RELEASED ON BEAT RECORDS IN DECEMBER 2013.
Released in 1983, the action drama, LE RUFFIAN was directed by Jose Giovanni, and had in its principal roles Lino Ventura,(Aldo) Claudia Cardinale, (La Baronne), Bernard Girardeau (Gerard), Pierre Frag (John) and Beatrix Van Til (Elenore). Aldo works along with a handful of other workers in a Canadian gold mine which is situated in a remote area of the countryside. The mine is attacked by a band of vicious bandits who kill all of the workers at the mine with the exception of Aldo and two native American workers who are Brothers. Aldo and the two Brothers go after the bandits and manage to kill them off and relieve them of the gold that they have stolen. The three then decide to split the gold into equal shares, but Aldo soon realizes that his two so called allies intend to keep the gold for them selves. Aldo escapes with the two large trunks of gold and whilst transporting it down river in a canoe runs into some rapids and to his dismay looses his prize to the rivers turbulent waters. Unperturbed by this set back Aldo enlists the assistance of friend and his wife and also a third friend with the aim of retrieving the gold from the fast running waters of the river. He also has the help of La Baronne (Claudia Cardinale) who also provides a welcome slice of love interest, the unlikely group of adventurers then set about salvaging the gold but after eventually doing so are faced with more problems in the form of the two native American Indians who have returned to claim what they say is theirs, plus by this time there is another party involved who is making a claim to the gold. LE RUFFIAN is an interesting and entertaining movie, and although its plot is far from original and at times seems to be long winded in getting to its point it is still worth watching, even if it is only for the incredible scenery photographed by Jean Paul Schwartz which acts as a backdrop for the films story line. At times one can see certain similarities between LE RUFFIAN and films such as THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE plus at times it has a look and also a feel to it that is not dissimilar to DELIVERANCE and although it is an effective adventure/drama it is more a movie about friendship and explores the theory about there being honour amongst thieves. It posses strong Italian Western flavours within its storyline which is a genre of movies that director Giovanni has been influenced by throughout his career and this style has manifested itself in a number of the directors projects.
LE RUFFIAN contained an excellent musical score by Italian film music Master Ennio Morricone, the soundtrack was released originally on a ten track long playing record and then in 2004 an expanded edition of the score was issued by GDM on compact disc, this version however very soon became out of print and deleted from the catalogue. The music that the Maestro composed for the movie is in many ways fairly typical of the music he was providing for soundtracks during this period of his career, however LE RUFFIAN contains certain affiliations and connections with Morricone’s western scores from the late 1960,s through to the 1970,s there are a number of references to his past works from the western genre within the score and in particular manifest themselves within the track entitled WESTERN, the composer utilizing aggressive strumming guitars in the same fashion as he did in DEATH RIDES A HORSE and to a degree OCCHIO ALLA PENNA. The uneasy sounding guitars creating an atmosphere that is tense and unpredictable. Plus we can hear a sinister sounding banjo that is underlined by piano which acts as support to the guitars and also at the same time become a background for a fairly wild violin solo, the Maestro adds to the mix pipes which although melodic attach a greater depth and urgency to the proceedings. Again the Maestro had previously put this style of scoring to effective use within movies such as A SKYFUL OF STARS FOR A ROOF and to a lesser extent in his music for LIFES TOUGH THAT’S PROVIDENCE and TWO MULES FOR SISTER SARA, the style achieved being both melodic and aggressive and having a certain rawness in its overall impact. But above all there is the stylish and distinct harmonica performance of Franco De Gemini, which is present throughout the work itself and again this is more prevailing in the track WESTERN, although this is an obvious parody of previous Morricone themes the effect as well as being nostalgic is stunning and highly effective. The opening theme for the movie is played over the scene of an aeroplane coming into land on a lake and even at this stage the western score influence can also be heard, (or at least what we now perceive as western music because of the immense influence of Ennio Morricone). The theme although rather upbeat and even jaunty is a caricature of the THEY CALL ME NOBODY theme and also has a number of quirks of orchestration that Morricone had first demonstrated in scores such as THE GENIUS for example.
Musical genius, talented performer and fellow Maestro Franco De Gemini features predominately within the score and his unique and highly original harmonica performances are at the core of the soundtrack, Morricone building the remainder of the score around this central and unifying component, effectively making De Gemini‘s flawless performances the foundation on which the remainder of the score rests and takes its lead from. The score for LE RUFFIAN consists of a sprinkling of low key jazz influenced interludes and also includes its fair share of dramatic undertones that are complimented and enhanced by a scattering of easy listening styled flourishes, these fundamentals are all woven together by the ingenious musical dexterity of Morricone. This latest edition of the LE RUFFIAN soundtrack is a fitting tribute to the artistry of Franco De Gemini and also a salute to the influential musical expertise and enormous talent of Ennio Morricone.
Released in 1972, SI PUO FARE MOLTO CON SETTE DONNE is I suppose fairly typical of many scores for Italian movies from this period. It has a good mixture of strong and vibrant themes which contain dramatic, romantic and jazz influenced styles, the haunting melodies are clearly linked to what has become categorized as lounge music maybe even easy listening, however this is a film score that contains many differing styles within its running time and the significant thing is that the music is the work of Franco De Gemini, many of us connect him with being just a performer, which is totally incorrect, for one Franco De Gemini was never Just a performer he was an excellent musician who was flawless and polished in every performance he created and second, Franco was a Maestro in his own right a composer and an arranger of great talent. The music for me evokes the sound that was achieved by Armando Trovajoli on his wonderful SEVEN GOLDEN MEN score, Hammond organ grooves along at a heady pace backed by electric guitar and choir with jaunty sounding percussion laying down an infectious backing track that is impossible not to get hooked on. Then there are two versions of a delightful song, one in English performed by Melody, and the other in Italian vocals courtesy of M.Michelangeli, COS’E AMORE or WHAT IS THIS LOVE is a pleasant little ditty, very easy going and at times put me in mind of the Bergman’s SUGAR IN THE RAIN from STILETTO. We are also treated to instrumental versions of the song, which are performed in the main by the string section which is enhanced by light percussion and harpsichord flourishes supported by choir and punctuated by woodwind and not forgetting the masterful harmonica of De Gemini. Franco De Gemini has written a score that will certainly delight any connoisseur of Italian or Euro film scores as many of the musical trademarks from this genre of scores are present and are used more than effectively by De Gemini. I love the way in which he combines strings and harpsichord (shades of Morricone) and also the way he makes effective use of jazz compositions to create party moods and fast paced chase music complete with the distinct vocalising of Il Cantori Moderni, this I think is most prominent in track number 6, CHEOPS AND NEFERTITI. SI PUO FARE MOLTO CON 7 DONNE, was a fairly low budget crime caper with comedic and sexual undertones, the thriller made effective use of its Egyptian location and although maybe not the finest moment of Italian cinema was an entertaining romp. The soundtrack I am confident will be returned to many times after your first encounter with it, please check it out.
BEAT RECORDS. CDCR120.
Musical legend Maestro Franco De Gemini has passed away today, the world is now a poorer place, rest in Peace Maestro, and thank you for so many musical moments of excellence…Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,at such a sad time…
Musical leggenda Maestro Franco De Gemini è morto oggi, il mondo è oggi un luogo più povero, riposa in pace Maestro, e grazie per tanti momenti musicali di eccellenza … I nostri pensieri e preghiere sono con la sua famiglia, in un tale triste tempo …