Hefti’s soundtrack compositions always seem to define a sense of good safe ground.
Throughout the 1960s, Hefti provided light but always memorable scores
including TV’s Batman (1966-68), How to Murder your wife (1965), Barefoot in
the park (1967) and The Odd Couple (1968). Perhaps rather less memorable were
the comedies Boeing Boeing (1965) and Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s hung you in the
closet and I’m feelin’ so sad (1967). Boeing Boeing marked the last strains of
Paramount’s association with Jerry Lewis and co-starred Tony Curtis. A romantic
comedy farce, the film is set in Paris, and Hefti’s loungey, easy-listening feel
makes it an enjoyable experience. There are of course certain familiarities. Hefti’s signature sound is hard to ignore:
smooth brass and witty electric keyboard motifs all signify a certain 60s
charm. Vocalion’s new release (CDLK4578) marks Boeing Boeing’s first venture on
CD. At just 28 minutes, it’s a straight forward re-release of RCA’s original
1965 LP. Nevertheless, Vocalion have sensibly paired Boeing Boeing with Hefti’s
soundtrack album, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung you in the closet and I’m Feelin’
So Sad (1967). A much darker comedy and based upon the stage play by Arthur L.
Kopit, the film version starred Rosalind Russell, Robert Morse and Barbara
Harris. Hefti’s music offers a rather bizarre mix of flavours, with its main
theme song (a kid’s ditty of sorts) performed by a children’s chorus. There is
also a good deal of Bossa Nova beats and a rather nice Latin infused love
theme. Again, it is typical of that very comfortable Mancini Sixties
environment. Listen out in particular to the track ‘This is Mother’ and you
might just pick up more than a hint of Hefti’s Batman’s backbeat. Hefti’s Oh
Dad is another short score, and another straight reworking of the original album
- coming in at just 24 minutes
probably fair to assume that either of these scores (in their individual
capacity) would tend to struggle. However, as a pairing they actually work very
well and complement each other seamlessly. They achieve a rather nice balance
and as a result, a very enjoyable collection of Neal Hefti’s film music emerges.
The accompanying booklet consists of just a 2 Panel (4 page) insert containing
the original album notes – which is a shame. Thankfully, Vocalion’s excellent audio
production of the two albums makes it a worthwhile purchase.