After reviewing the Best Dirk Bogarde Movie Themes collection, I did a bit of searching and found that there is a whole series and more of this type of collection available. Most are on digital platforms but there are a few which are not available in certain countries. What I like about these compilations is that they focus upon specific actors for the most part and include the original tracks from the soundtracks, so we are hearing the music as it was heard many years ago in cinemas. The compilations and some entire soundtracks from movies are released via Canadian label Disques Cinemusique, Initially I saw the soundtracks for Nightmare by Don Banks and Never Let Go by John Barry on their site, by the looks of things they are all digital releases, but don’t quote me on that.
All you do is click on the cover of the soundtrack or compilation you are interested in, and it takes you to Apple music, but saying that some are available on Spotify. I thought I would look at their wares and let you know what delights are in store for us all there. Firstly, I will say that on some of the recordings ie Nightmare there is dialogue and also sound effects, which can be a pain as it’s the music you want and not the effects.
But the compilations from what I have heard seem to be all music like the Dirk Bogarde collection. I Will begin with a collection that they have dedicated to the music of Ron Grainer, and yes it does include his now iconic Dr Who theme from 1963, but there is so much more here to enjoy. Best Early Ron Grainer Movie Themes opens with a selection from TV, which is the jaunty and quirky theme from the British TV show Maigret, which starred actor Rupert Davies in the title role, the show aired in the 1960’s with Grainer’s French flavored music becoming an instant hit with viewers and radio listeners when it was played on the BBC.
The compilation contains ten tracks which are all from films and TV productions from the 1960’s and has a running time of nearly forty minutes. To be honest the sound quality is very good considering that these are the original cues, some fare better than others, but it’s the atmosphere one feels by hearing these original recordings that is priceless, as soon as I heard the opening strains of Maigret and that stereotypical French accordion performance I was back there in front of the black and white TV all ready for bed but being allowed to stay up later as it was a Friday to watch the show. I did not realize at the time that it is probably the likes of Grainer and other composers who created familiar themes for TV that started my attraction to both film and TV music.
The second selection is from The Running Man (no not the Arnie film) but one directed by Carol Reed and starring Laurence Harvey, Lee Remick and Alan Bates, released in 1961, it is a crime thriller which sees a man fake his own death to claim the insurance money after a previous claim has been turned down. The theme for the movie was the work of Grainer but the score was written by William Alwyn.
Grainer’s hard-hitting theme is a mix of jazz styles and dramatic orchestral colours, with vibrant percussion punctuated by woodwind and brass. It is interesting to note that within it we hear a style that will manifest itself in future works by the composer most notably The Prisoner and The Omega Man.
Track number three on this collection is from the 1962 British movie, A Kind of Loving which starred Alan Bates, June Ritchie and Thor Hird. After his girlfriend Ingrid (Ritchie) falls pregnant Vic (Bates) decides that he will marry her but struggles with the changes he has to make to his life and also battles against his overbearing Mother-in-Law (Hird). Directed by John Schlesinger and containing a brilliant screenplay by Willis Hall and Keith Waterhouse, it is looked upon as one of the great British kitchen sink dramas from the 1960’s. Grainer again employed a quirky sounding central theme which was a rather ironic touch as it sounded as if it was more at home in a comedy rather than a serious drama. The film also featured James Bolam and Jack Smethurst who both went on to become familiar faces on British TV in series such as Love thy Neighbour and The Likely Lads. It is Grainer’s Main title theme that is featured on the compilation, which again has links to some of his future more familiar works such as Steptoe and Son. This is an interesting compilation of the music penned by the Australian born Grainer, and it displays wonderfully his adaptability as far as writing for so many different storylines and subject matters. The compilation also includes music from Night Must Fall, The Moon spinners, The Dock Brief, Station Six Sahara, Giants of Steam, Mouse on the Moon and others, I did detect some effects on one of the sections, but this was not too off putting, well worth a listen.
Another compilation in this series is dedicated to the films of actor Rex Harrison. Best Rex Harrison Movie Themes includes musical selections from movies such as Blithe Spirit from 1945, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), Anna and the King of Siam (1946), The Foxes of Harrow (1947), King Richard and the Crusades (1954) plus others, the composer credit list reads like a who’s who in movie music, with the likes of Steiner, Herrmann, Tiomkin, Addinsell, Buttolph, Skinner, and Newman being represented.
The King Richard and the Crusades is particularly impressive as there are two ten-minute suites from Steiner’s brilliant score. We are also treated to music from Cleopatra by Alex North and three selections from the musical My Fair Lady, it is such a varied collection and an entertaining one. The music dates from 1946 as we are taken on a musical journey to the mid 1960’s and the final selection which is Italian composer Riz Ortolani’s masterful and chirpy theme from Anthony Asquith’s The Yellow Rolls Royce (1964).
I think one of the best compilations within this series is Best Gene Tierney Movie Themes, I say best, but I suppose what I mean is that it probably the most varied and also tremendously entertaining. Again, a plethora of composers from Hollywood and England are represented, with David Raksin’s beautifully haunting theme from Laura (1944) included. Plus, his brief but impacting theme from Whirlpool (1949). The collection opens with David Butloph’s music for The Return of Frank James which was in cinemas in 1940, Butloph is also represented on the second selection via his music to the 1941 movie Tobacco Road. Alfred Newman too makes more than one contribution to the collection with his music for Belle Starr from 1941, Son of Fury (1942), Heaven Can Wait (1943), Leave Her to Heaven (1945), Dragonwyke (1946), and The Razor’s Edge also from 1946.
Other composers such as Benjamin Frankel and William Alwyn are also represented with music from the films Night and the City (1950) and Personal Affaire (1953) respectively, with both selections being conducted by Muir Mathieson.
Victor Youngs The Left hand of God from 1955, Leigh Harline’s Main title from Black Widow, and Jerry Fielding’s Advice and Consent also make an appearance. It is a collection overflowing with musical excellence and certainly well worth checking out. Other selections come courtesy of Miklos Rozsa, Sol Kaplan and Cyril Mockridge in the form of Plymouth Adventure, Secret of Convict Lake, Way of the Gaucho and The Wonderful Urge. Please do go to the Disques Cinemusique web site and check out their weighty catalogue. You will I know find something.
Its time again for a look at the latest batch of soundtrack excellence or maybe film score disappointment with soundtrack supplement forty nine. In this latest edition I think I have been a little more selective and gone for quality rather than quantity. We often discuss music for horror movies here at Movie music international, and there are a handful of these within this article, I was saying only the other day who would have thought 20 years ago that the horror film score would have become so popular, remember if you can many years ago struggling to find horror scores and if you were around in the 1960’s and collecting well they were practically non-existent.
The scores were there as in in the movies and the majority of them were good, but record companies and film companies were more than reluctant to even consider releasing them. Thankfully this altered in the late 1970’s and 1980’s and like I say when we look through any new batch of releases, I think the horror score is more than represented. So are you sitting comfortably, is the door locked are you settled then I will begin.
Old, is the latest offering from the master of darkness and suspenseful horror M. Night Shyamalan, the director once again producing a harrowing but at the same time thought provoking piece of cinema. Like in most of his movies the musical score plays an important and an integral part, the score is by Trevor Gureckis, who scored the Apple TV series Servant season one in 2019 and the movie The Goldfinch also in 2019. Gureckis has also worked on season two of Servant this year as well as scoring another movie entitled Voyagers.
The music for Old is nerve jangling and tantalizing, the composer creating some icy and unsettling moments via interesting and inventive instrumentation, but for a movie with a plot like this has I would expect nothing less, it is a score that one has to listen to a few times to be able to take it all in, there is a lot happening here, little nuances, both dark and light popping up here and there, all of which combine to fashion a score that is sheer tension.
It is actually more than just unsettling it somehow makes those hairs on your arms and on the back of your neck react and sends a cold shiver through you, which is what is supposed to do. There are some quieter moments, in which we hear hints of themes and layers of respite, but there always seems to be an underlying sense of terror and uncertainty. Worth a listen and available on digital platforms so why not also check out his other works whilst you are there.
Blood Red Sky is a new Netflix horror, it’s a story about an airplane hijack that has a lot of twists and a final sting in its tail. But I will not divulge anything as you should really see this.
The score is a mix of conventional performances and electronics, the composer Dascha Dauenhauer creating not only dramatic and tense moods but also fashioning affecting and haunting melodies.
This is a varied and vibrant soundtrack, with several interesting sounds included to establish highly atmospheric moments and one which you will certainly not tire of easily. Available via digital platforms.
Cris Tales is a game score and is the work of Tyson Wernli, I found this to be entertaining and contained a wide selection of styles, the composer utilizing symphonic and synthetic to bring to fruition his thematic and pulsating score.
This a charmingly effective work and has to it a sound and style of many of the Japanese composers such as Hisaishi. There is a lightness presence throughout and an abundance of melodious and rewarding interludes present.
Worth adding to the collection. Dos is one of the latest soundtracks to come out of Movie Score Media, music is by Diego Navarro, and I love it, it is simple but at the same time complex with the composer employing cello, vibes and choir to create lilting and emotive tone poems, it is no way overblown or grandiose, but it still makes its mark and has a lasting impression upon its listener. One cannot help but want to listen to this over and over, it is ethereal and at times almost celestial.
Navarro makes effective use of strings managing to bring forth so many romantic and haunting phrases. Yes, this is one for the collection, its on digital platforms.
Dune is soon to be released and after the first big screen incarnation of the story I am hopeful this new version will be better. The score is by Hans Zimmer, (who else). The soundtrack is to be released in three editions or so I understand as the info on it is just as confusing as the story. A few tracks have been released for preview, and I have to say these are impressive so far, yes Impressive and Zimmer in the same sentence.
The composer from what I can hear thus far has written an atmospheric score with nods to music and vocals that sound as if they could be African or Arabic but saying this remember these are just previews, I have listened to, so let’s not get too excited. A full review will appear when the score is released which will probably be before Zimmer’s Bond score.
Staying with sci fi or fantasy, lets nip over to Netflx for their latest series Masters of the Universe Revelation, VOL 1, which contains a great score from the one and only Bear McCreary, this is a composer who I rate highly, each project he becomes involved with benefits highly from his music which always amazes me as you can never pin him down stylistically, and this is no exception to that rule.
His score has everything and I mean everything, upbeat and action filled tracks, regal sounding pieces, anthem like themes, mystery and magic it is superb and I think I did hear references to past He Man music within certain phrases and passages, this is a new score but has to it a sound that is straight out of the glory days of Hollywood, evoking the likes of Goldsmith, Conti, Bernstein etc. Brass, percussion, and strings having the lions share of the work embellished by choral work and real thematic qualities.
Another score for your collection but please check it out first on digital platforms. Animation, adventure, fantasy, and action, well these are the words I would use to describe Trollhunters-Tales of Arcadia, and the music by three composers is just as vibrant and exciting. Jeff Dana, Tim Davies and Alexandre Desplat all make contributions with Desplat providing a fast pace and driving theme for this series that is a Dreamworks production created by Spanish filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, the score is a collection of varied and action paced music, with the occasional entry of a more emotive and melodic piece here and there.
The composers utilizing strong symphonic lines and bolstering and enhancing these with synthetic elements, the score evoked for me memories of the work of Robert Folk when he scored movies such as Beastmaster 2, and The Never-Ending Story 2. There is that kind of magical aura to it, it also has to it a comedic air musically and a proud and superhero type persona. Well worth a listen.
Next is a beautiful score from composer Daniel Hart, The Last Letter From your Lover, is a fragile and delicate work, with so many heartfelt and haunting themes, the composer make excellent use of solo piano with strings and subtle use of woodwind to enhance it thus fashioning a poignant and wonderfully melodic score. I really liked the composers score for A Ghost Story and going back a little way was impressed with his music for Comet in 2015. His music for The Last Letter from your Lover The is exceptional, at times I was reminded of the intricate and touching style of Georges Delerue and the music as penned by the likes of Stelvio Cipriani when he worked on romantic movies. It is emotive and attractive and totally consuming. Wonderful. Well short and sweet this time see you soon.
It is not often that I review a compilation of movie music, mainly because the compilation has sadly become a thing of the past, remember the days when the compilation film theme album reigned, it was an ideal way of sampling styles of music and the central themes for movies so that you could gauge whether you might like the entire score before buying the LP release. It was also an excellent way to introduce people to film music, and compilations were brought by non movie score fans to add variety to their collection. I think United Artists records were very good at this market with their Best of Bond,Best of Francis Lai, Best of Ennio Morricone,Great War film themes and of course those famous Great Western Themes albums. Popular artists such as Henry Mancini, Ron Goodwin and Geoff Love also released a number of film theme compilations on labels such as EMI Studio Two and Phase four, with many of Geoff Love’s recordings being released on the budget label Music for Pleasure. In recent years Silva Screen records in the UK have issued a landslide of compilations but these were mainly re-recordings, some of which were a little shaky to say least. Then came the Tadlow music label issued a more expanded full score series again some of which failed to hit the mark with several collectors, but it is hard to recreate the original sound of many of this now classic film scores.
So, I was pleased to see this compilation which includes the original soundtrack cues from a few of the films of the esteemed and suave, British actor Dirk Bogarde. He was the epitome of what was seen as a British actor and regarded as being in the same class as the likes of David Niven and Sir Laurence Olivier. His films were varied and even controversial at times but always entertaining. My own personal memories of Dirk Bogarde stem from my Mother who was a great fan, and when she began to work in a cinema in Brighton I was often allowed to sit through the movies all day if I so wished. Best Dirk Bogarde Early movie themes, is not only a delight to have and hear but is also I think an important recording and hopefully will be the first of more that might see the light of day with music from his films being included. In a way it is a historical musical recording because it includes pieces from movies that I do not think have been released before in the context of a compilation, some however have seen re-recordings released onto compact disc and now on digital streaming sites, with labels such as Chandos commissioning reconstructions of various sections of the soundtracks. Because of the age of many of the tracks the sound quality is not digitally clean but in my mind this makes it an even more attractive collection as its sometimes distorted (not too badly if I may add) sound evokes those days in the late 1950,s and early 1960,s and of afternoons in the cinema watching Dirk in action on the big screen. The compilation contains nearly fifty minutes of brilliantly melodic and vibrantly robust British movie music with composers such as John Veale and John Wooldridge being represented. Two composers who in my opinion are sadly neglected for all the contributions that they made to world of British film music.
Doreen Carwithen also is represented, and it is a composition from her score for The Boys in Brown from 1949 that opens proceedings, the piece is also credited to Marcus Dodds who I presume was the conductor on this occasion as he was an in demand musical director at the time. All the tracks on the compilation are relatively short but that was the norm in the 1940.s and 1950,s.
The Boys in Brown -Main title opens the recording, and it is somewhat typical of the sound achieved during this period, with Carwithen’s dramatic and urgent sounding theme setting the scene for much of what is to follow on this recording, these were the days when Main Titles more or less straight away established the style and also the direction and pace in which the score would go, at times with the remainder of the score being modeled upon the thematic properties established within it.
Carwithen began working on films during the 1940,s` her first assignment being a documentary entitled This Modern Age in 1946. She was responsible for writing the music for just a section of the film as other composers such as Malcolm Arnold were involved on the project. The Boys in Brown was her first full feature film score and she continued to work steadily writing music for documentaries, shorts and movies through to the mid -1950,s her style is comparable to that of Sir William Walton, Elizabeth Lutyens, and her husband William Alwyn. who worked on numerous movies. She could easily turn her hand to any genre and write music that was, dramatic, romantic and filled with adventurous sounding themes, her compositions as well as being supportive of the films she worked on were also melodic and contained a rich musical persona.
Track number two comes from the 1950 movie, The Woman in Question, music courtesy of John Wooldridge. The composer was I think probably better known for his so called “Serious” music as in compositions for concert hall performance, but his contributions to the film music world were important and always interesting. The opening theme is included here which has a slightly apprehensive and somewhat foreboding mood to it, written for brass, strings, and percussion, it opens filled with drama but alters direction slightly becoming more thematic and less daunting. There is also a brief passage of music edited into the cue which I assume is the end or finale music but this is momentary and fades quickly. John Wooldridge, was a pupil of Sibelius and a contemporary and friend of Sir William Walton. He spent the second world war in Bomber Command flying mainly Mosquito aircraft. His promising career as a composer was brought to a sudden end when he died tragically in a car accident at the age of 47 in 1958. He married the actress Margarette Scott in 1948 and was the father of the actress Susan Wooldridge and the director Hugh Wooldridge.
His first scoring assignment was for the 1947 movie Fame is the Spur which starred Michael Redgrave and was directed by Roy Boulting. Other film music credits included Appointment in London which was released in 1953 and also starred Dirk Bogarde, Edward My Son, (1949) and Prescription for Murder (1958).
Track number three from the compilation is the work of composer Benjamin Frankel, So Long at the Fair was released in 1950. The film featured the likes of Jean Simmons, David Tomlinson, Andre Morell, and Honor Blackman alongside Bogarde, with the music for the movie being performed by Mantovani and his orchestra.
Again, Frankel was probably better known for his concert hall compositions, and would go on in later years to create a stunning score for the 1961 Hammer horror The Curse of the Werewolf, in which he employed a complex fashion of composing that was Avant Garde and referred to as the twelve tone method, which he had perfected whilst writing his classical music. The composer went on to work on the Hollywood blockbuster The Battle of The Bulge amongst others.
His musical score for So Long at the Fair is a far cry from those disjointed and lumbering sounds being a lighter affair compared with the style that we now mostly associate with the composer. The drama mystery was successful at the box office and co-directed by Terence Fisher and Antony Darnborough.
Track number three is taken from the 1954 movie The Sleeping Tiger, the movie marked the first British feature film to be directed by filmmaker Joseph Losey, after his encounter during the McCarthy era in the United States that would see many actors, composers and directors placed on the blacklist.. The music for this tense film noir was written by Malcolm Arnold and supervised and conducted by Muir Mathieson. In 1954 Arnold worked on eight movies and two documentaries, The Sleeping Tiger however was a dramatic and jazz influenced work, and one would struggle to identify it as being the work of Arnold if you were not already aware.
We go to 1955 for the next selection and to Simba, which was a propaganda movie presented in the guise of a drama focusing upon events in East Africa and a British family who get caught up in the Mau Mau uprising. Directed by Brian Desmond Hurst, the music is by Francis Chagrin, who had become popular via his scores for movies such as Law and Disorder (1940), Helter Skelter (1949) and in the same year as Simba, The Colditz Story. Born in Romania to Jewish parents and at their insistence studied for an engineering degree in Zurich while secretly studying at that city’s music conservatory. The composer graduated in 1928 but when his family failed to support his musical ambitions, he decided to leave home and moved to Paris where he adopted his new, French-sounding name.
By playing in nightclubs and cafes and writing popular songs, he funded himself through two years, from 1933, at the Ecole Normale, where his teachers included Paul Dukas and Nadia Boulanger, he settled in England in 1936. The music for Simba was not only dramatic and driving but the composer added ethnic sounding percussion for effect which purveyed a sense of unease, there is a style present within the composer’s work for this movie that evokes the musical leaning of Clifton Parker and although brief it is a commanding and effective section.
Composer Clifton Parker is represented here also in section number fifteen H.M.S. Defiant which was released in 1962.
The score’s Main Title being included, this is a proud and sweeping soundtrack, filled with brass, percussion and lush strings, a beautifully crafted soundtrack conducted by Muir Mathieson. Selection number six is from the hilarious British comedy Doctor at Sea, the film which was released sixty-six years ago this year is a classic piece of comic cinema and boasts a score by Bruce Montgomery. Again, here we have a pairing of the opening theme and the end titles that have been edited together and although not ideal it does give one an idea of how quirky, fast paced and entertaining this score was. Montgomery was born on October 2, 1921 in Chesham Bios, Buckinghamshire, England as Robert Bruce Montgomery.
He is known, for his work on the early Carry On, movies plus he also enjoyed a career as a successful author writing Under the pseudonym Edmund Crispin, he penned a series of mystery novels and short stories featuring the character Gervase Fen. Also, as Edmund Crispin, he edited several collections of science fiction short stories.
The first, “Best SF” (1955), had a great influence on acceptance of the Sci Fi genre as serious writing in Britain. His Gervase Fen novel “Frequent Hearses” takes place in and around a British movie studio, and contains many insider jokes about actors, directors, musicians, and others in the business. Towards the end of his career his alcoholism became worse, which resulted in him not being able to meet deadlines and complete scores for movies, it was at this point that he enlisted the assistance of fellow composer Eric Rogers and Carry On producer Peter Thomas decided that Rogers should be the main composer for the films. Bruce Montgomery, passed away on September 15, 1978 in West Hampstead, London, England, which was a sad ending to a career that could have been even greater. Apart from his music for the Carry On, movies the composer wrote the scores to numerous other pictures, which included, The Brides of Fu Manchu and Doctor at Large (1957) for example which is also represented within this collection (track number nine).
Moving to a film that is possibly most associated with Dirk Bogarde, The Spanish Gardener from 1956, filmed in Catalonia and also at Pinewood studios in England, the movie was directed by Phillip Leacock, and based upon the novel by author A.J.Cronin. The movie featured Michael Horden and Jon Whitely alongside Bogarde and had a delightful score by John Veale. It was not only charming but contained a sense of grandeur in places, and had a style and sound to it that is comparable with that of composer Miklos Rozsa when he was scoring films for Alexander Korda in England.
The score was conducted by Muir Mathieson, and it is the Main Theme that is representing the powerful score within this collection. Born John Douglas Louis Veale in Bromley Kent on June 15th,1922, composer John Veale, is again one of the driving and original forces within British concert hall and film music who is at times sadly overlooked. Veale attended the Dragon School in Oxford from 1930 through to 1936, and then later went to Repton school which was in Derbyshire from 1936 up until 1940. After this Veale attended The Corpus Christi College in Oxford until 1942 where he studied History. During the second world war, Veale spent his war service in the Education Corps, and during this time he continued to study music unofficially with Egon Wellesz and had lessons from Sir Thomas Armstrong in harmony and counterpoint. It was during this period that the composer had his first works performed and completed his first symphony.
It was a piece of music from a production entitled Loves Labours Lost (1947) that began Veale’s involvement in writing for films, the composer sent a copy of his score for the production to Muir Mathieson, who after seeing it asked Veale to write music for The Crown Film Unit, it was via this assignment that Veale met conductor John Hollingsworth, who was assistant to Sir Malcolm Sargent. Veale then became friends and moved in musical circles with many of the most respected composers of that period, Elizabeth Lutyens, William Walton, Humphrey Searle, Constant Lambert, Alan Rawsthorne and poets and writers such as Dylan Thomas, Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis. As the 1960,s dawned Veale and composers like him who wrote romantic and richly thematic music seemed to fall out of favour, the music fans at that time opting for the pop music revolution or the more Avant Garde and modern sounding music. With American movies starting to monopolize cinema audience, s attention. The decades of the 60, s and the 70, s were not kind to the composer. But interest in his music was rekindled when during the 1980, s and the 1990, s with Chandos records releasing a few of his non film music works. John Veale may not have written the scores to many movies, but the few he did write were impressive and filled with rich and lush material. He battled prostate cancer for many years finally having to leave Oxford and return to Bromley where he resided in a care home until he passed away on November 16th, 2006.
1957, saw the release of Ill Met by Moonlight, the American edition of the movie was nearly fifteen minutes shorter than the British and European releases, it was to be the last production by the writing and producing team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Dirk Bogarde stars with a cast that features Marius Goring, David Oxley, and Cyril Cusack, the screenplay for the film was based upon 1950 book Ill Met by Moonlight :The Abduction of General Kreipe by W. Stanley Moss, which is a true account of events during the author’s service on the Greek island of Crete during World War II when he was an agent of the Special Operations Executive (SOE).
The score is by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis and was one of his first forays into writing music for film. It is in no way remotely in the same style of his later works such as Zorba the Greek (1964) but does share some of the attributes of his atmospheric score for Phaedra (1962) being mysterious and apprehensive. We are treated to a nearly four-minute suite of music from the score, and it is one of the highlights of this collection. Of course, Theodorakis went onto become one of Greece’s most prominent composers and won an Oscar for his score for the politically outspoken movie Z in 1969.
The Doctor’s Dilemma is a 1958 British drama film directed by Anthony Asquith starring Leslie Caron and Dirk Bogarde, with performances from Alistair Sim, and Robert Morley. It is based on the 1906 play by George Bernard Shaw and is a satire about the behaviour of the medical profession and its focus upon the treatment of wealthy patients. It contrasts their world of imperfect science, always bumping up against unknowns, with the endless spheres of romance, beauty and caring. The music is by Hungarian born composer Joseph Kosma and there is also a credit for British composer Charles Williams, who on this occasion was the musical director. Kosma was born in 1905 and passed away in 1969, His career scoring films began in 1936 and between then and 1969 he scored over one hundred and forty motion pictures. The Main credit’s theme is included on the compilation.
To the 1960’s for the next selection, and an Italian/American co-production The Angel Wore Red or to give it the Italian title, La Sposa Bella, this compelling war drama starring Ava Gardner and Dirk Bogarde and was a co-production between MGM and Titanus films. Directed by Nunnally Johnson and produced by Goffredo Lombardo with a screenplay by the director based upon the 1953 novel The Fair Bride by Bruce Marshall. The powerful and Hispanic sounding cue included on the compilation is credited to Hollywood composer Bronislaw Kaper, but the Italian release of the film was scored by Italian Maestro Angelo Francesco Lavagnino, this was often done with co-productions MGM probably thinking that the Italian score was not suitable for American audiences, and the Italian studio thinking the same way about the American score for Italian cinema goers. The track representing the score on this recording is a commanding one, filled with pride and bravado, with solo classical guitar being employed giving it a more Spanish flavour. Kaper went onto score Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) and The Way West (1967), (plus many more big Hollywood movies). Lavagnino also scored hundreds of feature films as well as writing music for shorts and documentaries, he was originally chosen to score A Fistful of Dollars for Sergio Leone in 1963 but his music was thought to be too traditional sounding and replaced by the now iconic Ennio Morricone soundtrack.
This a compilation that you should own as well as the films I have mentioned there are selections from Victim, The Minbenders, The Servant, Song Without End, The Singer not the Song, and the delightfully captivating music of French composer Georges Delerue from Our Mother’s House. This is a wonderful look back at not just the music from the films of Dirk Bogarde, and the composers who fashioned it, but also it is a truly emotional way of remembering this wonderful actors presence and his flawless performances. Recommended.
I would like to add that this is released by DisquesCinémusique, who have also released a number of other compilations that contain music from the films of well known actors, these include James Mason, John Mills, James Stewart, Cary Grant, Peter Sellers and so many more, you can take a look at their catalogue here. disquescinemusique.com. I also see they have a number of compilations dedicated to various composers and a Don Banks Hammer score entitled Nightmare, some of the recordings do include effects and dialogue, but for the most part they are uninterrupted music, the quality is not highly polished or indeed flawless, but like the Dirk Bogarde compilation it is good to hear the original recordings. I did look through the catalogue and most of the titles are available on digital platforms.
The Netflix trilogy is already creating a lot of interest and the musical scores for this trio of movies is also generating lots of interest and rightly so. I think out of the three I do prefer part three 1666, this is both for storyline and musically. The score for part three in my mind is more varied and has to it a much more alluring persona. The composers create dark atmospheres as one would expect with such a subject matter but at the same time there is a real beauty to many of the compositions. I am amazed just how much music there is in part three, and it is all exceptional and excellent. Marco Beltrami, Anna Drubich, and Marcus Trumpp have created a score that is filled with edgy and malevolent sounds but have also fashioned an equal amount of themes that are lavishly romantic and hauntingly emotive.
I have already touched upon parts one and two of this trilogy, in soundtrack supplement where I sensed a homage to Goldsmith especially his soundtracks for the Omen movies, Part three seems more of an original sounding work the composers utilizing voices to great effect, these either being dark and guttural or in the majority of cases sounding ethereal, uplifting, hopeful and near celestial. There is also an intimacy present a richness and a poignancy that is conveyed within the music and also in the way it is orchestrated. This could possibly be one of the best scores to arrive in 2021, The music is highly inventive but at the same moment familiar, and I see this as also possibly one of Beltrami’s best works, and yes I do realize this is a collaboration of three talents, each one of them contributing sections and notions, but within it I do hear some of the old Beltrami trademarks as in Goode Ending which could be straight out of Scream or The Faculty.
The jagged brass, use of anvil, the driving strings with percussion and more rasping brass flourishes being unleashed is terrific. A high octane score with heart is the way I would describe this, its also a score you must own, Sarah’s Fate is a cue that I think stands out if that at all is possible in a soundtrack that just oozes class and excellence, the cue is initial dramatic as in action led but soon alters and becomes a heartrending and powerful piece for strings, choir, Soprano, and solo violin, it’s one of those tracks that when you listen to it you get goosebumps and can’t believe the quality of the music and the emotion that is stirring. Many critics have commented that this is the weakest in the trilogy story wise, but I have to say musically it is the best. Do not bypass this just go and get it Now and be amazed totally.
I remember seeing Somewhere in Time when it was first released in 1980 and its subsequent airings on TV soon after its theatrical release. Which I could never understand because I always thought it was a good movie and did not deserve to be relegated to the small screen so soon. In fact on one occasion the film was on TV and something went wrong with the broadcast resulting in no vision just sound, but at least we could still hear the glorious music. The film is an enchanting and highly emotive romance which is built around a story of time travel. It was not just the outstanding and imaginative story that straight away intrigued me but also the locations, acting, and photography helmed by filmmaker Jeannot Szwarc.
The musical score by John Barry captured the essence of the movie underlining its scenarios, and totally mesmerising the watching audience adding a greater sense of emotion and romance to the relationship between the two central characters played by Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve. The simple romanticism that is conveyed within the composer’s eloquent music is probably why it was so overwhelmingly appealing and successful. Barry’s, poignant and alluring themes punctuating and perfectly embellishing the movie. Adding depth, colours and textures to the already affecting tale. The film also utilised Rachmaninov’s variation of a theme of Paganini which is a piece of music that became an integral part of the storyline, and a connection between the central characters. It is probably true to say that it is this that Barry took his cue from to create such a romantic and lush sounding work for the movie.
But then the composer himself fashioned the haunting and beautiful Somewhere in Time theme which acted as both a counterpoint and compliment to the Rachmaninov piece. It is a score that is literally brimming with attractive and heartrending themes. The score stands as one of the composers best from this period. With cues such as Is He the One, The Old Woman, A Day Together, Rowing, The Grand Hotel etc all possessing that unmistakable John Barry sound and having to them a style that is beyond heartbreakingly effective.
It was originally released on an MCA LP record, but I do recall several collectors not being that happy with the sound quality, a CD appeared wen many of the labels were scrambling to get out as many of their recordings onto the little shiny discs, but the sound quality still was not that good. A re-recording of the score was released by Varese Sarabande, which was a faithful rendition of the John Barry score. Performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under the baton of the composer John Debney, it contained nineteen cues from the soundtrack. The latest edition of the score which is released on La La Land records has thirty-three tracks, but not all are score cues, some are source music and others are alternate versions of compositions used in the film including the music box version of the Rachmaninov piece and a variation on the scores central theme arranged by Barry sounding as if it was destined for one of his many compilations.
The sound quality is I think exceptionally good, it has a brighter and sharper sound compared with the MCA original releases of the score. It is a soundtrack that for me never becomes tiring. I always manage to be amazed by the artistry of John Barry as a whole and with Somewhere in Time his gift for melody and his versatility shines even more brightly with each listen, the composer purveying fragility, and a delicate and lilting mood that lightly touches and graces the images on screen the gossamer like tone poems becoming wisps and airs that ingratiate and astound, attaching themselves to the characters, the locations and the story. Recommended.
FILM AND TELEVISION MUSIC FROM AROUND THE WORLD. WITH MOVIE REVIEWS AND NEWS FROM ALL OVER THE GLOBE.