Tag Archives: Carlo Savina





Whilst on a flight an abstract artist Prince Tancredi gets to know one of the air hostess’s on the plane, the young woman who’s name is Judy. He then asks her to pose for him which she agrees to do. But Judy whilst at the artists studio makes a number of negative remarks about his work, these cutting criticisms lead the artist to begin to question his own work. Judy leaves promising that she will meet with Tancredi which she eventually does. The couple are attracted to each other and enter into a passionate love affair. But things do not go smoothly, and Judy walks out on her lover, Tancredi is crushed by her leaving, but returns to finish her portrait deciding to give it the justice her beauty so richly deserves. He goes in search of Judy to make her aware of the portrait but discovers that she was killed in a car crash on the day that she left him. But the accident happened on her way back to him, because she realised that she truly loved him.

lo tio amo


Released in 1968 LO TIO AMO was directed by well known Italian film maker Antonio Margheriti, and although not a huge success at the box office the film was a fairly appealing and well-made piece of cinema. Composer Carlo Savina provided the soundtrack and created a score that was a collection of laid back, lounge type compositions. The veteran composer/conductor utilising solo guitar, jazz infused passages, sultry clarinet, solo violin. organ and light and airy unassuming strings to fashion a romantic yet tragic sounding work. In many ways the central theme evokes a style that we would normally associate with fellow Italian Maestro Stelvio Cipriani, the use of a lilting piano led theme being the foundation of the score, on which Savina builds adding little nuances throughout that are easy listening flavoured but at the same time contain a luxurious and fully romantic sound. Its not a grand score or one that will necessarily stand out amongst the composer’s other works for cinema, but its worth checking out.

la scuole

As is another Italian score by Savina, from the 1968 comedy LA SCUOLA DELLA VERGINI, this time the composer produced a more up tempo and certainly more pop orientated sounding work although saying this there were a few cues that had to them a more relaxed and romantic sound, some even having a distinct Yiddish style with solo violin taking centre stage. But for the majority of its duration the composer purveyed a style and a sound that was predominantly up-beat and pop driven. With guitar, bass guitar and percussion forming the line up on most of the cues, I suppose its one of those groovy sounding soundtracks from the latter part of the 1960.s that was a fusion between symphonic as in strings, and also a big band more hip sound, that we do tend to associate with the decade of the swinging sixties, Hammond organ to features in many of the tracks and the composer employs a nice jazz piano solo at certain points and a scattering of harpsichord. Overall, it’s not a bad listen.


la sc


But wait theres more, and yes its Savina again, THE KILLER RESERVED NINE SEATS (1974), is a tense thriller murder mystery, a group of friends are invited to visit a mutual friends villa and are shown a theatre there, after a while sinister and strange things begin to happen, but the group of friends then realise they are trapped in the villa, and a killer begins t pick them off one by one.




Again Savina manages to combine thematic material with dramatic or apprehensive styles, and fuses them together to create an effecting score, This is an entertaining listen, the composer utilising breathy sounding woods, haunting delicate harpsichord, and subdued percussive elements that are embellished by strings and punctuated and mirrored by harpsichord, plus there is also effective use of Sitar combined with percussion, Savina not only relays a sense of urgency and of apprehension within the score, but he also creates some beautiful simply thematic material, via organ, solo guitar and piano, again if you are passionate about Italian soundtracks this is a perfect addition to your collection. Recommended.

CARI MOSTRI DEL MARE. (sleeve notes).

Sleeve notes for the Kronos records release, CARI MOSTRI MARE, Available NOW.


Composer Carlo Savina, was born in Turin, Italy on August 29th, 1919, he became one of the most sought after and busiest composers of film and television music in his native Italy and later became respected and much in demand within the rest of Europe and the United States. As a composer Savina worked on numerous movies and was able to easily adapt his style and creative thoughts to cater for any genre of film, he worked on numerous assignments for the cinema which included, romantic comedies, tales of drama and adventure, westerns and historical period pieces as well as thrillers, horror movies, Police dramas and Roman epics. Because of his unique sound and versatility, the composer was able to bring to each project a lushness and melodic perfection that was his own individual musical fingerprint, and this was a style that not only suited and supported the movies that he worked on, but also was appealing as music that could be listened to away from any of the images it was intended to enhance. Savina, also made a name for himself in the role of conductor and arranger and during his career collaborated with many eminent Maestros who penned soundtracks for motion pictures, his career spanned across both what many collectors and film music buffs refer to as the golden and the silver age of film music, he has acted as musical director to, Philippe Sarde (TESS THE TENANT and THE BEAR), Nino Rota (THE GODFATHER, AMACORD, FELLINI ROMA, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and numerous others), Manuel De Sica (THE GARDEN OF FINZI CONTINI) and most notably Miklos Rozsa on the epic score for BEN HUR. Savina, collaborated with Dr Rozsa many times, and worked on the composer’s epic soundtracks for Hollywood produced Biblically slanted blockbusters that were filmed at Cinecitta in Rome. During the 1960, s, Savina was given the full credit as composer on the motion picture EL CID, this was purely for prints that were released in Italy because of certain contractual issues that existed at the time. Savina’s contribution to the world of cinema has been vast and consistently very good and it is at times hard to come to terms with just how many movies this Maestro has been involved with. He scored numerous Spaghetti westerns either as composer or musical director between 1969 and through to the mid 1980’swhen the genre finally started to fall from grace with cinema audiences.


One of the westerns that Savina composed for was COMING AT YA (1981) which was a 3D movie and was basically a vehicle for actor Tony Anthony, the composer’s music outshining the storyline, the images and any acting that might have taken place. The score is still revered and respected by many to this day and is held in high esteem by collectors and critics alike. Savina came from a musical background, his Father played first clarinet in the orchestra of EIAR which at the time was the Italian public radio broadcaster.
As a youngster Savina found himself constantly surrounded by music and began to become increasing interested in music composition, which was something that his parents became aware of, so they decided that he should from an early age begin to take lessons on the violin. He went on to study music at the Music Conservatory Giuseppe Verdi in Turin from where he graduated with diplomas in Violin, Composition, Piano and conducting. In 1945 Savina began to write musical compositions that were utilized for radio in plays and also for background music on other programmes and shows. He then formed his own orchestra and became well known and much in demand. In 1950 the composer began to write music for the cinema and for the next thirty years became one of the most prolific composer conductors involved in movie music. I suppose one could say that Carlo Savina was to Nino Rota what Bruno Nicolai was to Ennio Morricone. Savina often arranging and conducting Rota’s scores and at times writing additional cues for him when he had moved onto another assignment and the film’s producers felt the need for an extra section of film to be scored. Savina also worked with Ennio Morricone, Armando Trovaioli, Stanley Myers, Stephen Sondheim and Mario Nascimbene as arranger or musical director. But there is no doubt whatsoever that Carlo Savina possessed a great talent and was a gifted composer in his own right and during his career worked on over 200 film scores. In 1985 he was the recipient of the David Di Donatello Award for best music, which was for his score to PIZZA CONNECTION. He passed away on June 23rd, 2002.



Bruno Vailati.

An area in which Savina seemed to excel at was the documentary, nowadays I am sure if he were still alive and working would have been very busy writing the scores for the abundance of documentary films that we see on both TV and in the cinema. One such documentary was, CARI MOSTRI DEL MARE or FRIENDLY MONSTERS FROM THE DEEP as it was known outside of Italy which was released in 1977. Directed by, Oceanographer and filmmaker Bruno Vailati who also wrote the screenplay. Vailati, was born on September 2nd, 1919 in Alexandria, Egypt and had a passion for creating these type of documentary movies he was a fearless and adventurous filmmaker who would dive into treacherous waters and explore unchartered seas to bring us rare footage, he worked on many documentaries all of which have garnered a lot of interest. His work as a film producer and writer ranged from 13 one-hour long undersea documentaries titled “Encyclopedia of the Sea,” (which I suppose one can compare to the work of French filmmaker and explorer Jacques Cousteau) to the Italian sword and sandal epic “HERCULES UNCHAINED,”
After graduating from law school at the University of Bologna, Vailati mounted his first film expedition. He travelled to the Red Sea and produced some of the earliest, and at that time the highest quality underwater film footage ever shot. This footage eventually became “The Blue Continent.” Vailati, became known and highly respected as the years rolled forward for his passion and enthusiasm when it came to marine photography. His films, which were made in the main for Italian production companies and sponsors, as well as his own film company, were then sold onto other TV channels and companies and shown throughout the world on public and private TV stations.
In 1954, his “The Blue Continent” was one of two Italian entries at the Venice Film Festival; the other was Federico Fellini’s “La Strada.” As his career progressed the filmmaker, made documentaries in all the worlds seas, and in Italy his movies often attracted more viewers than the so called popular and successful shows on TV. Away from Marine photography and documentaries he worked on, THE GIANT OF MARATHON, THE GOLDEN ARROW, TORPEDO BAY, the aforementioned HERCULES UNCHAINED and a remake of THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD in the early 1960’s. In 1971, Vailati collaborated with fellow filmmaker David L Wolper for a series entitled MEN OF THE SEA, the six-part series of 1-hour documentaries included an episode ANDREA DORIA MINUS 40, which charted Vailati’s exploration of the wreck of an Italian steamship which sank in 1956.
Vailati, passed away in Rome, on February 26th, 1990 after a long battle with cancer, he was 70.

© 2019 John Mansell. Movie Music International.



Released on Digit-movies in 2015, IL TUO DOLCE CORPO DA UCCIDERE or YOUR SWEET BODY TO KILL, was an Italian/Spanish co-production and a movie that just about fits into the ever popular Giallo genre of films that were so popular during the late 1960’s through to the late1980’s. Although many would argue that the Giallo is still alive and doing well today. In my opinion the movie is more of a horror than it is a true Giallo, as there is hardly any gore in fact I think you would miss it if you blinked, and also surprisingly for an Italian movie of this type from this period there is no nudity at all. Directed by Alfredo Brescia and released in 1970. The film tells the story of a husband who becomes obsessed with fantasises about murdering his wife, It, is unfortunate for her that he finds out that She has been having an affair, and finally he kills her. It’s a little disjointed in places, but still makes for a quite enjoyable watch. The movie is aided greatly by a highly atmospheric soundtrack that s the work of the seasoned Italian film music Maestro Carlo Savina. Savina was a composer that worked on many varying genres of film and seemed to be at home in all of them. The score for YOUR SWEET BODY TO KILL in my opinion is one of Savina.s more entertaining works, the composer employing up-beat and vibrant sounding pieces that are more akin to the style and sound of Morricone and Nicolai, when those two great composers worked in this genre. Wordless Female voice is featured throughout, and it gives the work a sultry and at times steaming sound, the vocals adding a seductive and alluring persona to the proceedings. Savina also makes affective use of percussion and organ which at times is sombre and performed as a solo and at other points within the score is supported by an up-tempo pop orientated beat which is infectious and haunting. We are also treated to pleasant sounding Samba’s and jazz numbers in which Savina introduces Hammond organ, harpsichord flourishes, vibes and muted trumpet, the composer creates some laid back pieces for Sax and also clarinet that are easy on the ear and have to them a wonderfully light and entertaining style. There are also several darker cues which of course we would expect in this type of movie, but the composer never seems to go to foreboding which also reflects that the movie does contain comic sequences. Fuzzy electric guitar is featured too add a sense of menace, and this is accompanied by echoing trumpets and punctuated by little nuances from the harpsichord which is further embellished via an underlying percussive presence. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this score and it is one that I would recommend. The Female vocals which I think are performed by Edda are excellent, with piano solo performances also taking centre stage, in many ways I would say that this can be compared to other Italian scores such as THE INSATIABLES by Nicolai, DEATH WALKS AT MIDNIGHT by Ferrio and FEMMINA RIDENS by Cipriani, just to give you an idea. Sound quality is clear and crisp and the CD as with all Digit movies releases is presented well with eye catching front cover art.




Available Now, from Kronos records.


Directed by no less than four film makers, Richard E. Cunha, Gustav Gavrin, Ray Nazzaro and Albert Zugsmith, the movie is an entertaining production and does I have to say sustain an air of drama and tension, but also has an equal amount of lighter moments along the way. Released in the UK as WHEN STRANGERS MEET which was the title of the original novel by Robert Bloomfield on which the films screenplay was based, the movie had the title DOG EAT DOG in the USA and MORTE VESTITA DI DOLLAR in Italy. The score composed and conducted by Carlo Savina is a work that includes several musical styles all of which are rich in melody and filled with drama and vitality. The score is a vibrant and energetic one, the composer combining the big band jazz sound with that of a more luxurious and stylish aura that is linked with many movies that were produced during the 1960, s. For much of its duration the soundtrack leans towards a more traditional jazz style, which is in keeping with the films storyline and the period in which it is set. He composer utilizing to great effect piano, woodwind and at times lush string interludes that are quite grandiose and opulent sounding.

The Maestro also employs a style and sound that is very much akin to the composing style of fellow Italian composers such as Piero Umiliani, Armando Trovaioli and Gianni Ferrio to identify a few. Savina makes effective use of organ solos and introduces and integrates these performances at key points within the work, the sound and style lending much support and atmosphere to the score as well as enhancement to the scenarios unfolding on screen. The use of organ was commonplace in so many Italian soundtracks, the instrumentation adding touches of drama, melancholy and fleeting hints of the sinister, when employed. The opening cue sets the scene perfectly for what we are about to hear, it is a fast-paced swing composition for percussion and brass and although short lived makes an impact immediately. Track two, is a more elaborated version of the opening cue and contains nice muted trumpet performances as well brushed drums and classy sounding piano. Track number three, is more dramatic in its sound and style, the composer employing strings that are supported by both percussive elements and brass, that when combined create a tense and urgent sound. Other cues as CONCERTO ROMANTICO, are quite powerful and emotive, the composer employing solo piano underlined by the string section, which add a certain classical sounding persona to the score. Whereas tracks such as RITMI DI LATTA are pure jazz/swing with vibes and saxophone combining with guitar, piano, percussion, bongos, and bass to purvey a groovy sounding piece, that has an infectious pace and appeal. When listening to this and other scores by the Maestro, it becomes very clear why he was in such demand and how versatile and talented he was.

1.  Swing Frenetico
   2.  Stasi
3.  Concerto Romantico
4.  Ritmi Di Latta
5.  Atmosfera Torbida
6.  Suona Un Organo
7.  Morte Di Un Ladro
8.  Il Dramma
9.  Caccia Spietata
10.  Grottesco
11.  Delitto
12.  Incerto Candore
13.  Agguato ed Assassinio
14.  Atmosfera Sospesa
15.  In Giallo
16.  Ritratto Di Signora
17.  Sospensione

tracks   1-17 The Original LP Program

tracks 18-36 are previously unreleased bonus tracks, available for the first time ever!




Composer Carlo Savina is probably more familiar to collectors of film music as a conductor rather than a composer. The Maestro was musical director on a handful of scores for Miklos Rozsa and also worked with Nino Rota, it was Savina that conducted Rozsa’s rousing music for EL CID and also held the baton for Rota on THE GODFATHER soundtrack. Savina is however a prolific and talented composer in his own right, the Maestro has worked on numerous Italian movies and television productions and has created haunting and memorable soundtracks for, romances, thrillers, epics and westerns he was also particularly active within the genre of comedy films. His music for this particular genre or collective of films worked well because rather than take the head on approach and score a slapstick comedy with riotous sounding madcap themes he would often take a more subdued approach and score away from the actual punch lines or raucous behaviour on screen. Thus creating another level to the scenarios being acted out on screen. LA MOTORIZZATE (THE MOTORIZED WOMAN) was released in 1963 and starred among others the King of Italian comedy movies Toto. The movie was a collection of four stories which were in effect films within a film, all pretty oddball stories but never the less amusing in their own way. The composer has fashioned a pleasing and for the most part a low key score for the movie, there are no large or epic pieces here, it is a jazz influenced work which leans towards the lounge or easy listening areas of music, but nevertheless it is a memorable work with its fair share of more upbeat moments and even hints of romantic interludes at certain points within its duration.


The composer utilising muted trumpet punctuations and solos, Smokey and sensual sounding woodwind that are given support from the string section which are underlined with soft percussion, both of these elements are given further support and are embellished by delicately placed vibes and rhythmic bass lines that not only support but move the music along on an easy airy wave of coolness. Savina creates a sophisticated sounding score which is not in any way complex or hard to digest. LA MOTORIZZATE is a worthwhile purchase and also a score that I am certain will become a favourite for Italian film music collectors, another interesting release from Kronos, worth a listen.