This TV Movie has received some rather cutting and unkind reviews, mainly aimed at the performances of Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen. For me, Owen is not one of the finest actors on this earth and most of his performances are rather wooden and un-animated. But I am surprised at Kidman coming in for criticism as I thought she had matured of late and grown as an actress. But it is not the credentials of these actors or the quality of the movie I am here to discuss, but the music score composed by Javier Navarette. I first encountered Navarette via his haunting score for THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE in 2001 and then again his equally memorable music for PAN’S LABYRINTH. In fact since the release of those films I have always gone out of my way to find and listen to the composer’s soundtracks. Recently this Spanish composer has been engaged on Hollywood and UK projects such as WRATH OF THE TITANS, INKHEART, CRACKS and WARRIORS WAY and has been thrown into the gaze of film music collectors worldwide. I am not sure if this is always a good thing (working in Hollywood that is) but at least we get to hear more of Navarette’s eloquent and powerful music. The score for HEMINGWAY AND GELLHORN is adventurous and full blooded with much drama and passion but is also emotive and enticingly beautiful. There are a number of vocals featured throughout the score, the most prominent being “Ay Carmela” performed by both Antoine Closi and Rolando Alarcon. The melody from this particular song is also utilized within the score in varying arrangements. The songs are very listenable and, combined with the orchestral score, go to make up a rewarding listening experience. Navarette’s powerful score has a commanding presence making it difficult to listen to without being stirred within; his proud and noble themes conveying an atmosphere filled with fervour and patriotism. One of my favourite cues is “The Joy of Irrigation”; a martial sounding piece – or at least this is the way it begins – in fact it reminded me of Maurice Jarre’s quirky but poignant march from RYAN’S DAUGHTER. It has that same kind of aura to it but with a Spanish flavour interwoven into the body of the piece. Trumpet and strings lead with timpani supporting and woodwind being added and punctuating, making for a rousing and entertaining cue. This is one of the better scores of this year. It is packed with rich thematic material and exudes zeal and splendour.
Digitmovies is certainly one of those labels that is unswerving with it’s releases, this particular score was issued a while back, but for some reason I omitted to review it, maybe because I thought it was a score that had been in my collection for years on record, and selfishly thought that everyone had heard it or was familiar with it, sadly or at least to my surprise I was told by many collectors that they were not familiar with the title at all. So I thought I would try and make amends now by writing this review. Originally issued back in 1972 on the Cinevox label (lp mdf 33/52), this spaghetti western directed by Michele Lupo, starred Giuliano Gemma and George Eastman. The film was originally destined to be scored by Francesco De Masi, but for some reason he did not complete the assignment, some of the music however that De Masi wrote still survives on a BEAT records compact disc of his western scores. Ferrio’s score is a well written and intelligently orchestrated work, which relies upon the use of the title theme throughout as its core, from this Ferrio builds an original sounding spaghetti western score, which is at times influenced with jazz colours. The central theme is heard at first in the form of a song, LET IT RAIN, LET IT POUR, is performed by Stefan Grossman who also provided the lyrics. This returns in various manifestations within the running duration of the soundtrack, and there is a particularly attractive version of it in track number 5, UN PASSAGGIO PER RED ROCK, where the composer utilizes guitar, strings and harpsichord to create an almost easy going version of the theme, this builds slowly into a fuller version of the composition the strings swelling into a romantic sounding crescendo of sorts bringing the cue to its end where Ferrio adds a saloon piano for effect. As with many of Ferrio,s other western scores, this certainly cannot be pigeon holed or categorized in with spaghetti scores that contain the stock sounds of the genre, there is no whistling, shrieks or soaring wordless female vocals, but say that it still is in my opinion a good candidate for being put into my top ten spaghetti scores. The CD contains 18 cues which are taken from the original LP release, and Digitmovies have added a further 5 bonus tracks, which had been omitted from the LP release. There is some nice choral work on the score from, THE CHILDRENS CHOIR OF RENATO CORTIGLIANI and some amazing guitar playing from Angelo Baroncini. A release well worth purchasing, a must have score.