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Notes for the Hammer Vampire film music collection, released on GDI records in 2001 © John Mansell and Marcus Hearne



Bavaria 1910,honeymooning couple Gerald and Mirianne Harcourt are stranded when their motor car runs out of petrol. The Harcourts finding lodging as the only guests in a run down hotel, and accept a dinner invitation from Dr. Ravna, the owner of a nearby chateau. That evening Ravna’s son plays a bewitching piano rhapsody that has a profound effect upon Mirianne. The following day the Harcourt’s return to the chateau to attend a masked ball, but Gerald is drugged. He awakens to find that his wife has vanished and that all her possessions have disappeared from their hotel room. The mysterious stranger Professor Zimmer presents Gerald with the uncomfortable truth: Dr Ravna is the head of an obscene vampiric cult, and he has claimed Mirianne as his latest victim. James Bernards score for THE KISS OF THE VAMPIRE is arguably more impressive than the ground breaking work that the composer carried out when scoring DRACULA for Hammer, this was after all the film that initiated the publics love affair with the various blood suckers that the house of horror would introduce during the years that followed. The score for THE KISS OF THE VAMPIRE combines both virulent and romantic styles, one of the undoubted highlights of the score being the piano piece that is seen to be performed by Ravna’s son, Carl. In later years the composer arranged the popular piece into a concert work entitled VAMPIRE RHAPSODY, and performed a section of it in the closing moments of the 1987 BBC documentary HAMMER THE STUDIO THAT DRIPPED BLOOD.

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“ I decided to give (Carl’s) music a sort of perverted Lisztian flavour” remarked Bernard. John Hollingsworth, Hammer’s musical director at the time, called the piece ‘THE TOOTH CONCERTO’. John was always fun to work with but sadly KISS OF THE VAMPIRE was the last score of mine that he conducted. On KISS OF THE VAMPIRE I was asked to write a sequence of waltzes which wee to be used in the scenes of the masked ball, these had to be in the Viennese style, and also had to be composed in advance of the main score so they could be played whilst filming of the scenes took place. My deadline was tight, so I asked John to get somebody else to work on the orchestration of these. He engaged Douglas Gamley, who not only did a marvellous job on the orchestrations but also performed piano on the score.

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Reincarnated vampire Carmilla Karnstein poses as a debutante called Mircalla and is enrolled at Countess Herritzens exclusive girls’ boarding school. Researching legends associated with the nearby Karnstein Castle gothic storyteller Richard Lestrange falls under Mircalla’a mesmeric spell and tricks his way into a teaching post at the school. Fellow schoolmaster Giles Barton becomes similarly fascinated by the girl, and covers for her when she satisfies her bloodlust by murdering a student. Barton’s research into the occult leads him to believe that Mircalla is Carmilla Karnstein, and when he confronts her about her true identity his suspicions are horribly confirmed.


Composer Harry Robinson gained a reputation at Hammer for being able to score films quickly and efficiently. Robinson had already worked on the 1968 television anthology JOURNEY TO THE UNKNOWN and scored THE VAMPIRE LOVERS IN 1970 by the time Hammer turned to him to work on LUST FOR A VAMPIRE. “ Lets just say that this was not exactly a great movie” recalled the composer. “ Certainly the other two movies within the Karnstein trilogy were for the most part very good, but LUST was the weakest of the three. I regard LUST FOR A VAMPIRE as one of Hammer’s ‘tits and bums’ productions-it relied more upon the uncovering of flesh than the unfolding of the story! Basically worked the same sort of formula on LUST as I had done on THE VAMPIRE LOVERS, although I did attempt to make LUST sound slightly more romantic. I hope I succeeded”. A sense of continuity with THE VAMPIRE LOVERS was further strengthened by the inclusion of music within LUST from its predecessor. “The music budgets were quite minimal at Hammer during this period”. said Robinson. “But we adapted things to suit each individual film. A score could be made to sound grand, even if we were only using , say 30 musicians. I think on LUST I used approximately 50 players, and reduced the numbers as we progressed”. Robinson went onto score the third and final instalment of the Karnstein trilogy, TWINS OF EVIL., and his work on this collection of movies is among the most requested by soundtrack collectors to be released.

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Schettel, mittel-Europe; Anna Mueller leads a young girl to the castle of her lover, Count Mitterhaus. The girl is then murdered by the vampire Count, and professor Mueller gathers together a horde of angry villagers to help him take revenge. Mitterhaus is eventually impaled upon a sharpened stake and curses his assailants; “Your children will die to give me back my life!” Fifteen years later the disease ridden village is in quarantine. A mysterious gypsy woman crosses the blockade, bringing with her the convoy of vehicles that comprise the Circus of Night. While the circus prepares to entertain the local children the gypsy woman who is in reality Anna uncovers the castle crypt, Mitterhaus’s bloody vow is about to be fulfilled. Composer David Whitaker, studied at the Guildhall of Music between 1947 and 1949,and began his career in film music in 1966 when he scored the Jerry Lewis comedy DON’T RAISE THE BRIDGE, LOWER THE RIVER. Although his arranging work has included commissions from such diverse artists as THE ROLLING STONES and LISA STANSFIELD, it is probably true to say that Whitaker is best remembered for his two Hammer horror scores DR JECKYLL AND SISTER HYDE and VAMPIRE CIRCUS. “ After seeing VAMPIRE CIRCUS I decided it needed a big score,” said the composer. “At that time the Hammer formula for an orchestra line up comprised around 120 musicians, and it was really up to the composer how these were utilised. With the guidance from Hammer’s musical director Philip Martell I spread them as I saw fit. I think we used around 60 musicians per session. Phil was quite serious, and although we hit it off very well there weren’t many light moments with him. I do remember however, being rather amused that the vampire at the start of the movie seemed so camp”. Whitaker subsequently scored Hammer’s comedy from 1973 THAT’S YOUR FUNERAL.

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Transylvania 1804,Count Dracula rises from his tomb and assumes the physical form of his Chinese disciple Kah. A century later Professor van Helsing lectures a class of cynical students about the legend of Ping Kuei, a remote village plagued by marauding vampires in golden masks. One of the professors students His Ching takes the story seriously and begs his tutors help in the vanquishing of the creatures. Van Helsing joins his son, Leyland, wealthy widow Vanessa Buren and His Ching on an expedition to the village. They travel with His Ching’s five brothers and his sister, Mai Kwei, all martial arts experts. Following an arduous journey the party arrive at the besieged village, and Vanessa and His Ching die in the ensuing battle. The last remaining vampire kidnaps Mai Kwai and takes her to their temple, where their foul overlord awaits……..

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For James Bernard’s final feature film score for Hammer he fused his recognisable style with traditional Chinese music. The epic results made for a suitably impressive accompaniment to the company’s last vampire movie, and appropriately incorporated cues from Bernard’s score from the 1970 movie TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA. Bernard’s work on this project did not however end with the film score, as the composer recalls. “ I Was asked to compose music for a LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES ALBUM that would contain dialogue from the movie with a narration spoken by Peter Cushing, similar in style to the DRACULA album that had been recorded with Christopher Lee. Phil Martell thought it would be a good idea to include a new theme that would act as the opening section of music, similar to an overture, so I composed some music especially which was used to open and close the record. I chose a Chinese sounding march with lots of crashing cymbals, percussion and brass. Philip Martell conducted the sessions and although the LP was called the original soundtrack recording it actually contained very little of the score from the film”.

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Music notes from the GDI release THE MUMMY. © john Mansell. 1999.

with many thanks to Margaret Reizenstein.
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Composer Franz Reizenstein made his feature film debut with the score for the Hammer films production of THE MUMMY. His score is a sweeping and dramatic, yet remains lush , melodic and romantic.

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The principal theme doubles as a love theme depicting Kharis centuries old affection and infatuation for princess Ananka. Reizenstein reprises the central theme throughout his score arranging it and orchestrating it to suit the mood of the film and create greater depth and give atmosphere to the proceedings. Although it is this central theme that is the heart and soul of Reizenstein’s score, there are a number of musical moments along the way that are equally as stunning and prominent. The scene where the MUMMY is seen smashing its way into John Banning’s room is accompanied by rasping brass which enhances the scene by blaring out over a background of driving strings that is further embellished by the addition of chaotic sounding xylophone. His exciting composition stops abruptly when Banning’s wife Isobel enters the room after hearing the sounds of a struggle, Reizenstein introduces the love theme from his score as Kharis ceases his attack on banning thinking that Isobel is his long lost love Princess Ananka. Kharis then beats a retreat back through the smashed doors of the study and makes off into the darkness. The sense of danger and excitement within this scene is heightened greatly by Eisenstein’s exhilarating score and his masterful approach to the scene and the way in which he places his music. The films climatic scene is another example of image and music fusing to create the correct atmosphere and mood. Kharis returns to Banning’s home intent on killing him. Things however do not go to plan and the Mummy abducts Isobel, pursued by the police, villagers and also Banning the chase comes to an abrupt end at a swamp. Racing timpani and booming percussion accompany Kharis as he enters the swamp carrying Isobel; when the Mummy is shot down the timpani resembles a heart beat that is racing as if it is the heart of Kharis, the music then accompanies his gradual disappearance beneath the swamp, eventually fading away as the Mummy disappears completely.

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Franz Reizenstein was at the height of his musical powers when Hammer films commissioned him to write the score for THE MUMMY. Reizensteins music had its own style and fingerprint, the idiom being unmistakably twentieth century but not avant-garde. Many composers in the first half of the twentieth century became beguiled by the twelve tone series system, but Eisenstein found that the strict system cramped his natural style and he never cared for the tight intellectual music it produced. Reizenstein’s music flowed naturally from melodic ideas and harmonies with which the listener can easily identify. He composed concertos for piano, violin and also cello with orchestras, and two large scale choral works VOICES OF NIGHT and GENESIS. The latter was commissioned for the three choirs festival of 1958,which was held at Hereford Cathedral. The success of VOICES OF THE NIGHT led to the BBC asking Reizenstein to compose the first opera for broadcast on radio which was entitled ANNA KRAUS. This was the British entry for the prestigious Italia Prize. The composer also wrote music for documentary films and incidental music for a number of BBC productions. Shortly after his score for THE MUMMY, Reizenstein wrote the music for Sydney Hayers shocker CIRCUS OF HORRORS(1959). The composers versatility was also evident when Gerard Hoffnung asked him to write two works for the Hoffnung concerts. At first Reizenstein refused, arguing that he was a serious composer who would be reluctant to let his hair down at the Royal Albert hall. But Hoffnung persevered and Reizenstein eventually agreed contributing the witty CONCERTO POPLARE (or the piano concerto to end all piano concertos) and the hilarious LETS FAKE AN OPERA. Franz Reizenstein was born in Nuremberg on 7th June 1911. His father was a doctor and also an excellent amateur pianist. His elder sister was a painter and his elder brother played violin. The composer’s Mother was also musical and was astonished that her son could sing back to her all the songs she had sung to him in perfect pitch and time. At the age of four Franz began to teach himself to play the piano and began to also compose short pieces. When he was a teenager the sudden death of his Father inspired him to compose a piece in his memory. At the age of seventeen he decided to study composition under Paul Hindemith in Berlin. Despite opposition from his Uncle Eisenstein arrived in Berlin in 1930. As the 1930,s progressed the Jewish Reizenstein relocated to England and continued his studies at the Royal College of Music in Kensington. Whilst there he was under the tutelage of Vaughan Williams for composition and also studied under Solomon for piano. He never returned to Germany but instead adopted British nationality and remained in London until his untimely death at the age of 57, leaving a wife Margaret and a son John.


Music info Notes from the liner of the GDI compact disc release, issued in 2000.(c) John Mansell.


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Between 1956 and 1972, Hammer films produced seven Frankenstein films, four of which were scored by the companies more or less resident composer James Bernard. Bernard was a protégé of the great composer Benjamin Britten, Bernard began his musical career in motion pictures when Hammer signed him to provide the soundtrack to THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT in 1955. A year later THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN introduced the composer to the gothic horror, although he had already had an encounter of sorts with this type of story when he scored Webster’s THE DUCHESS OF MALFI for BBC radio. Bernard went on to score numerous films for the Hammer studio among them was a trio of further Frankenstein’s: FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN (1966) FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1969) and FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL (1973). Selections from all three of these and also the original THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN are included on this album. Hammers other FRANKENSTEIN movies were scored by three well respected composers who were also called upon regularly by the studio to work on their productions.

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For the 1958 release of THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN Hammer turned to Leonard Salzedo to compose the music. Salzedo was born in London on September 24th 1921, his interest in music began at the age of just seven and he started to experiment with composition at the age of twelve. On leaving school the young Salzedo began to study piano as well as continuing his violin lesson which he had started whilst attending school. He later took lessons in harmony with William Lloyd-Webber and finally enrolled at the Royal college of music in 1940. Whilst there his violin tuition was provided by Isolde Menges, plus he was tutored by Herbert Howells in composition, Sir George Dyson in conducting, Dr Gordon Jacob in orchestration and finally received lesson in Chamber Music from Ivor James. Salzedo remained at the college throughout the second world war and completed his studies in 1944. Between 1950 and 1966 Salzedo composed a number of works for concert hall performances well as performing as a violinist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It was also during this period of his career that Salzedo acted as musical assistant to Sir Thomas Beecham, and it was Beecham who conducted Salzedo’s first symphony in 1956. Two years before this, however Salzedo had completed his first film score for the Hammer studios, which was THE STRANGER CAME HOME which was directed by Terence Fisher. “I got THE STRANGER CAME HOME because of Malcolm Arnold” Salzedo explained.


“ I had told him I was very keen to write music for the cinema so Malcolm spoke with John Hollingsworth who was Hammer’s musical director at the time”. Salzedo continued his association with Hammer for several years but THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN proved to be his final Hammer credit for over two decades. “ I was asked to score the Frankenstein movie because James Bernard was not available at the time. It was John Hollingsworth who approached me to work on the movie and he would direct the music, but during the scoring process john became very ill and was unable to work he had been told to rest by his Doctors, so it was Muir Mathieson who conducted my score of course he was another great talent in the film music arena”. Although Salzedo wrote the music for six Hammer movies and one episode of Hammer House of Horror for television the composers music does appear in THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (1960), which contained an original score by Benjamin Frankel, for some reason a short sequence of the movie contained music by Salzedo for which he was not credited. “ I am not quite sure how this happened” said Salzedo. “ I think maybe the producers wanted a particular sequence scored and it was easier to just track my music to the movie rather than got back to Ben Frankel and ask him to provide more music”.


For their second Frankenstein sequel THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (1964) Hammer hired composer Don Banks to write the score, Banks who was Australian had previously worked with John Hollingsworth on CAPTAIN CLEGG and NIGHTMARE, but his foray into Frankenstein territory was his first encounter with Hammer’s new musical director Phil Martell who would conduct a further five of Banks scores for Hammer up until 1966. Born in Melbourne in 1923 Banks began to study piano in 1928. During the second world war he served in the Australian medical corps, but found time to continue his piano studies along with harmony and counterpoint. After being demobbed in 1946 banks went to study at the music conservatory at the university of Melbourne. He remained there for two years and studied under Dorian Le Gallienne and Wademar Seidel. During the early 1950,s banks visited England to receive further tutelage in composition from Matyas Seiber. He also went to Florence in Italy to study further under the watchful gaze of Luigi Dallapiccola and then finally to Salzburg where he was schooled by Milton Babbit. Banks got into scoring movies in 1957 his first assignment being for a documentary entitled ALPINE ROUNDABOUT, scoring his first feature MURDER AT THE SITE directed by Francis Searle in 1958.

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His Frankenstein music is probably some of the most melodic in the Hammer series and led to his involvement in the movie HYSTERIA for which the composer provided a jazz score and also to the more conventional music for REPTILE, RASPUTIN THE MAD MONK and THE MUMMYS SHROUD. Banks was also reportedly responsible for arranging much of Mike Vickers music for the movie DRACULA AD 1972 for which he received no credit. He also worked on the Amicus production THE TORTURE GARDEN in 1967 the other half of the score being composed by James Bernard. In 1972 banks returned to his native Australia, and remained there till his death in 1980. According to Phil Martell Banks worked on films to live, the revenue providing a much needed supplement to the meagre income that the composer received from composing music for the concert hall or serious music.

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Hammer’s penultimate Frankenstein movie was released in 1970. THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN contained a score by Malcolm Williamson who had previously worked on THE BRIDES OF DRACULA and CRESCENDO for Hammer. Phil Martell had always wanted to utilise Williamson more on Hammer productions but the composers other commitments made this impossible. Another Australian, Williamson began his studies in 1942 at the age of eleven. He attended the Sydney Conservatory where he studied piano, violin and French horn. His tutor for composition was Sir Eugene Goosens. In 1950, Williamson visited England where he continued to concentrate on composition, this time under Elizabeth Lutyens and Erwin Stein. He decided to settle permanently in the United Kingdom in 1951, Williamson had his first two works for concert hall performance published under the guidance of Benjamin Britten and Sir Adrian Boult. In 1960 Williamson was asked to score Hammer’s THE BRIDES OF DRACULA, “ I remember after I was initially asked to score the Dracula move being sent along to see a handful of movies that had been scored by Jimmy Bernard, I feel that he is faultless, really polished. I would love to be able to compose in the way he does for horror films. I also went on set and watched David Peel in action and I was very privileged to meet Peter Cushing, a very dedicated man, loved and respected by all who knew him”. After BRIDES, Williamson became involved in writing music for many films and documentaries as well as symphonic music for ballets, culminating in 1975 with his appointment as Master of the Queens music. His second Hammer assignment was for CRESCENDO (1970), after which Phil Martell asked him to write the score for THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN.


“ I have to say that working on the Frankenstein movie was not enjoyable at all, it was a feeble attempt to re-create the original Hammer Frankenstein but it sadly lacked the presence of the original film. It was criticised by most people who saw it and at the time I felt that I had not provided the film with an adequate musical score. I used a tuba to represent the lumbering of the monster, but it just seemed to make the monster more clumsy and awkward; in fact, I would say that it was a ridiculous and ludicrous combination. It made the horror element somewhat farcical. But having said that I have recently watched the movie on television and it seems to have improved with age, the music and the film both, It doesn’t seem quite so awful now“.

Franz Reizenstein.


Franz Reizenstein was born in Nuremberg on June 7th 1911, his father was a doctor and also an excellent amateur pianist, his elder sister was an artist and his elder brother played the violin. Reizenstein’s Mother was also very musical and was astonished when her two year old son could sing back any of the songs that she had just sung to him in perfect pitch and time. At the age of just four Franz began to teach himself to play the piano, and it was also at this time that he begun to compose short pieces of music. When Franz was a teenager the sudden death of his father inspired him to compose a piece in his memory. At 17, Reizenstein decided to study composition under Paul Hindemith in Berlin. Despite opposition from his uncle he eventually went to Berlin in 1930. As the thirties progressed the Jewish Reizenstein relocated to the Royal College of Music in London, where he continued to study composition under Vaughn Williams and also continued his piano studies under Solomon. Reizenstein never returned to Germany, instead he adopted British nationality and remained in London until his untimely death at the age of 57. He left a wife, Margaret, and also a son John.

The Mummy (1959 film)
The Mummy (1959 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although Reizenstein was thought of as a serious musician and composer, by this I mean he composed mostly for concert hall performance. He did make a number of forays into the world of film music, most notably the composer worked on Hammer films production of THE MUMMY in 1959 which was the composer’s film music debut. His score is sweeping and dramatic but also remains romantic and melodically lush and lavish. The central theme that he wrote for the movie doubles as a love theme of sorts and depicts THE MUMMY’S (Kharis) centuries old obsession for Princess Ananka. Reizenstein, reprised the principal theme throughout his score and it is performed in a number of variations and arrangements an assortment of instrumentation. Although the central theme is essentially the heart of Reizenstein’s score, the composer also created secondary and other minor themes for the soundtrack which are just as important and integral to the movie and the story that is unfolding upon the screen. The images of the Mummy frantically smashing its way into Peter Cushing’s character John Banning’s library and study is underlined and accompanied by rasping brass, which blares out over driving and urgent sounding strings that are themselves supported and punctuated by a chaotic sounding Xylophone. This exciting composition stops abruptly as Banning’s wife Isobel enters the room, Kharis see’s her and believes her to be he lost love Ananka,

The Mummy ceases his attack on Banning and beats a retreat out of the house and into the night. The sense of excitement and atmosphere of Kharis’s ferocious attack on Banning is assisted greatly by Reizenstein’s highly volatile and vibrant musical score. The movies climatic scene is another example of how much the score aided the impact of the images and just how images and music can and should work in film as one. Kharis returns to Banning’s house, this time the evil Mummy is intent on killing him, things however do not go to plan and Kharis abducts Isobel, Pursued by the Police, villagers and Banning, Kharis is chased into a swamp. Booming percussion racing timpani and short brass stabs underline the scene. When Kharis is shot down Reizenstein’s urgent timpani begins to slow as if to be the heartbeat of the Mummy, and as the creature disappears below the swamp Reizenstein’s musical accompaniment fades and eventually stops. Reizenstein was at the top of his musical game when Hammer asked him to write the score for THE MUMMY, His music was quite unique and the composer placed his stylish and original musical fingerprint upon the production, the idiom of his music being unmistakably 20th Century but not avant-garde.


Many composers in the first half of the century became beguiled with the twelve tones series system, but Reizenstein found that the strict system cramped his natural style and he never cared for the tight intellectual music it produced. Reizenstein’s music flows naturally from melodic ideas and harmonies with which the listener can easily identify. He composed concertos for piano, violin and cello with orchestras, and two large-scale choral works, VOICES OF NIGHT and GENESIS. The latter was commissioned for the Three Choirs Festival of 1958, which was held at Hereford Cathedral. The success of VOICES OF THE NIGHT led the BBC to commission him to write the first opera for radio, entitled ANNA KRAUS. It was the British entry for the prestigious Italia Prize. Reizenstein also composed music for a number of documentary films, and provided incidental music for a number of BBC productions.

Cover of "Circus of Horrors"
Cover of Circus of Horrors

Shortly after completing his score for THE MUMMY, he wrote the music for Sydney Hayers shocker CIRCUS OF HORRORS (1959). As a composer Reizenstein was versatile and this became even more evident when Gerard Hoffnung asked him to write two works for the Hoffnung Concerts. At first Reizenstein was reluctant and refused, he argued that he was a serious composer who would be reluctant to let his hair down at the Royal Festival Hall, Hoffnung persevered, however and Reizenstein contributed the witty CONCERTO POPOLARE or (the piano concerto to end all piano concerto’s)and the hilarious LETS FAKE AN OPERA.    



hammer comedy

Hammer films and comedy, sounds a bit of an odd combination, but in fact some of Hammer’s most successful movies were comedies and also comedy was something that Hammer were doing long before they resurrected DRACULA or FRANKENSTEIN. The studios most lucrative movie of the comedic variety was actually a film that was based on a popular ITV show called, ON THE BUSES. This was the first of three films that Hammer produced that centred on the cheeky and somewhat unlucky bus driver Stan Butler and his sidekick bus conductor Jack who were forever in it up to their necks or chasing woman, and always hotly pursued by the grinning inspector Blake or Blakey who’s mission in life was to get the better of the dodging duo. So quite rightly GDI decided that their comedy compilation of music from Hammer films should commence with selections from all three of the ON THE BUSES films, let us say straight away the music for these comedies was very tongue in cheek and was more often than not a musical wallpaper rather than an actual film score, but saying this it did it’s job and was an integral part of each and every movie and also every gag or comedy caper that was taking place on screen. So the collection kicks off with the title song from the first movie in the series, “ITS A GREAT LIFE ON THE BUSES” which was performed by singing group Quinceharmon. This is a very jolly sounding vocal in fact you can almost see the singers broad smiles as they perform it, shades of BROTHERHOOD OF MAN. This jaunty, cheeky and bouncy little ditty sets the scene perfectly for much of what is to follow. The end title makes an appearance in track 2, but is shorter than the opening track, but more or less the same. Track 3, is taken from MUTINY ON THE BUSES the music here is by well known British composer Ron Grainer, who of course found a place in music lovers hearts with his theme for DR WHO and later wowed soundtrack fans with his wonderfully atmospheric score to THE OMEGA MAN, the music that he has penned here is serviceable and pleasant enough but lets say its no Oscar winner as far as film music goes. Tracks 4 through to track 7 are taken from the final instalment of the Buses trilogy, HOLIDAY ON THE BUSES, composer Denis King was responsible for the score to this, and although it is fairly easy going material and pleasant enough it is far from memorable, King of course too found fame in writing for the small screen, remember BLACK BEAUTY? So the buses trilogy out of the way we move onto the next movie, it too started out as a TV show and became very popular with audiences in the UK during the 1970,s LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR would certainly not be given air time nowadays, lets just say it was a tad racially motivated and would be frowned on in this day and age if the TV company decided to repeat it. The score for the movie version of the series was the work of another well known British composer, Albert Elms, Three cues are included on the compilation, these are THE TITLE SONG,THE QUIZ and THE CRUISE, With most of the music included on this collection, there is not a lot that one can say about it other than it is serviceable and also that it was well suited to the movies it was written for, they say comedy is one of the hardest things to get right when you are an actor or a director, and I think that also can be said for the composer too, it must be difficult not to go over the top musically, because a splurge of music here or a little too much volume there could in affect ruin the scene or spoil the punch line, the carry on movies seemed to be able to get the mix right in all departments, and I think that Hammer were in a way trying to emulate the masterful comedy that radiated from that particular series of movies when they embarked on making comedy films during the 1970,s. At times it worked on other occasions it fell a little flat. Vintage Hammer comedy is up next in the running order as we are treated to Tony Lowry’s typically British sounding comedy musical flourishes from the 1958 naval caper UP THE CREEK, which starred David Tomlinson and peter Sellers and was directed by Val Guest.



Back to the 1970,s for the next four tracks, all of which come from MAN A BOUT THE HOUSE, music here is by Christopher Gunning, who also worked on Hammers HANDS OF THE RIPPER, again the music is fairly easy going and light, with two of the cues easily fitting into the Musak category of the dentist waiting room variety, the selections from the score do however include some up tempo chase music and a catchy title song performed by Annie Farrow. Two characters that featured in MAN ABOUT THE HOUSE the TV series and also the movie were George and Mildred, and as it transpired these proved to be more popular than the series they first popped up in, thus they were given their own TV series and also a feature film was produced, but not by Hammer, but GDI felt that they could not omit the odd couple from their compilation, so we have music from GEORGE AND MILDRED by Les Reed  and also another Cinema Arts inc production RISING DAMP with the repulsive Rigsby and the sex starved Ruth being musical accompanied by composer David Lindup. Back to Hammer next, and Stanley Blacks music for FURTHER UP THE CREEK, which is obviously the sequel to UP THE CREEK. The compilation also includes two vocals from NEAREST AND DEAREST, with THE MORE YOU LAUGH being performed by Hilda Baker, in true Nellie Pledge fashion. Plus I ONLY ARSKED which was an adaptation of the TV series THE ARMY GAME, that is represented by the vocals of Bernard Bresslaw on the song, ALONE TOGETHER. The final selection is by composer David Whitaker and is taken from THAT’S YOUR FUNERAL, which was released in 1973,and it has to be said is nowhere near as interesting as the composers other Hammer scores, i.e.; VAMPIRE CIRCUS and DR JECKYLL AND SISTER HYDE. But wait there is more, three bonus tracks are saved right until the end, and you know the saying save the best till last,    well no actually forget that,,, these are just a bit of fun really, they include The ON THE BUSES title song, performed by those nice smiley folks, Quinceharmon, but this time its Accapella, and two cues from RISING DAMP one of which is a version of the title song performed by Leonard Rossiter.  Without a doubt this is a collection for true Hammer devotees, and yes there are some pleasant enough compositions within its running time, but I think Hammer should really stick to scaring people.