Composer Ron Goodwin is probably best known for his themes and scores to war movies such as 633 SQUADRON, WHERE EAGLES DARE and BATTLE OF BRITAIN. But of course, we as collectors know that there is far more to Goodwin than thundering themes that are inspiring and patriotically driving. His score for THE TRAP for example is I think a most underatted soundtrack, in fact Goodwin’s music has outlived any memories of the movie itself and also the theme found a new lease of life when TV producers procured it to use as the theme for the London Marathon. Then there was his brilliant score for VALHALLA which sadly was to be his last, and let us not forget, ONE OF OUR DINOSAURS IS MISSING for Disney as well as CANDLESHOE for the same studio. Then there were all those excellent compilations on long playing records released by EMI, which at the time of their release gave film music fans versions of the composer’s music for film as well as music by many others which was given the famous Goodwin treatment. His quirky style and split-second musical timing was most certainly well suited to the British comedy THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN IN THEIR FLYING MACHINES with both the score and the song becoming instant hits, a popularity that has lasted to this day I might add. After the success of THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN etc, we were treated to another magnificently well written and highly entertaining score, when the composer once again teamed up with film maker Ken Annakin on the British/Italian co-production MONTE CARLO OR BUST or as it was entitled in the United States THOSE DARING YOUNG MEN IN THEIR JAUNTY JALOPIES. Goodwin created a wonderfully inventive score for the movie and penned several original themes which would accompany various characters that were involve in the hi-jinks that was taking place on screen. The cast list read like a who’s who of British and international cinema. Goodwin’s atmospheric and hilarious at times soundtrack, has become a classic of sorts in the film music collecting community. The music was originally released in 1969/1970 on a LP which was on the Paramount records label. This at the time was quite a long running LP as it contained some forty-two minutes of music. Sadly, the score was never re-issued and was never given a compact disc release, until now that is. Yes, those lovely people at Quartet records have at last made many of Ron’s faithful fans dreams come true, with an extensive and expanded release on CD, a two-disc set as well.

Yes, not one but two compact discs, the first containing the soundtrack as we have come to know and love which is the LP record tracks, and disc two, which is the icing on the proverbial cake, all together there are sixty one cues on this set, alternate takes and outtakes galore it is certainly Ron Goodwin heaven for many. So how to review something that is already considered a classic, now that’s a difficult one, we already know that the score is practically perfect in every way (sorry wrong movie, but it sounds good). THOSE DARING YOUNG MEN IN THEIR JAUNTY JALOPIES or as I like to call it MONTE CARLO OR BUST is an onslaught of cleverly orchestrated and quirky comedic pieces which Goodwin weaved in and out of the movie to enhance and give support to key points and scenarios, it is without a doubt one of his most accomplished and entertaining soundtracks, with cheeky little nuances, dastardly and mischievous passages along side stiff upper lip musical moments that accompanied the characters superbly portrayed by Messer’s Moore and Cooke, Goodwin even throwing in a nice little arrangement of JINGLE BELLS when aforementioned du found themselves driving on ice or in snow.



We are also spoilt for thematic diversity and vibrancy, when the composer brings into play a German march and a wonderfully light and airy Italian sounding piece. There are so many themeatic moments within this score that it is difficult to explain just how many and in what context that they are utilised. Goodwin’s score is a truly international sounding work, and also contains a luxurious and rich love theme which accompanies Tony Curtis and the films female love interest Susan Hampshire. The movie itself was madcap but entertaining and was even more compelling because of Goodwin’s strategically placed musical score, with its Charleston type backing and oom-pah-pah moments and over the top keystone drama it is I think one of his best.




The song from the movie, entitled MONTE CARLO OR BUST was performed by veteran star Jimmy Durante, whose gravelly sounding vocals were just perfect, it achieved success on its own away from the movie as any radio stations included it on their playlists. This double CD set is a sight for sore eyes and a welcome listening experience which evoked memories of when I first heard the LP record back in 1969/70 The CD boasts the original United States LP record cover art and the colourful booklet contains notes by Jeff Bond and the recording is presented with clean and sharp flawless sound thanks to precision re-mastering work by Chris Malone which as always is excellent. This is a release you will not want to miss order it now, send it from you to you for Christmas. Recommended.  While your on line buying this one from quartet why not treat yourself to the expanded version of THE ITALIAN JOB also released on that label.

Those Daring Young Men in their Jaunty Jalopies (2-CD)

The Italian Job







George Fenton has had a varied and illustrious career, scoring many big movies including GHANDI and CRY FREEDOM, plus he has also worked on numerous popular TV series and programmes. Fenton was the favoured choice of film maker Sir Richard Attenborough and worked with director Neil Jordan on movies such as COMPANY OF WOLVES. One of his early themes was for the quiz show Blockbusters, and it was small themes such as this that began to get the composer noticed. He also worked with Sir David Attenborough on various wildlife series mostly for the BBC as well as scoring Hollywood box office hits such as GROUNDHOG DAY and YOU GOT MAIL. For me personally it is his vibrant and energetic score for HIGH SPIRITS that always comes to mind when his name is mentioned, I think it is his music rather than the actual movie that evokes my memories of this. Over the past few years Fenton has shall we say not been as busy as he used to be, and only occasionally would we see his name on the credits of a movie. So I am pleased that in recent months we have seen two of his scores released, the most recent being RED JOAN, the music for this thriller which stars Judy Dench in the title role, is I think quite typical of Fenton’s style there are some beautifully crafted themes present within the work, and also a handful of darker and more apprehensive sounding pieces, but it is the lilting and subtle thematic material that holds the attraction and seems to entice and beckon to the listener. The PRELUDE opens the recording in which the composer serves up a brief but effective piano theme which is supported by underlying and very slight strings, as I say it is a fleeting opener for the score but one that sets the scene perfectly for what is to follow.



The theme which we hear in the opening cue is one that is expanded upon and returned to throughout the soundtrack and Fenton presents it in varying ways, arranging and orchestrating it differently on each occasion, giving it a freshness and added vibrancy. Although RED JOAN is a somewhat downbeat or even at times sombre affair musically, the music remains thematic and melodious the composer utilising sentimental sounding woods which at certain points within the score do seem to transform into a more sinister and shady sounding performance but retaining the melody that they originally purveyed. The same can be said of piano and strings which transform from light and unassuming instruments into dark and foreboding ones. I must admit I do love scores such as this, it’s not grandiose and certainly not high octane in any way, but instead is subdued and intricate, even fragile and slight in its composition and overall performance, there is a certain air of intimacy and reflective quality to the work. Fenton elaborating upon the central theme a few times by way of a lusher but still slight string performance which adds substance and emotion to the proceedings, the composer creating a luxurious sound that although not overly over the top is still powerful and affecting. He also utilises a heartrending solo violin at times and again although fleeting this creates a sense of passion, melancholy and isolation all at the same time.  Fenton gives depth, atmosphere and colour to the movie with his beguiling and haunting music and it is a soundtrack that will be welcomed by any film music connoisseur. Released by Movie Score Media and available now as digital recording and soon on CD from Quartet records.


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As a film music collector that has always been interested in music from Italian movies the name of Gianni Marchetti is one that has always been in mind when discussing or listening to scores from Italian productions, Marchetti was up until recently more or less ignored by many of the recording labels both in Italy and outside of that country. Yes a number of his soundtracks had been available on original LP records from the 1960,s and 1970,s but with the furious re-issue programme undertaken by certain labels I was surprised that we did not see more of this composers music out on the shiny little discs. However over the past four years or so Gianni Marchetti’s soundtracks have at last received the attention form labels such as KRONOS, HILLSIDE,BEAT and QUARTET amongst others. One score by the composer that I thought would be at the top of the list to be released was IL MAGNIFICO TONY CARREA, but alas no, I had to make do with my original CAM vinyl long playing record up until just a few weeks ago when Quartet records announced they would release it.

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Marchetti is in my opinion still vastly underrated and never seems to get the credit that he so richly deserves, but with this release and the handful of others that have been issued I think that now collectors are beginning to realise just what a great talent he was as a composer, arranger, orchestrator etc. The problem with Marchetti was he was somewhat overshadowed by the great success of composers such as Piero Piccioni, Stelvio Cipriani, Bruno Nicolai and Ennio Morricone, it was not that Marchetti’s music was in any way inferior to his fellow Maestro’s but it was the films he scored rather than anything to do with the actual music as many of his projects were not released outside of Italy. This release on the Quartet label includes the 12 original tracks from the CAM LP release plus it also contains another 23 cues which are listed as Film Versions or Alternatives. Many of the composers infectious themes for the movie make more than one appearance on the recording, or at least we get to hear varying versions of them, with the composer arranging or orchestrating them differently, keeping them fresh and vibrant on each outing. The composer utilises the unique vocal sounds of Nora Orlandi’s 4+4 on the score and I may be wrong but I am sure that the Sitar solo’s are the work of Alessandro Alessandroni, but don’t quote me.

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IL MAGNIFICO TONY CARRERA is an infectiously rhythmic work, the composer bringing into the musical equation up beat percussion, light and subdued harpsichord, electric guitar, hip sounding organ, fuzzy sounding guitar, acoustic guitar, solo female wordless vocals, woodwind and a scattering of strings all of which produce lilting and haunting themes of the romantic and nostalgic variety plus a number of fast paced pop orientated funky sounding compositions that delight and get ones foot tapping. There are also just a few cues that I suppose can be categorized as being comedic music, with a group whistling a jaunty little theme whilst being accompanied on banjo and percussion, which adds a certain variety to the work. I love the way that Marchetti utilises the choir within the score adding it either as a punctuation to the music or as the main stay of a particular cue, either way it is wonderfully effective. Presented well by Quartet with striking cover art and a handful of images from the movie within the CD liner, also has some informative and enjoyable notes by Gergely Hubai, sound quality is of a high standard also, in fact I cannot recommend this release enough, so don’t think about it just buy it now.


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Well Ennio Morricone is certainly getting his creative juices flowing this year two new film scores, THE HATEFUL EIGHT and also EN MAI FAIS CE QU’IL TE PLAIT are released and although both are completely removed from each other do not disappoint, the composer lending his considerable talent and finesse to both storylines. EN MAI FAIS CE QU’IL TE PLAIT is a story set in 1940, German forces have already entered France and are pushing onwards crushing much of the resistance put up by the French the British and the French people. Alarmed at the ferocity of the German invasion and its ever gaining momentum the inhabitants of a small village, PAS-DE-CALAIS decide that it will be better to leave everything and go on the road and make their way to the coast. The storyline throws together many people from the village and also individuals from outside of Pas-de-Calais, one of these is a Scottish officer who’s entire unit has been massacred by the Nazi war machine who decides to joint the villagers in their trek to the coast in the hope that he might be able to get a boat and return to England. The score by Ennio Morricone is in a word outstanding and the best way to describe it is to say that this is classic Morricone. The compact disc opens with EN MAI, which is the longest cue on the soundtrack release, weighing in at 8 minutes and 55 seconds, it begins with a four note motif which is repeated over and over with every now and then strings punctuating the piece changing key and chords until the theme begins proper, woodwind introduce the subdued and plaintive sounding theme, whilst all the time the four note motif is repeated in the background. Memories of Morricone from the 1960,s and 1970,s come flooding back, as the theme builds and further establishes itself, the string section increasing in volume and finally a rich sounding romantically laced composition overwhelms everything. This is Morricone at his melodic best, it is emotive, affecting and superbly mesmerising and most definitely a goose bump moment. What I love about this score is that Morricone does not in any way over use the central theme, in fact I would say that the majority of the cues here all sound very different as in there are fresh and vibrant themes present within each and everyone of them. There is melancholy, drama, fear and every other sort of emotion conveyed within this work, track number two L,ETAU SE RESSERRE is a more dramatic and slightly more urgent composition, the Maestro employing strings to great effect to create an atmosphere of unease and apprehension.


Track number three ILS RESTERONT TROIS is a return to the central theme but not the same arrangement as the opening cue, this is even more lush and lavish sounding in its introduction, the strings that open the piece give way to woodwind for a while but the strings then make a return to give the variation of the theme a fuller working, again classic Morricone, that is delicate but also emotionally overwhelming. Track number four TRAVERSER LA GUERRE, is a return to a darker sound, sombre sounding strings, and shady nuances prevail here but saying this even amongst this we still here a faint melody. This is a score that I would recommend as a must have for any devotee of Ennio Morricone, it evokes past triumphs from the Maestro and also tells us that Morricone is still the Master. Available on Quartet records.

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