Tag Archives: SONY

T-34 and MIDWAY.


Two war movies released very close together, one from America and one from Russia, both telling or re-telling stories based upon true events. The film from Russia is T-34 which tells the story of the Russian built tank that was produced in their hundreds during WWll, it also focuses upon the German invasion of Russia and the vital role that this tank in-particular played in fighting the Nazi war machine. It also has an interesting storyline which is the central thread of the movie, with the Nazi’s realising that Russian tank crews are better than their own, so they recruit POW’s who are tank crew members to train their own tank crews. Things however do not go as planned, the Nazi’s think that the Russian tank is unarmed as the training begins, but this is not so and the T-34 blasts its way out of the POW camp, the film then tells the story of the Russian crews attempt to return to the Red Army and of how they are pursued by German Panther tanks. It’s an exciting and quite graphic movie, with realistic looking battles and a strong cast and script. The second war film to be released is MIDWAY and yes it tells the story of the battle of Midway again in the second world war, but this time involving American and Japanese forces, sadly it’s a repeat of the debacle that was PEARL HARBOUR a few years ago, and yes there are factual events portrayed but why do Hollywood movies add bits and pieces, well I suppose its for dramatic effect, oh and yes to make money too, there are spectacular effects in the movie but I think they spent a lot more on these than they did the story, so it’s a no from me for this slice of Hollywood tat. The Russian movie is in my opinion far superior its gritty and realistic rather than glitzy and well boring. But it’s the music that I am really concerned about, so MIDWAY, yes where do we start? The score is by Thomas Wander and Harald Kloser, and is a work that sadly is rather heavy on grating synthetic cues, which outnumber the symphonic elements by the sound of things, I listened through three times and could only really find one cue that I thought might be of any interest which is track number seven THIS IS IT, its dramatic and forthright in its overall sound, but short lived and does not really develop into anything that one can latch onto to call memorable, I am not going to talk anymore about this film or its score, as it is another wasted opportunity in the case of the music to create something that at least has hints of themes, I think the composers must have listened to DUNKIRK and thought, oh yes “THE DRONE THE JARRING AND REPETATIVE SYNTHETIC SOUNDS, WE WILL GO FOR THAT”.

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So quickly moving on to the score for the movie T-34, the main credit for the score is given to composer Vadim Maevskiy, but on looking at the soundtrack details one can see that it is a collaboration of various composers and artists. These include, Ivan Burlaev, Dmitry Noskov and Alexander Turkunov. However, the music is consistently very good indeed throughout and one would assume that this is the work of just one composer. T-34 is a growling, brooding, dark and ominous sounding score, which perfectly suits the films storyline and its action led and often brutal scenes. This is a score that is effective even with the sounds of battle raging, it is a fusion of choral, symphonic and synthetic and although it certainly sounds as if the synthetics have the upper hand here it never declines into a mish mash of harsh sounding and jagged stabs which are not entertaining but only annoying like so many other film scores these days. In the hands of the right composer, electronics are effective and the sounds achieved can be remarkable, which is the case in T-34, there are a couple of cues that I did think were a little out of place, ATTACK(track 5) for example, which to me sounds initial more like a backing track for a song by Coldplay with strumming rock orientated guitars and percussion driving these and also in DEATH (track 6) we hear the influence of electronic or sample scoring, which I have to say I am no fan of. I think it was Maurice Jarre that told me an electronic score was far more expensive to create than an orchestral one, which surprised me as I thought it would be vice versa. T-34 has some really nice poignant moments and that is all they are moments because most are brief respites in a work that is geared up to be powerful and action themed. RAGE (track 8) is a stand-out cue, again largely synthetic, it is still effective and possess a driving and relentless sound that is an integral part of the movie and the scene that it supports. As the piece builds and develops the intensity of the drama also becomes more prominent. Which can also be said for track 9, TOP GERMANS. Then as if out of nowhere comes APPELPLATZ, which begins in a rather apprehensive fashion, with percussive elements introducing the piece, the mood however soon alters and the music becomes softer and more welcoming or melancholy, with rich strings making an entry punctuated by bell effect and beautiful choir, the mood soon reverts to a darker and more martial sound as it melts away. FIRING FIELD too is a cue that just oozes quality, with driving strings and solo trumpet creating a forceful and wonderfully infectious sound before this combination and introduction fades to segue into a lilting piano solo. This is an interesting soundtrack, it is up-beat, emotive, patriotic and at times chaotic and harrowing and one that I think you should take a listen to. Available on I tunes, and Spotify.



There is no doubt in my mind or indeed anyone else’s I have spoken to that John Barry was the most prolific, inventive and innovative composer of film music that we have seen, each day I still hear a piece of his music and lament that he is no longer here with us in body, he however is still with us in spirit and via his music. At last a new release of his music, sadly nothing new or anything that has been discovered that we did not already know about, but a compilation of his standards and our ultimate favourites. The compilation opens with THE JAMES BOND THEME well why not? It continues with stalwart themes from JAMES BOND MOVIES which include GOLDFINGER, THUNDERBALL, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and also tracks from those scores including MR KISS KISS BANG BANG and the 007 THEME. It then moves into two pieces from the TV series VENDETTA these include the catchy theme from the series plus the DANNY SKIPIO THEME which were both originally released on a CBS single (I can still see the bright orange label with the CBS logo on it). WEDNESDAYS CHILD comes next from the cold war thriller THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM again whilst hearing this I can envisage the purple cover of the original CBS long playing record. We then go back to the world of JAMES BOND with the SPACE MARCH and also the instrumental version of the theme from YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. Some of the recordings on this compilation are taken from those great albums that CBS used to release back in the day that were so naively called THE BEST OF JOHN BARRY or JOHN BARRY’S GREATEST MOVIE HITS, who could imagine back then what the composer would create or achieve during his illustrious career. Moving onto track number 13, which although unlucky for some is not unlucky for us the listener as we experience the upbeat and rhythmic theme from the first BOND movie without the suave Mr Connery (ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE). George Lazenby stepped into the shoes for just one excursion as the spy licensed to kill, and shoot me if you like but I still rate this as the best BOND score ever and to be perfectly honest Lazenby was not as bad as they all said. The compilation also includes another track from the OHMSS soundtrack, which is the laid back piano and jazz influenced TRY. WHO WILL BUY MY YESTERDAYS is next in the running order, I think I am right in saying this is the version or arrangement originally released on the READY WHEN YOU ARE JB album as was the next track THE MORE THINGS CHANGE if my memory serves me correctly. For the last two tracks of disc one we return to 007 territories with instrumental versions of DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER and OCTOPUSSY (ALL TIME HIGH).




Disc two opens with the wonderfully haunting and somewhat sleazy and jazzy theme from THE IPCRESS FILE which is taken from the original soundtrack, however track two which is also taken from THE IPCRESS FILE is a re-recording of A MAN ALONE and I have to say that it does lack the attributes of the version which appeared on the original soundtrack release. Also included on disc two is Barry’s epic theme from ZULU again a re-recording which is a great shame as although it is a solid performance it just lacks something that the original has, I cannot understand that when putting together a compilation such as this record companies settle for non-original or re-recordings and even if these re-recordings are conducted by the composer they just do not sound the same. ZULU is followed by the mysterious and edgy music from Bryan Forbes 1960, s movie SÉANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON, I remember seeing the movie and thinking how superbly Barry’s music supported it and its storyline and although the composer was very sparing with his music within the film I think it worked so well. THE KNACK (and how to get it) which was released around the same time as SÉANCE is totally different with the composer adding choral support for this particular arrangement of the infectious theme complete with easy strings and Hammond organ supported by a groovy sounding bass, which together all build up to a crescendo that enlists the help of percussion and brass. THE WRONG BOX, THE CHASE, BORN FREE, THE WHISPERERS, THE DUTCHMAN, THE APPOINTMENT all feature on disc two, most are re-recordings taken from the aforementioned CBS album compilations but evoke memories of early days of soundtrack collecting and discovering new music. Also included is a short excerpt from THE ROMANCE FOR GUITAR AND ORCHESTRA from another Bryan Forbes movie DEADFALL in which Barry appeared conducting a concert whilst Michael Caine carried out a daring robbery. The original recording took up the B side of the soundtrack LP record, the A side containing selections from Barry’s main score which included the Shirley Bassey vocal of MY LOVE HAS TWO FACES and a particularly entertaining typically John Barry track STATUE DANCE. Disc two comes to its conclusion with THE GIRL WITH THE SUN IN HER HAIR which was used for a TV ad back in the late 1960’s that endured into the eighties I am sure. Disc number two opens with the composer’s iconic theme for MIDNIGHT COWBOY again not from the original soundtrack but a track from the CBS compilations way back when, another selection FUN CITY is also included.




Disc three includes musical excellence from movies such as WALKABOUT and MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, alongside BODY HEAT, FRANCES, CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY, THE SCARLET LETTER and DANCES WITH WOLVES and tracks from CHAPLIN, UNTILL SEPTEMBER, THE COTTON CLUB and THE SPECIALIST. This is a good representation of the musical works of John Barry, but still it is not all of his hits, if there is such a thing for a film music composer, I found this a great listen and a varied selection from a composer who’s output verges upon the unbelievable and who will be missed forever more. Worth adding to one’s collection.john-barry

CD 1

1. The James Bond Theme
2. 007
3. From Russia With Love
4. Goldfinger
5. Thunderball
6. Mister Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
7. Vendetta
8. The Danny Scipio Theme
9. Wednesday’s Child (From The Picture ‘The Quiller Memorandum’) (John Barry Orchestra)
10. Sleep Well My Darling
11. You Only Live Twice
12. Space March (Capsule In Space) (John Barry Orchestra)
13. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
14. Try
15. Who Will Buy My Yesterdays
16. The More Things Change
17. Diamonds Are Forever
18. All Time High From “Octopussy”
CD 2
1. The Ipcress File
2. A Man Alone (Theme from the film “The Ipcress File”) (John Barry and his Orchestra)
3. Barbra’s Theme (John Barry and his Orchestra)
4.The Syndicate
5. What A Question
6. Zulu
7. Seance On A Wet Afternoon
8. The Knack
9. King Rat March
10. The Wrong Box
11. Main Title: The Chase
12. Born Free
13. The Whisperers
14. Dutchman
15. Theme From “Romance For Guitar And Orchestra”
16. The Lion In Winter
17. Theme From “The Appointment”
18. The Girl with the Sun in Her Hair (John Barry Orchestra)
CD 3
1. Midnight Cowboy
2. Fun City
3. Walkabout
4. Afternoon
5. Mary, Queen Of Scots
6. Body Heat
7. Frances
8. Until September
9. The Cotton Club
10. Out of Africa
11. The John Dunbar Theme
12. Journey to the Buffalo Killing Ground
13. Chaplin-Main Theme
14. Moviola
15. The Specialist
16. Coney Island
17. Cry, Cry The Beloved Country
18. End Title to “The Scarlet Letter”



Well I have to say I am not a fan of scores for animated movies, well most of them anyway, although in recent years with John Powell writing some truly great material for HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON and Patrick Doyle on board with his score for BRAVE there have been a few exceptions, I say a few please make note of that. When I heard about SAUSAGE PARTY I thought this is animation gone nuts, when you think of animation you automatically think it’s for the kiddiewinks, come on now you know you do. Well stop it because unless your ankle biter is 15 or above there is no way they will get to see SAUSAGE PARTY at the cinema, what you do when it comes out on DVD is entirely up to you.

The food products at Shop-Well’s Supermarket are led to believe a code that helps them live happy lives until it’s time for them to leave the comfort of their store and travel to the Great Beyond. However, after a trip to the Great Beyond goes wrong and leaves one sausage named Frank and his companion Bun stranded, Frank goes to extreme lengths to return to his packaging and make another trip to the outside. But as he makes his way from one end of the store to the other, Frank’s quest to discover the truth about his existence as a sausage turns incredibly dark and uncomfortable. Will he be able to tell his fellow foods what lies in store for them beyond the doors of the supermarket and persuade them to take action and rise up against their human masters?
The soundtrack for this somewhat unusual and bizarre animated feature is now available and contains a mix of songs and score, music is a collaboration between Alan Menken and Christopher Lennertz, both of whom are well versed in how to score an animated feature. This however is a little different from your run of the mill animated capers, I think it contains more bad language than SOUTH PARK and any of the Tarantino movies put together, it’s an attempt at humour but to be honest I was not that amused. The songs on the release include items by WHAM, MEATLOAF, SPANDUA BALLET and ERIC CARMEN. But it’s the score I am concerned with so onwards and upwards, I have to say although I am not impressed with the movie I do like the original score and was amused by the various musical references from other film scores that Menken and Lennertz managed to weave into the fabric of their score. In fact, I found the score more entertaining than the movie for which was created, there is even an Italian western flavoured cue (track number 9, HE’S COMING) which contains soaring trumpet, electric guitar and a nod in the direction of Morricone’s THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY for a brief moment.

The most amusing and entertaining cue has to be track number 10 FOOD MASSACRE, which starts out as a very light and typically cartoon like piece, then suddenly bursts into psycho like strings that segue perfectly into a take on Jerry Goldsmiths satanic chorus from THE OMEN, it’s all a bit tongue in cheek but oh so effective. There are a number of these big orchestral cues within the score, brass and strings combining to create highly dramatic and fearful sounding pieces with choir and percussion in tow, THE BIG FIGHT for example is in my opinion another nod in the direction of a classic in the form of Bill Conti’s ROCKY score, striving strings, timpani, a bell and brass flourishes are in full flight and then it just stops in its tracks and slides into a Mexican mariachi type trumpet composition, but you have to see the movie to appreciate this. There is no doubt that SAUSAGE PARTY contains an entertaining score, and both the composers have delivered a work that I know as film music collectors you will just love, there are so many film music references thrown in here or at least sound-alike cues and interludes it is just a blast listening out for anything that they might want to throw in and it’s got to be a first an Alan Menken track with explicit lyrics, I kid you not. Also check out the multicultural end song THE GREAT BEYOND, AROUND THE WORLD, this is a score worth investing in. It’s great, it’s fun and you should so check it out. So what you waiting for, available on CD, Spotify and I Tunes.



The original GHOSTBUSTERS was without a doubt a popular movie, indeed nowadays it has something of a cult following, as does its soundtrack both the songs and the score by the late great Elmer Bernstein. So when reviewing the score for the new GHOSTBUSTERS movie I decided to try at least not to make any comparisons between the two scores. Essentially a comedy movie the new GHOSTBUSTERS also has its fair share of scary moments and jumps and jolts, it also contains a highly polished and atmospheric score by composer Theodore Shapiro, we all as film music collectors are aware of the ample talents of this composer, his soundtracks have entertained us over the past few years when he worked on such movies as THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, SPY, MARLEY AND ME, ST VINCENT, DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY and his particularly inventive score for TRUMBO etc etc, but I have to say with GHOSTBUSTERS the composer has certainly pulled out all of the stops and thrown into the ring a soundtrack that is wonderfully thematic as well as being dynamic, dramatic and highly imposing.


The composers brooding and sometimes dark and menacing compositions have about them an apprehensive aura but at the same time we have here a score that is filled with broad and expansive musical moments which at times verge on the epic when Shapiro enlists the aid of choir. The opening cue THE ALDRIDGE MANSION is a tense and foreboding piece in which strings and faraway sounding horns combine and build slowly to create an uneasy and imposing mood which verges upon but never really achieves its crescendo, but still achieves the desired effect of planting the listener firmly upon the edge of their seat. Track number two THE GARRET ATTACK after a brief introduction is a more upbeat and certainly more powerful cue, thundering percussion, and fearsome “Omen-like” choral performances push the track along at pace with strings, brass and dark sounding piano present to assist. Track number three, NEVER INVITED is a mix of action and respite, in my opinion the composer has created an old skool score which certainly works for me, brimming with strong and vibrant themes, dark and powerful cues that are enhanced and complimented by a handful of what can be categorised as lilting and melodious nuances which at times raise their heads bringing a welcomed tranquil atmosphere to a more or less non stop full throttle score. I personally was impressed by the composers approach for the movie, as I say basically a comedy with a few dark undertones and Shapiro’s music reflects this but leans more towards the dramatic and foreboding. It is overflowing with inventive and richly dark compositions that take ones breath away and at times make you jump out of your skin, this is a score to add to your collection as soon as possible. It looks like the movie is set for box office success and maybe who knows a sequel, if this does happen don’t call the GHOSTBUSTERS call Theodore Shapiro. Go Buy it now…….


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The score for WATERSHIP DOWN is a classic work which was penned by Angela Morley and Malcolm Williamson with the song BRIGHT EYES being the work of Mike Batt. Conducted by Marcus Dodds this is a quintessentially English sounding score with more than a gentle nod in the direction of vintage composers such as Walton and his like. I think the attraction of the score to WATERSHIP DOWN is the simplicity of it and also the absence of electronic support, written at a time when synthesisers were beginning more than ever to be utilised within film scoring, composers Morley and Williamson decided to approach the assignment in a more traditional way making effective use of symphonic rather than synthetic. The actual credits read music by Angela Morley, Incidental music by Malcolm Williamson, whether this was a collaboration in the true sense of the word I am not sure and which composer was responsible for the lions share of the music too is a mystery but there is a richness and also a melodic lushness present within the score that at times reminds one of the works of Richard Rodney Bennett in particular his soundtracks for FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD and LADY CAROLINE LAMB, it has to it an ambience and style that also has many affiliations with composer John Addison (A BRIDGE TOO FAR) and also resonates a haunting and lingering appeal via the many themes included within its duration. I think that Williamson and Morley must have at some point worked together on the music because the compositions certainly flow and compliment one another.


In my humble opinion this is one of the most appealing soundtracks produced for a British movie in the last fifty years or so, it is filled with emotive and melancholy passages that have the ability to take one back to the movie when listening to the score and straight away be able to recall exactly where the music is utilised within the picture. It is beautiful and mesmerizing as well as being entertaining and of course supporting the animated images on screen, the song BRIGHT EYES is one of the highlights of the work, with the version from the movie being included on the soundtrack album which is different from the edit that entered the British charts, Batt’s music and lyrics vocalised by Art Garfunkel being supported by highly emotive and heartrending strings that are punctuated by subdued harp which also laces and ingratiates the proceedings. I am not certain about the legitimacy of this recording on PENDULUM records, by this I mean is it a fully paid up edition of the soundtrack? The tracks are the same as the original LP release which was on CBS or Sony as it is known now, so surely Sony would have seen the potential of releasing this rather than license it to a smaller label. WATERSHIP DOWN may have been an animated feature but it was an important movie and one that has fascinated and entertained audiences of all ages since its release.


The score is not surprisingly available for download on I Tunes which makes me wonder about the PENDULUM release, but hats off to them as this is a very good recording and is also well presented. Maybe as it is approaching the films 37th Birthday Sony might decide to issue an anniversary edition of the soundtrack, this score is a delight from the offset with the PROLOGUE AND MAIN TITLE opening the disc that includes narration by Michael Hordern, this wonderful opener to the soundtrack sets the scene perfectly and continues on with a number of highlight cues including, VENTURING FORTH, INTO THE MIST, VIOLETS GONE, BRIGHT EYES AND INTERLUDE, KEHAARS THEME and FINAL STRUGGLE AND TRIUMPH. Highly recommended.

                  ANGELA MORLEY

“All the world will be your enemy Prince of a thousand enemies, and when they catch you they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner. Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed”.

(closing lines from Prologue).

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