented film music to collectors and music fans in the form more mainstream arrangements, and I think Mancini like British composer Ron Goodwin who did a similar series of compilations in the form of Adventure and Excitement on the EMI label helped film music become popular. Of course, there have been many compilations entitled The Best of Henry Mancini, that featured the composer own compositionsbut is there such a collection or indeed a collection big enough to encompass and cover the wealth of this Music smiths’ output, I think not.  

Back in the 1970’s it was hard to find soundtracks as many shops did not stock them, until the emergence of shops such as Harlequin records in London and places such as Soundtrack run by Michael Jones and 58 Dean Street. Owned by Derek. Mancini was always it seemed popular and even today his music lives on whether it be a theme from a TV show or a movie or an arrangement of a pop song, there is so much of his material available as RCA released near on a hundred albums featuring his musical genius. But for a moment try and forget the sweet sounds of Mancini, blank out if you can Moon River, The Pink Panther, and the sad and somewhat lonely sound of the opening theme for The Days of Wine and Roses and look deeper and maybe enter the slightly darker side of Mancini’s music for film and TV. Because if you can do that there are so many classic works and powerful compositions that flowed from his ever-inventive mind.

I mentioned The Days of Wine and Roses, and yes, it is a sweet and sentimental theme that the composer fashioned for the movie, but the movie itself was a serious look at alcoholism, Mancini’s somewhat melancholy theme playing opposites to the storyline of the movie.  The opening faraway sounding horn purveying a fragility, a feeling of desperation, loneliness, and of emptiness. The theme seemed somewhat out of place, but because of its lilting and haunting sound it became even more effective for audiences when watching the events unfolding in the movie. I suppose one of the prime examples of Mancini in dramatic mood is his score for Charade, again the soundtrack contained a syrupy sounding song, but the actual score was filled to overflowing with dramatic and powerful pieces, and even the opening of the title song had to it a sinister atmosphere about it. But the soundtrack when released contained many of the source music cues as opposed to the score, thankfully this was remedied much later when the score was issued in all its glory as part of Universals 100th Anniversary.

In the Aliquippa High School yearbook of 1942 there was an entry from a tutor that spoke of one of the students that attended the school, it read:
“ A true music lover, collects records, and has also written a handful of beautiful themes and compositions. He wishes to continue his music studies and eventually to have his own orchestra”.

The student that this referred to was Henry Mancini. Mancini, was born in Little Italy, which was a neighbourhood located in Cleveland. The young Mancini was brought up in West Aliquippa near the steel town of Pittsburgh. His parents were immigrants and moved to the United States from the Abruzzo region of Italy. It was Mancini’s Father Quinto who was a steelworker that encouraged his son to become involved in music and made him have Piccolo lessons from the age of just eight. From the age of twelve Mancini also began to take lessons for piano and after graduating from High School he attended the Juilliard School of Music in New York, these studies were cut short because Mancini was drafted into the army mid-way through 1943 where he initially served as an infantryman, later in 1944 he transferred to the Army Band and was also present at the liberation of the Mauthausen Gusen concentration camp which was located in the south of Germany. After being demobbed Mancini returned to his music and became a pianist and arranger for the newly re-formed Glenn Miller Band. His career for film music composition however began in 1952 when he was signed up by Universal Pictures and contributed music for some of that studio’s movies that have since attained something of a cult or classic status.

It Came from Outer Space, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Tarantula, (which also included an early acting appearance for Clint Eastwood), This Island Earth, and The Glenn Miller Story. After working for Universal Mancini decided to strike out on his own as an independent composer and soon penned a theme for a television series that endures to this day, Peter Gunn was the first time that the composer worked with filmmaker Blake Edwards and as we all are aware it was not the last time that this creative duo collaborated. Edwards turned to Mancini many times in the ensuing years and their collaborative partnership lasted for thirty-five years, with Mancini scoring films such as The Pink Panther, The Great Race, 10, Experiment in Terror, The Party, Days of Wine and Roses, Victor/Victoria and most notably Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The composer also collaborated with several A listed directors such as Howard Hawks, Stanley Kramer, George Roy Hill, Norman Jewison, Martin Ritt, Stanley Donen, and Vittorio De Sica. The composers score for Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy in 1971 was rejected by the filmmaker and replaced with a soundtrack by Ron Goodwin, the collaboration between Mancini and Hitchcock was said to be frosty at the very least, but I suspect this was more the director than the composer.  And if you examine photos of the scoring sessions, one can see that Mancini was not at ease.

The composer has created wonderfully atmospheric scores for thrillers, horrors, and dramas, and in many of them there was no sign of a sweet little lyric, instead we were treated to commanding and highly dramatic themes and compositions as in Lifeforce (1985), for which Mancini provided a not only powerful but chilling soundtrack, the film itself was not that memorable and it is probably the music that is discussed more than the actual storyline.  

The film had a plot that involved space vampires, probably not the type of movie that Mancini fans would have thought of him scoring, however his robust and highly dramatic opening theme soon became a firm favourite, and as I already said the music that Mancini penned is certainly more memorable than the film itself.

The movie was directed by Tobe Hooper and had an impressive cast that included Frank Finlay, Patrick Stewart, Nicholas Ball, Peter Firth, and Mathilda May. The story starts with the space shuttle Churchill being assigned to observe Halley’s Comet under the command of Colonel Tom Carlsen. They see a strange form attached to the comet and Carlsen goes with a team to investigate. They find three humanoid life forms in caskets, and they transport these to the   Churchill. However, Earth loses contact with the shuttle and the Space Research Centre decides that they must send another spacecraft to search the Churchill. They find the crew dead and the shuttle burnt and one rescue pod missing.

They discover the humanoids and take them back to earth. But soon Dr. Hans Fallada and his team discover that the Space Girl that they have brought to earth is a sort of vampire and drains the life force from people, transforming them into zombies. When the authorities find that Colonel Tom Carlsen has survived, they summon him to explain what happened in the Churchill. Carlsen tells an incredible story about the three aliens, and he teams up with Colonel Colin Caine to save mankind from the evil vampires from space.

So, a fusion of horror and Sci fi, the score was the work of both Mancini and Michael Kamen, with Kamen contributing additional music tracks. It is a powerful score, and the music works so well in the movie as well as being appealing to listen to just as music.

The Night Visitor is a score by Mancini that I cherish. Why? Well because if you were to listen to it and not be told who the composer was, I do not think anyone would be able to guess correctly, it is at various points in its development a complex score, with many atonal textures and colours, Mancini employing low woods, organ, and a slightly off kilter sounding piano that is spidery and chilling at certain points to create a dark and threatening atmosphere, the music being as bleak and icy as the location where the story is set. The central theme however is slightly more melodic, and theme driven which appears throughout in various arrangements, but it’s in no way lilting or emotional, the mood conveyed is apprehensive and tantalisingly shadowy, threatening, and malevolent which proved to be perfect for the movie. Mancini uses synthesiser/organ and harpsichord to great effect to create an eerie, cold, and unsettling atmosphere.

He did arrange the central theme and it appears on the Love Story album but it is far more commercial and melodic than it is presented within the score itself. The film which was directed by Laslo Benedek and starred Max Von Sydow, Trevor Howard, and Liv Ullman.

The film focused upon a convicted murderer named Salem, who after being found guilty is committed to a mental institute, set in Scandinavia, it tells the story of the man’s false conviction for a crime that he did not commit and his revenge on the people who he see’s responsible for him being locked away, venturing out at night from the asylum and exacts his vengeance upon them. The films tag line was “If your skin doesn’t crawl then its on too tight”. And this tag line and the overall mood of the movie was assisted greatly by Mancini’s score. 

arrangement of the Night Visitor them.

Nine years prior to The Night Visitor, Mancini scored the Blake Edwards movie Experiment in Terror, the film, which was a tense thriller starred Glenn Ford and Lee Remick, as a bank teller Kelly Sherwood who arrives home one evening from work to be threatened by a stranger who tells her he will harm both her and her sister if she does not do as he tells her.

 He wants her to carry out a heist at the bank forcing her to take $100,000 otherwise he will kill her sister and then her. Kelly does not see his face but notes he has difficulty breathing as if he is asthmatic. Kelly succeeds in luring the criminal to where FBI agents are waiting. But when her sister is abducted by the stranger, Kelly tries to stay calm to help the FBI to catch the criminal.

At the time of the film’s release 1962, there was a trend to utilise auto harps, which is a type of Zither, that has a series of sprung and padded bars which allow the playing of chords by damping certain strings, it can create a somewhat sinister sound, and this is probably why Mancini decided to use the instrument within his score.  He would be the first film music composer to do so, he used two in the main theme of the movie, one being strummed the other picking out the central theme both being punctuated by a bass electric guitar and augmented via big band influenced brass, romantic but at the same time apprehensive strings and a laid-back jazz slanted percussive backing track. Mancini experimented with the instrument and found the sound that he wanted was realised by the strings of the Auto Harp being stroked with a pick, its sound is in many ways similar to the cymbalom and at times it is rather stark sounding or malevolent.

The score also included a variety of musical styles with source music tracks leaning towards a big band sound and then there was a jazz or ragtime sounding piano piece that accompanied a silent movie chase sequence. The composer would also utilise the auto harp sound in other scores such as the John Wayne film Hatari in the same year, this time combining it with percussion and brass. Back to 1958 for the next example of Mancini in dramatic mood for the Orson Welles thriller Touch of Evil in which Mancini combined dark orchestral colours and styles with jazz influenced compositions.

The result was a score that still ranks as one of his best. The film which was set on the Mexican border, was a dark affair and Mancini’s music underlined and mirrored the brooding and moody atmosphere, the composer utilised the Universal International Orchestra for the score but also had accomplished west coast jazz musicians brought in to bolster the performance of the music, these included, Shelly Manne, Ronnie Lang, and Pete Candoli, on drums, saxophone, and trumpet respectively. It was an unusual score because the music for the film was made up in the main of source music cues, with a Latin style big band or at times rock flavour. With the Universal International orchestra being conducted by Joseph Gershenson who had assigned Mancini to score the picture.

Mancini commented on Orson Welles and a Touch of Evil, “Orson Welles had a perception of everything in the film, including the music. He knew. He truly understood film scoring. …Touch of Evil was one of the best things I’ve ever done”.

It was also in 1958 that Mancini worked on the TV series Peter Gunn, which was for Blake Edwards, the show ran from 1958 through to 1961, and the gritty and hard-hitting theme that Mancini wrote for the show was to become one of his signature pieces. Edwards decided that the show should have a jazz influenced soundtrack because the central character hung out in a jazz club.

So, Mancini once again turned to west coast musicians to perform his music, this time they included John Williams who played piano on the soundtrack. The album of the Peter Gunn soundtrack went onto become a gold record for Mancini and led to a recording contract with RCA. It was for this score also that the composer first used bass flutes, which since that day have me a sound that we associate with Mancini.

The soundtrack albums for Peter Gunn were also amongst the first to be recorded in stereo. In 1970 Mancini scored four movies and one TV series, Sunflower, Darlin Lili, The Courtship of Eddies Father (TV), The Molly Maguires, and The Master of the Islands, or The Hawaiians as it was entitled in the United States. The latter two titles called for more dramatic scores but also contained that Mancini sound.

The Molly Maguires particularly stood out I thought, it was and still is a powerful score. With Mancini fashioning traditional sounding Irish melodies and combining these with rich, vibrant, and commanding action cues for the movie. The Hawaiians too contained an adventurous sounding theme but had a few dark and more apprehensive cues as in The Streets of Chinatown and Pineapple Pirates. The movie which starred Charlton Heston, was directed by Tom Gries and based upon the 1959 novel by James A. Michener. It was the sequel to the movie Hawaii which was released in 1966 and scored by Elmer Bernstein. Just as a matter of trivia Bette Midler was in both movies as an extra.

“Day belongs to man, but night is theirs”. 

Is the tag line to the movie Nightwing, as the title suggests a horror movie. Released in 1979 the movie was directed by Arthur Hiller, it was a film that took its inspiration from Jaws and dabbled with the idea of wild animals running amok at the expense of humans. There were a few movies of this persuasion during the 1970’s and 1980’s, which included and Grizzly in 1976, Orca Killer Whale (1977) and The Swarm from 1978. to mention but three. Nightwing, was not a high-profile movie and the cast although good was not particularly in the A list category, British actor David Warner featured as did Nick Mancuso, with appearances by vintage actors such as Strother Martin.

But it was watchable and at times interesting. The plot is pretty run of the mill and involves a colony of vampire bats that are terrorizing a small Indian community in New Mexico. It’s basically a standard “Nature goes berserk” scenario until the end of the movie when there is a twist in the tale that involves the discovery of supernatural forces that are driving the creatures. As always Mancini provided a score that worked well with the film and supported its often-flimsy storyline, again the music is possible better than the movie, but that is I suppose a matter of opinion. Mancini once again fashioned a dark sounding score, that at times was atonal and sinewy but with Mancini there is always a theme that stands out and Nightwing is no exception, because of the setting of the movie the composer provided an ethnic sounding them which was performed via a type of whistling realised on synthesiser, he underlined this with icy sounding strings and apprehensive brass, that themselves were underscored by dark and low string performances that are supported by harp that punctuates the proceedings.

Mancini also enlisted woods thus creating a wonderfully tense ambience but remaining melodic and melancholy at the same time. When you think about the film scores of Henry Mancini one invariably looks to the hit soundtracks with the songs and popular tunes, and the jazz flavoured works that have that infectious aura about them. But as we can clearly see from the few titles I have highlighted, Mancini was more than capable of turning his hand to any genre, dark, light, romantic/comedy, and even musicals.

Henry Mancini

Mancini’s musical expertise was never in doubt by anyone. His music elevated and supported, punctuated, and gave greater impact to scenarios, his music at times was the comedic punchline to so many on screen gags, and at the same time often sent chills down an audience’s spine, it was always appealing within the movies he worked on and satisfying and inspiring away from them.   


The third interview from the From Silent’s to Satellite files.

By John Williams ©1993, Originally published in The Magic of Mancini special Publication.

Transcribed and edited for MMI by John Mansell © 2021.

John Williams.

John can you remember the first time that you worked with Henry Mancini?

John Scott.

Yes very much so, That would have been on Charade. I used to be very unpunctual in fact I was known to be late for sessions so even though I was   excited about working for him  I still managed to be ate and got to the CTS studios and the orchestra was already there, and the session had started. I had to stagger through the mass of musicians, apologize to Henry and then start to play. He was very nice about it, and later came over to me. Because at this time I was a featured player in some of the sessions known for my alto flute playing, he told me that he was also a flute player, so he took my flute and played it straight away, not bad.  


Were there any other films you performed on for him?


I was also on Two for the Road and Arabesque.


Was this around the same time that you began to think of composing film scores yourself?


I think it probably was yes, I know I absolutely took note of everything he did. I would often go into the recording booth and stand at the side. The music as you hear it as you are playing it is lovely but does not mean that much, neither does the film on its own, but when the two come together its absolutely dynamic. I was able to scrutinize his score see how he marked it up, how he used to check to synchronize everything and that was a real break for me in film synchronizing and writing. He really did impress me, I thought he had a tremendous technique.

I must say that he was such a nice person to be with to work with and to work for everyone respected him highly. To be able to take a break and be able to wander up to him and share a cup of tea and talk and feel in a sense like an equal. There were some people you worked with for that appeared to be unapproachable. Therefore, without him knowing he was a great friend. And another very nice thing he did for me when I was starting out writing scores  he would leave me manuscript paper he had not used  after a recording was completed, which used to amount of thick wads, at that time for some reason American manuscript paper was superior to what we had. So to this day I still have Henry Mancini pads that I use to scribble on!


He has a fine sense f melody.


Not only melody, but drama. He is capable of scoring any film and doing it well and also better than most. I think he is one of the greats.