the break-up of Emerson, Lake and Palmer at the end of the 1970s, Keith Emerson
ventured into the world of film soundtrack composition with his score for
Italian director Dario Aregento’s horror film Inferno in 1980. This, in turn,
led to Emerson being commissioned to compose and perform the music for the
Sylvester Stallone film Nighthawks in 1981. From here a succession of film
scores were to follow for directors in Italy, Japan and the United States. At
the Movies gathers together Emerson’s music for seven movies including
Nighthawks, Best Revenge, Inferno, La Chiesa (The Church), "Muderock,
Harmagedon and Godzilla Final Wars.
One (US Movies) contains 2 full soundtracks. Firstly, there is Nighthawks
(1981) an enjoyable cop thriller from Sylvester Stallone. The movie co-starred
Billy Dee Williams as Stallone’s partner, Lindsey Wagner (of TVs Bionic Woman
fame) as the love interest and Rutger Hauer as terrorist Heymar Reinhardt.
Emerson’s music, in consideration of its period, works very well indeed. Many
composers, including the likes of orchestral masters such as Jerry Goldsmith,
were experimenting tentatively with electronic music and synths during this
film making period, and many failed miserably. However, Emerson appears to
address the balance rather impressively. If you possess the patience to
overlook a few genuinely cheesy moments – such as ‘Nighthawkin’ and ‘I'm a man’
which contain a vocal style reminiscent of the dying disco era – than you are
in for a treat. There is some fine dramatic scoring here. Its main theme works
very well - listen carefully and you may even pick up on a motif which is not
too dissimilar to that of ELP’s ‘Fanfare for the common man’. The soundtrack is
sometimes deep and broody – sometimes light and soulful. ‘Tramway’ for instance
is a tense and edgy piece that never seems to rely permanently on synths –
Emerson instead feels confident enough to introduce and experiment – and in
this case – adds a delicate sound of a whirling police siren as part of the
soundscape. All in all, Nighthawks still works very well – which is a pleasant
second half of the CD contains the soundtrack of John Trent’s Bad Revenge
(1984) which appears to be a European – British production? Nevertheless, it is
something of an obscure film which has disappeared under the radar. But it
contained a rather impressive cast including John Heard, John Rhys-Davies and
Michael Ironside. The story revolves around an American tourist in Spain who is
forced to take part in a $4 million drug deal, because his best friend has been
kidnapped and is being tortured by the drug kingpin who set up the operation.
The score begins with a somewhat lengthy orchestral suite (15.29) which serves
in setting the tone. Whistles, rhythmic clapping hands and maracas indicate a
strong European flavour. Bad Revenge certainly has a more established prog rock
feel to it, again there are some vocals which perhaps unflatteringly date the
score. But there are some real nice moments, too - The Dreamer, for instance is
the film’s love theme and is performed beautifully by simple piano and delicate
background synths. Because Bad Revenge is such a rarely seen movie, we don’t
ever enter this score with any preconceived ideas - no clues, which, whilst
refreshing, it can also, leave you a little empty. However, Bad Revenge is also
a very nice way to round off the first disc, look upon it as a generous bonus
and all will serve well.
Two (Italian Movies) contains 2 full soundtracks and an EP. Disc 2 begins with
Dario Argento’s Inferno (1980) the film in which Emerson cut his teeth in terms
of film music. Inferno is a wonderful score, opening with a truly beautiful
theme, which is so often the case with Italian horror films. However, there is
a rich diversity throughout the score; tracks such as Taxi Ride provide a clear
example of Emerson’s classically trained background and his virtuosity as an
accomplished pianist. Sarah in the Library Vaults also highlights his flair for
tense, dramatic scoring with the aid of lengthy, unsettling strings. Whilst
Mater Tenebrarum explodes like an assault on the senses and becomes a full
blown synth orientated operetta. The soundtrack as a whole remains quite superb
and bristles with a seemingly eternal energy.
is an EP containing music (Four tracks) from Michele Soavi’s La Chiesa (The
Church) (1989). The film told of an old Gothic cathedral, built over a mass
grave, which develops strange powers. The Church trap a number of people inside
with ghosts from a 12th Century massacre seeking to resurrect an ancient demon
from the bowels of the Earth. Emerson’s music for La Chiesa takes on a much
darker element, the emphasis is centred very much on its gothic surroundings.
Much of its fifteen minutes are brooding, tense and full of dread, but Emerson
does dabble with some electronic percussion which does inject a burst of much
off Disc 2 is Emerson’s score for Lucio Fulci’s Murderock (Uccide a passo di
danza)(1984). By Fulci’s standards, Muderock was something of a standard
thriller which saw the owner of a prestigious New York ballet school team up
with a male model in order to solve a series of bizarre murders of a few of the
students. The soundtrack is something of a mixed bag - following a fast paced
opening theme, the score wastes little time in reverting to a very dated vocal
(Not so innocent) provided by Doreen Chanter. Hereafter, the album takes on a
very mainstream life. Instrumental keyboard pieces are broken up with some nice
individual cues, Prelude to Candice is a sweet, subtle composition, and Coffee
Time provides some light Jazzy relief (and a rare excursion) before we are
launched back into a standard prog rock landscape. The score concludes with a
lift in the shape of The Spilone, a funky bass driven track that seems somewhat
out of place with what has preceded it.
3 (Japanese Movies) consists of 2 full soundtracks starting off with
Harmagedon: The Great Battle with Genma, a science fiction anime movie released
in 1983. Emerson’s score for this rarely seen movie is probably the lightest
from this box set. The music is pretty safe throughout – entertaining organ
riffs dominate and provide a jolly enough experience if this is your kind of
thing. Totalling some 18 minutes in length, it is thankfully rather short.
finish disc 3, there is the score to Ryûhei Kitamura’s Godzilla Final Wars
(2004). This turned out to be something very different. I found myself quite
enjoying this score. Perhaps it was due to the fast forwarding - a quantum leap
of some 20 years in the evolution of Emerson’s film music? I’m not sure. The
music for Godzilla Final Wars is without doubt, more upbeat, and arguably down
to the advances - not only in Emerson’s compositions - but in technology and
instrumentation. The score is incredibly diverse – tracks such as EDF
Headquarters fight are pure club dance! EDF museum is a track bordering on
trance, whilst Infant Island has more than a passing resemblance to Jean Michel
Jarre’s ambient classic Équinoxe. All of which is wonderful, so why do I remain
confused? Well, I just can’t match this music to Godzilla… Featuring elements
of break beat and electronic rock mixed with orchestral elements, it is unlike
any other Godzilla soundtrack. A little research revealed that Emerson was only
given two weeks to write the score of the film and that only a small percentage
of his score made it to the final cut of the film. Having not seen the movie –
I can’t comment on what appeared in the film, but I’m led to believe it
contains more music by the director’s regular collaborators, Nobuhiko Morino
and Daisuke Yano, who were later hired to complete the rest of the film's
score. So, as a result, I’m assuming this is Emerson’s music for the film -
most of which did not make the final cut. However, as a standalone listen, the
soundtrack works well and benefits enormously from Akira Ifukube’s original
Godzilla theme arranged by Emerson - which is very good indeed!
this excellent set is always going to intrigue – as a collective, it is a fine
representation of Keith Emerson’s film work. Sound quality is absolutely spot
on, as is the packaging which uses individual card covers for each of its 3 CDs
and sits in a very strong clamshell box alongside a 16 page book. Released by
Esoteric Recordings and available through Cherry Red Records priced at £17.99,
it’s well worth taking a look at.
One of the most sought-after film scores in
the last 40 years has finally been released on CD. When released in 1968,
Michael Reeves’ classic Witchfinder
General (released in America as The Conqueror Worm) , starring Vincent Price (in arguably his finest role) featured an
equally impressive score by Paul Ferris. At the time of the film's initial
release a 45rpm record of the love theme was issued in England, but not a
complete soundtrack. Thought to be have been lost forever, the original
1/4-inch master tapes were found in the vaults of recording studio De Wolfe Ltd
Recently-discovered box containing reels of the original score.
The tapes, which are the original recordings, and not a copy, include
every cue used in the film, and are now available on a CD for fans of this film
(and the music) to enjoy at long last. Released by De Wolfe Ltd, the 3-sided
gatefold sleeve reproduces photos of the newly discovered tape box and reel
itself, and also comes with a 12-page booklet detailing the film's history. For
this author, this is the 'find' of the decade!
face it, 1979 was a particularly bad year for the Concord. It was the year in
which the ‘Airport’ franchise were about to deliver their latest offering in
the shape of the quite awful Airport ’79
The Concord. However, Airport ’79
was beaten (by several months) to the screen by a cheesy little flick from
Italy, Concord Affaire '79. Directed
by Ruggero Deodato, Concord Affaire '79
is more an action thriller rather than the formulated disaster flick that we
have come to know.Some commentators
have argued that it is actually far better than its ‘Airport’ rival, and to be honest, I would probably side with that
opinion.But let’s be clear from the
start, neither film will ever be described as a classic…
film was not a big budgeted project, the film’s restraints are apparent –
mainly through the use of stock footage of the British Airways supersonic
‘bird’ or the (less than seamless) shots of some average miniature models. But
of course, that is half of the film’s 70s charm and its era defining identity
stamp. Concord Affaire '79 separates
itself from the typical disaster genre film right from the start, largely by
having the plane crash in the first reel. There is no long laborious build up –
this plane is down, crashing into the ocean off the coast of Martinique and
leading us to believe there are no survivors. Of course, that’s not quite true,
Jean Beneyton, the young French flight attendant played by Mimsy Farmer, does
survive the crash. She is captured / rescued by the man responsible for the crash
– Milland, played by Hollywood veteran Joseph Cotton. The film in fact boasts a
string of established stars; Van Johnson plays Captain Scott, whilst Edmond
Purdom played Danker, one of Milland's leading henchmen. Heading the cast is
the ever enjoyable James Franciscus as Moses Brody, an American investigative
reporter who decides to go to the Antilles in an attempt to rescue Jean
Beneyton and uncover the story. From here on, it’s all rather good fun.
Cipriani’s score for Concord Affaire '79
marks its debut release on CD. It’s only previous release was on vinyl LP
consisting of 15 tracks and released in Japan on Polydor records. Whilst
Cipriani sets an energetic pace with his opening main title Danger flight, there are also plenty of
lush romantic cues. The score does however illustrate an age, due mainly to an
overwhelming backbeat of Euro disco, an era which perhaps does not transfer too
easily in today’s society. But of course, its style is very much of its time
and still retains a certain retro charm. The composer cleverly based his score
on variations of a single theme, which is hard to achieve unless in the hands
of someone such as Cipriani. The central theme is used to good effect,
sometimes melodic and rich or in the case of the underwater scenes there is an
edgy dreamlike quality attached. But above all else, Cipriani uses Concord Affaire '79 to indulge himself
deep into a world of synths and electronica, perhaps in reflection of the
futuristic, supersonic era of the film’s narrative. Synth theme in particular is a long, almost operatic homage to a
haunting electro heaven. However, Cipriani never seems to step too far over the
line, and later adds more familiar analogue instrumentation (such as strings)
to the synth sound and as a result, the blending works very well in deed.
Concord Affaire '79
is a curious, almost experimental score, yet Cipriani ultimately succeeds in
making it work. But there are moments where one is left considering, if
Cipriani perhaps deliberated over which route to take when composing this
score. It is certainly an eclectic mix of styles, both in mood and in its
instrumentation. For Cipriani collectors and soundtrack collectors in general, Concord Affaire '79 is well worth adding
to your collection. Consisting of 27 tracks, (7 of which did not make it into
the film), the CD is a huge improvement over the original album and its audio
has been beautifully remastered. Chris’ Soundtrack Corner has demonstrated a full
commitment to Cipriani’s work - with Concord
being the composer’s Sixth title in their increasingly impressive catalogue. We
can only hope there is more to come.
Cipriani's beautiful percussion based score for Joe D'Amato's ORGASMO NERO (1980)
(CSC 014) sits very nicely alongside Chris' Soundtrack Corner’s previously
released PAPAYA DEI CARAIBI (1978) (CSC 006). Both films are among D’Amato’s
island-based sexploitation features and both were scored by Italian composer
Cipriani. Both of Cipriani’s scores are superb examples of Mondo-exotica/erotica
film music. Beyond the percussion based tribal themes there are also many
subtle and romantic pieces that reflect the sun, sand and sexuality – each of
which were often the staple exponents of European cult cinema of the 70s. Yes,
these films were of course adult sub-genres, and in this case the focus was on American
born actor Richard Harrison who plays Paul, an ethnological researcher who is
investigating a little known island tribe. Paul is accompanied on the trip by
his wife Helen (played by Spanish actress Nieves Navarro). Helen subsequently begins
a sexual relationship with Haini (Lucia Ramirez), a beautiful black tribeswoman
who exercises a lusty ‘primitive’ sexuality. Thus begins a fractured love triangle
– a relationship that is further complicated when Paul and Helen take Haini
back with them to the big city. From here on, D’Amato relies on a very familiar
and tested formula, using each occurring situation as the premise for a soft
music is always reliable and often outlives the film itself, and this again
proves to be the case with ORGASMO NERO. Cipriani provides some rich Bossa
cuts, but you are never too far away from a piece of evocative, multi layered
ambiance. Cipriani wisely chose a contrast of styles, an intelligent decision
on his part – as it isn’t hard to imagine how other (and arguably lessor) composers
may have simply relegated it to one particular genre. Fans and collectors of Cipriani’s
work will certainly have little problem melting into this latest release and no
doubt take to it like an old familiar friend.
very proud to say that I have travelled alongside Cineploit Records since the
summer of 2012, and what a journey it is proving to be.Since then, they have featured regularly in
the print edition of Cinema Retro. Unfortunately, Cineploit’s latest two
releases arrived shortly after our print deadline; nevertheless, I wanted to
make sure they received the exposure they fully deserve.
Omaggio a Bruno Nicolai ed alle sue musiche
per il cinema Giallo - Orgasmo Sonore
efforts of Cineploit really do demand applauding. Over the past couple of years
their devotion to the music genres of Euro Horror, Poliziotti, Italian westerns
and Giallo have begun to find broader audiences. Among the label’s artists is
Orgasmo Sonore, a group that have already produced two previous albums of
diverse delights. For their latest release, they have focused on the work of Bruno
Nicolai. ‘Omaggio a Bruno Nicolai ed alle sue musiche per il cinema Giallo’ (Exploit
05) arrives in the form of a 12” 180g Vinyl mini album (45rpm) with a
beautifully Euro flavoured gatefold sleeve. Containing 6 tracks (26 mins), the
album is a tribute to Nicolai, selecting music from five of the composer’s
Giallo soundtracks from 1971-1975. Ok, so there may not be anything new here
for the Nicolai collectors, however, it has been put together exceptionally
well, and if anything serves as a perfect introduction to the composer’s
bulging body of work. The music is certainly faithful and true, ‘La Dama Rossa
Uccide Sette Volte’ (or The Lady in Red Kills Seven Times) (1972) kicks off the
album impressively, from its haunting childlike intro – right through to its
razor sharp Harpsichord strings. Whilst still beautiful, a track such Sergio
Martino’s Magico Incontro (1972) loses its edge to some degree – which is no
doubt due to the absent wistful tones of vocalist Edda Dell'Orso. Dell'Orso became
such an integral element of Nicolai’s (and Morricone’s) sound, it set an almost
unattainable level, and there the bridge becomes blatantly apparent.
Nevertheless, do not be deterred from this fine album If anything, I find adding
alternative or cover versions of my favourite composer’s work somewhat
welcoming, especially when produced with such impressive quality.Orgasmo Sonore has (unobtrusively) mixed
various sound bites to the music, which, as a result, also refreshes the entire
and band member François Rideau has delivered an excellent tribute to the
legendary composer. Oh, and to add a further dash of retro flavour, the record
is pressed in a glorious yellow vinyl with blood red splatter!Stylish, original and above all, hugely
enjoyable – it’s just a shame that it isn’t beefier in terms of its content. Regardless
of this, I have little doubt fans of Giallo will absolutely lap it up.
was great to hear the latest offering from Sospetto. Whilst Sospetto are
extremely modern in their execution, it is clear that they are heavily
influenced by the Giallo soundtrack traditions of the 60s and 70s. Every so
often, ripples of Fabio Frizzi and (arguably more often), the work of Euro-horror
specialists Goblin, seem to transcend from their music. Of course, for fans of Giallo
in particular, this isn’t a bad thing – and probably the reason why ‘Non
bussare alla porta del diavolo’ (Cine 07) will surely prove successful. As with
their previous album ‘Segni Misteriosi, Con Il Sangue Dipinto Sul Muro’ the
music is oppressive, ethereal and sometimes heavy. However, despite their
obvious influences, Sospetto have a unique talent of sounding both fresh and
unique. With this latest release, the German duo of Christian Rzechak and Hobo
Jeans have raised the bar to some degree, smoothing out some rough edges and
producing a much more polished album in the process. Tracks such as ‘Sulla
Strada Verso Il Nulla’ and ‘Viena Da Me’ are a pure delight, enhanced by the
laid back, lounge-like wordless vocals of Christine Marks - they are simply
crying out for a film to accommodate. On the flip side tracks such as ‘Citta
Che Esplode’ are sharp and funky, percussion driven pieces that wouldn’t sound
out of place in a Richard Roundtree Shaft film from the 70s.
seems key to this album, and there’s almost 35 minutes to enjoy spread over its
14 tracks. The packaging for Sospetto’s 180g LP comes in a super gatefold
sleeve with a design to fit seamlessly alongside the Giallo soundtracks of the
day. The LP is also available as a special set containing the 180g Vinyl, a CD
version of the album and a bonus DVD (PAL encoded only) containing a 23 minute
film by the group in 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). A classy album, and arguably the group’s
finest album to date.
Vocalion has treated us to a rather unique couple of albums. Visions of Eight (CDSML
8502) is a film about the personal dreams that make the Olympic Games transcend
the physical into the spiritual. When the Wolper Organization was granted the
authority to record the 1972 official film of the games, they elected to ignore
the traditional documentary approach in favour of the human stories that
emerged during the contests. Whilst the cameras recorded the tragic events
surrounding the death of the Israeli athletes, the film remains a non -
political tribute to all the contestants and to the spirit of the games. Eight
respected directors of the era were brought on board, each with a chance to
capture their separate visions. The producers commissioned three-time Academy Award
winner Henry Mancini to provide a score that captured the film’s international
spirit. Mancini handles the scoring rather well; it is full of his beautiful
melodies, whilst tracks such as ‘Spaced Out’ and ‘Soft Flight’ reveal an
otherworldly, dreamlike quality. It is an album that remains an essential part
of the composer’s body of work. If Visions of Eight was not enough to tempt
Mancini collectors, Vocalion have also added the rare 1977 album Just You and Me Together Love as a bonus. Vocalion’s CD marks the first time this
has been released on a digital format. A rather obscure piece, it features original
music by Mancini scored to the poems and narration of John Laws. Laws worked
for Australian radio and struck up a friendship with Mancini during several of
his tours in the country. It is a
pleasant enough listen and one that will certainly appeal to the Mancini
completists. The audio quality is what
one would come to expect from Vocalion with crisp clear sound, a nicely
produced booklet and production notes. Original British LP artwork has been
reproduced for the front cover, with the option of reversing to display the
original Japanese LP artwork – perfectly thought out and highly recommended!
Keep em coming!Darren Allison
latest release from their continuing series of popular Geoff Love re-releases
from the 70s is this pairing of a couple of glorious albums originally released by MFP Records, La musique de
Michel Legrand (MFP 2M046-95030) and La musique d’ Ennio Morricone (MFP
2M046-94653) (both 1973). What made these two albums unusual was the fact that
they were specifically produced for the European market. Later in 1975, both
were issued in the UK as a 2-LP set - The Music of Michel Legrand and Ennio
Morricone (EMI DUOS 1181). Legrand’s heartfelt melodies work perfectly for
Geoff Love’s style of Orchestration. The Windmills of your Mind and The Summer
of ’42 will of course always be considered among Legrand’s finest signature
pieces. However, Love brings a genuine sense of warmth to these covers,
satisfying the ear of the easy-listening enthusiasts without distracting too
far from the much remembered originals. There is certainly plenty of material
to cheer about; music from Lady Sings the Blues provides a rare opportunity to
listen to Legrand’s wonderful melancholic score. The Happy Ending is a 1969
film that doesn’t perhaps conjure up too many memories, but chances are –
you’ll instantly recognise ‘What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life?’, a
beautiful theme from the film that enjoys longevity much more than the film
itself. The album is an impressive compilation and a joy from beginning to end.
second half of the CD focuses on Ennio Morricone. As with the nature of
Morricone’s compositions, they are dauntingly unique, and one can only imagine
exhaling a sigh of tense disillusionment at the prospect of taking on the man’s
work. However, Love handles the challenge well, kicking off proceedings with a
very nice, haunting version of Harmonica’s theme from Once Upon a Time in the
West. It is only when we reach the “Dollars Trilogy” that the album appears to
suffer slightly. The renditions are not unlistenable - but they just seem to lose
the boldness or weight of their unconventional instrumentation. Cymbals, rumbling trumpets and even flutes simply
appear weak and lack in sustaining their vibrant punch. What is perhaps
apparent to this listening experience is the absence of any wordless vocals,
often provided by long term Morricone collaborator Edda Dell'Orso. That said,
the epic nature of the CD’s closing track (from Once Upon a Time in the West),
seems to manage very nicely indeed, but one can only wonder what Love might had
achieved had he been afforded the luxury
of a full choir. Overall, the album is a
delight and very easy on the ears.
regards to production values, La musique de Michel Legrand / La musique d’
Ennio Morricone (Vocalion CDLK 4509) retains Vocalion’s very high standards. Beautifully
remastered by Michael J. Dutton from the original analogue tapes, the CD
ensures that our ongoing trip down ‘MFP Lane’ continues to be an extremely
happy experience. Long may it continue!
good friends at Vocalion Records have released three excellent CDs. First is
the super score to Bernard Kowalski’s 1969 B-movie thriller STILETTO (Vocalion
CDSML 8501). Starring Alex Cord in the lead role and with support from Britt
Ekland, Patrick O’Neal, Joseph Wiseman and Roy Scheider, the film was based on
the Harold Robbins novel of the same name. Whilst Stiletto was never going to
be an Oscar contender, as so many of these great little thrillers proved, it
did gather something of a cult following. More often than not, restricted
budgets and tight schedules surprisingly lead to great production values, with
artists and crews having to think instinctively on their feet and with little
time to elaborate. Stiletto music by American composer Sid Ramin is a truly
evocative score. Ramin’s work was often uncredited and as a result, perhaps
never received the recognition he ultimately deserved. Stiletto certainly
highlighted Ramin’s ability to score a dramatic action movie. Pulsating Hammond
organ, pounding percussion and golden brass lines - certainly draw similarities
to the work of leading composers of the day such as Lalo Schifrin and Roy Budd.
The music implies a rich, Mediterranean vibe which captures the film’s international
romanticism. Stiletto’s score is, without doubt, the film’s dominant feature -
the enduring survivor.
release marks the score’s debut on CD. As a direct re-issue of the original CBS
LP (CBS Records S 70062), the music has been beautifully remastered by Michael
J. Dutton from the Original Analogue tapes. Considering the low key nature of
the movie, Oliver Lomax has provided a richly detailed booklet covering both the
production of the film and its spectacular music. To their credit, Vocalion
have also included a reversible cover containing the original LP artwork and
the splendid British colour artwork (which always gets my vote). Vocalion have
again proved that big things are often salvageable from relatively minor films,
and their foresight can only be applauded.
Sony has released the original soundtrack to Robert Altman's 1970 anti-war comedy M*A*S*H as a burn-to-order title. The original vinyl version of the soundtrack, issued in conjunction with the film, was considered quite unique at the time because the bulk of the tracks consisted of dialogue from the film as opposed to composer Johnny Mandel's score. A criticism was that the original release only provided a truncated vocal version of the main theme, which is actually titled Suicide is Painless. In 1995, a remastered CD of the soundtrack was released with the full version of the song along with some bonus tracks and it is this version that has just been reissued by Sony. With the exception of the brilliant title theme, most of Mandel's amusing score is only heard in snippets, with the dialogue from the film still providing the basis for the content. It's rather odd to remember that in the pre-home video era, listening to dialogue from a film such as this was a rare treat. The success of the subsequent TV series has led many people to forget that there initially was an Oscar-nominated film that inspired the show. Thus, you can relive the zany wisecracks of the original Hawkeye and Trapper John (Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould) interacting with Hot Lips (Sally Kellerman), Frank Burns (Robert Duvall) and Radar (Gary Burghoff, the only cast member carried over from the film to the TV series). A third lead in the film was Duke Forrest, played by Tom Skerritt, but the character was not imported to the TV show, though he is present on the album.
With the dialogue compromising the bulk of the soundtrack, you can at least revel in Suicide is Painless in its uncut glory. The song was deemed too controversial for TV so an instrumental version was used on the series. The brilliance of the lyrics resonate even today, as the gentle, seemingly benign folk song extols the joys of offing oneself. Shockingly, the lyrics were written by Robert Altman's 14 year-old son, though he did not receive a screen but is said to have made a fortune in royalties over the decades.
The M*A*S*H soundtrack is certainly an oddity, coming at a time when albums derived from hit films consisted entirely of music. However, if Altman broke the rules with his off-the-wall anti-Establishment gags, it seems only suitable that the soundtrack did the same. It's a great deal of fun to return to the days when audio snippets of your favorite films were as close as you could get to experiencing them, at least until cut-up, watered down versions would be released to television.
Following on the successful premise of burn-to-order DVDs, Sony has expanded the process to its audio line, re-issuing retro-based albums on CD that have not been officially available for decades. One of the more notable releases is Come Spy With Me by Hugo Montenegro and His Orchestra. Montenegro composed original themes for TV series and feature films during the 1960s including Lady in Cement, the Matt Helm movies The Ambushers and The Wrecking Crew as well as the music for the 1969 John Wayne-Rock Hudson starrer The Undefeated. However, his greatest success was as the king of cover versions of popular movie and TV themes. Montenegro's album of cover music from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (nevertheless released as the "original" soundtrack) was so successful that it spawned a sequel album. Similarly, his cover version of Ennio Morricone's magnificent theme for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly became an international smash and earned him a gold record despite the fact that his rendition was positively anemic compared to Morricone's original. Nevertheless, Montenegro and his orchestra knew how to arrange music for popular tastes and his future influence on the music industry was characterized by helping to popularize the Moog synthesizer. Among his more successful albums was the aforementioned Come Spy With Me, the title of which was derived from a 1967 low-grade James Bond spoof. Nevertheless, it had a catchy title theme (originally written by Bob Flowers) and the cover of Montenegro's album had some eye-catching graphics of comely spy girls. The tracks include Montenegro's instrumental version of Come Spy With Me (the original had lyrics) as well an eclectic selection of title tracks from popular TV series and feature films:
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
Our Man Flint
The James Bond Theme
Purists may balk at Montenegro's jazzy and often funky renditions of these themes, but if his purpose was to simply emulate the originals there would be no point in producing this album.
It's terrific to have a retro treasure like this back in circulation. Break out your old smoking jacket, grab a fine cigar and pour yourself a glass of wine...for the duration of this record, you'll be transported back to the glory days of spy movie music and the cover artists who celebrated the genre.
Tall Texan (1953) (MMM-1974) was another low-budget B Western movie and starred
Lloyd Bridges, Lee J. Cobb and Marie Windsor. It was directed by Elmo Williams,
(the Oscar-winning editor of High Noon). The basis of The Tall Texan was a familiar
one, a collection of five travellers set out in a wagon through Comanche
territory. The group includes a tinhorn and his woman, a sheriff escorting an
accused murderer, and a sea captain. After a renegade Indian tells them about a
virgin gold field as thanks for saving his life, the group becomes fixated on
the gold and greed becomes their main objective. Bert Shefter, this time
working without his collaborator Paul Sawtell, took a thematic approach to this
rather rich sounding score. Shefter provides themes to several of the central
characters, including a menacing (if rather traditional) woodwind and native
drum rhythms for the Indians. Shefter also and makes good use of a couple of
traditional standards, Yankee Doodle Dandy can be heard, and is gently woven
into the fabric of Luther Adler’s character Joshua Tinnen. The composer also
introduces the old sea shanty Blow the Man Down which works surprisingly well as
a dramatic motif. So, is there anything that makes this stand out from any
other B movie western score of the time? Well, yes, actually there is. The Celesta
is an instrument that conjures up numerous magical memories. Today, it is
probably more associated with the Harry Potter themes or perhaps traditional
arrangements of Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. However, Shefter
took its distinctive sound and applied it to the film’s silent character, the gold.
The Celesta was certainly an inspired choice of instrumentation by Mr Shefter.
If rousing western scores from the 50s are your thing, you are sure to enjoy
this nugget. Another excellent 20 page booklet (written by David Schecter) is
included with the CD.
fascinating collection from David Schecter’s Monstrous movie music continues to
reiterate their place in the soundtrack market. Their tireless efforts,
attention to detail and commitment to explore new genres, continue to feed our
high expectations. Check them out for yourself at: http://www.mmmrecordings.com/
Sacrifice (1959) (MMM-1973) starred David DaLie as Samson, an American hunter
on a safari in Guatemala. While tracking game, Samson encounters a strange
ceremony in which a young woman named Morena (Angelica Morales) is to be
sacrificed at the bidding of her father to appease the gods following a vicious
animal attack. Morena is able to escape, and Samson gives chase, hoping to
rescue her before the tribesmen can capture her and complete the ritual. Sound
like drivel? Well… you’d be right. So let’s waste little time and talk about
the finer side of Virgin Sacrifice, the team of Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter. Sawtell
and Shefter are no strangers to Monstrous Movie Music soundtracks, with
previous releases including Kronos, It! The Terror From Beyond Space and The
Last Man on Earth. For collectors of Sawtell and Shefter, this rarely seen
exploitation film contains a rather unique and satisfying score from the pair.
Diverse and subjective in its approach, the score leads us through the beauty
and dangers of its Guatemalan jungle setting. The music is peppered with
expressive and melancholy cues. The film’s main title is both tranquil and
dramatic, before both male and female chanting is applied, perhaps in order to
remind us that this is a jungle movie. Tracks such as Medal of Death make
clever use of keyboard tricks (provided by Jack Cookerly’s ‘magic box’ organ)
and work to startling effect. Flittering clarinets and brooding flutes maintain
that the majority of score is designed to hold us in suspense whilst providing
a sense of mystery throughout. However, it is the use of Hammond organ that
really provides the pay-off, used sparingly in tracks such as Through the Cave,
it makes a wonderfully spooky touch. At 54 minutes, Virgin Sacrifice is a
generous score that benefits from some fine orchestration. Collectors of
Sawtell in particular, might well be reminded of his music from the Tarzan
films he wrote for RKO. Again, an excellent 20 page booklet provides a unique
and well researched written history of the production.
considering the scores for movie Westerns, film music collectors often refer to
classics such as Max Steiner's The Searchers, Dimitri Tiomkin's Rio Bravo or Victor
Young's Shane, all of which are, of course, fabulous scores. Monstrous Movie Music
have again, (and in keeping with their refreshing style), ventured into new
territories with the release of Paul Dunlap’s Western score to Hellgate (1952)
(MMM-1972). Rather surprisingly, this CD marks the first full release to
feature Dunlap’s film music. The composer was incredibly prolific throughout
his career scoring diverse projects which spanned from many of The Three
Stooges movies to the cult classic AIP horrors including the Teenage
Frankenstein/Werewolf series of films. For a B movie western, there was something
a little different about Hellgate – it was really rather good! Hellgate was
directed by Charles Marquis Warren, a tough all-rounder who would go on to
produce the popular TV series Rawhide. The film boasted a strong, testosterone
fuelled cast featuring Sterling Hayden, James Arness and Ward Bond.Hayden plays a veterinarian who is wrongly
convicted of guerrilla activities shortly after the Civil War. The prison camp is tough and he has to survive
the sadistic commandant (Bond), a cruel guard (Robert Wilke), and deceitful
prisoners like Arness. Throw in some Pima Indians (who patrol the canyon walls)
in order to catch any escapees for a reward, prisoner punishment that involves
being baked in metal coffins or whipped within an inch of their lives and you
have a Western story that is well above the expected standard of Poverty Row
Lippert Pictures. Dunlap’s music is incredibly dramatic throughout, but it
isn’t your regular western score. His main theme begins with heavy brass and
drums, but slips into a more solemn, string based theme before it builds gently
and provides a sense of hope. It sets the tone perfectly and emphasises the
film’s opposing themes of hatred vs. forgiveness. Tracks such as “Kearne Makes
Lunge at Nye” illustrate Dunlap’s ability to create genuine excitement by
employing his full range of brass and string sections. Quality, for the best
part of this score, is highly acceptable. MMM took the decision to release
Dunlap’s original recordings in place of re-recording his score, which I
believe was the correct option. Whilst there is some minor noise (from the
surviving acetates) evident on a handful of tracks, it does not detract or
spoil the acoustic soundscape and naturally maintains the composer’s original
work. As a bonus, Monstrous movie music has generously included Dunlap’s excellent
score for The Lost Continent (1951). A simple enough story, The Lost Continent
successfully merged two fantasy elements, combining rocket ships with roaming
dinosaurs on a south pacific island. Making good use of an increased budget,
Dunlap was able to employ a 47 piece orchestra, and it was warranted – given
the enormity of aircraft, rockets, natural disasters and battling monsters that
confronted the composer. The result was a highly enjoyable score, and whilst
some of the music has been lost in time, the 28mins of music included here make
this a CD that is hard to ignore. We can only hope that there is a lot more of
Paul Dunlap’s music to come. Included is a great 20 page booklet that covers
just about every aspect of the music, composer and the film, all written (in
exquisite detail) by David Schecter.
its heavy percussion based main title, She Demons (1958) (MMM-1971) opens with
a sense of heart pounding excitement and sets the tone for what is to follow.
Nicholas Carras’s jungle-based score is threaded with dramatic cues of which
the composer makes impressive use of his 22 piece orchestra. Whist She Demons
(as a movie) was never going to attain the title of ‘classic’, Carras’s music,
as is often the case, promotes the film to a higher level. Cues such as Escape
and Nazis in Pursuit make excellent use of the orchestra’s brass and string
section. Carras provides a hopeful, triumphant end title that runs concurrent
with a few lonesome drum beats which provides continuity with the film’s
central themes. For an isolated island movie (occupied by scantily clad girls,
caged mutant women and Nazis) they probably don’t come any better than this.
MMM have previously delighted us with a couple of superb Carras scores such as
Missile to the Moon and Frankenstein’s Daughter. Their commitment to the
composer’s work has proven to be a fruitful decision as She Demons is certainly
one of his most accomplished scores.
Doubling up very nicely with She Demons is
Guenther Kauer’s score to another low budget slice of sci-fi, The Astounding
She-Creature (1957). If Carras’s score for She Demons was impressive, Kauer’s
is simply enlightening. Granted, Kauer’s score was recorded using a 45 piece
orchestra and as a result, the sound is a great deal richer. Perhaps more
remarkably, Kauer sent his 33 minute written score to a friend in Germany who
conducted and recorded the music (performed beautifully by The Stuttgart
Symphony Orchestra) without screening the actual film. Cue timings were sent,
but it often meant that final cues were not always precise. However, what emerged
was a wonderful sounding score. Ronnie Ashcroft’s rather poor film succumbed to
many edits and, as a result, the final music mix suffered. Thankfully, all of
Kauer’s score is delivered here and is an orchestral delight. It is a
beautifully crafted and intelligently written composition that really has no
right to accompany such a lacklustre movie. Like many sci-fi classics, there is
an undeniable ambiance that is certainly Herrmannesque in its delivery, and
that can’t be a bad thing. Included is a super 20 page booklet that covers just
about every aspect of the music, composer and the film, all written (in
exquisite detail) by David Schecter.
La-La Land has released Jerry Goldsmith's original soundtrack score for the 1968 Western Bandolero as a limited edition CD. The release includes the original album originally released on vinyl as well as never-before-released tracks. Curiously, the cover art depicts James Stewart and Dean Martin - though Raquel Welch is not depicted. On the original album, Martin could not be depicted because his image could only be used on Reprise Records during that period. The same thing occurred with the soundtrack for Lady in Cement- which could not depict the film's star Frank Sinatra. To order the album click here
Contributing writer Nick Anez supplies us with the following facts:
Regarding the notice of the new Bandolero CD soundtrack on the Cinema Retro website, I have the original LP album. It is true, as the article states, that Dean Martin is not depicted on the album's cover. But what is even stranger is that his name is not even mentioned. On both the front and back of he album, the cast is listed as "James Stewart, Raquel Welch, George Kennedy in Bandolero." The album has a gatefold cover and opens out. Inside are six photos from the film, none of Martin There is also a complete summary of the story. As each character's name is mentioned, the name of the actor portraying him or her is mentioned afterward in parentheses - except for Martin's character. No actor is listed for his character. It's ridiculous. Dean probably couldn't have have cared less.
Retro Responds: Thanks for the interesting facts, Nick....Sinatra's name wasn't used on the Lady in Cement soundtrack, either, if we recall correctly. Talk about stringent adherence to contractual terms!
Intrada Records has announced the premiere of Jerry Goldsmith original soundtrack scores for two great Frank Sinatra films: Von Ryan's Express and The Detective. Both scores appear on the same special edition CD. For details click here to order from Screen Archives.
The web site SpyVibe informs us that some ultra groovy 60's spy soundtracks from classic TV series are being made available...some in glorious mono! Among them is a repressing of the original soundtrack from The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. Click here for more info
Screen Archives has released Jerry Fielding's Oscar-nominated score for Sam Peckinpah's 1969 classic The Wild Bunch as a 3-CD special edition with the complete score, remastered soundtrack album and collector's booklet.
Click on image above to order from La-La Land Records.
Writer Thomas Vinciguerra pays homage to the legendary themes from the original Star Trek in conjunction with a major boxed set of soundtrack CDs from the series released by La-La Land Records.. Click here to read the Wall Street Journal article.
The 1976 Dino De Laurentiis remake ofKing Kong(starring Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange) was one of the first scores John Barry composed after settling in Los Angeles from his native England. Although the composer was forced to write quickly due to production delays, he provided a powerful score that reflects both the film’s exotic adventure setting and the love story at its emotional center.
An unusual variety of melodic ideas to characterize Kong and a strong romantic theme endow the score with a lush sensuality and emotional poignancy that balances the harsher and more horrific elements. Barry’s music ranges from the primitive dances of island natives to the soft saxophone strains of contemporary romance without missing a beat.
FSM released the 1976 Reprise Records album master of King Kong in 2005 when no additional material was available. But now, with the cooperation of Paramount Pictures, we are able to premiere John Barry’s complete score newly mixed and mastered from the 2" 24- and 16-track masters on the first disc of this 2CD Deluxe Edition. We again present the album master on disc 2, augmenting it with several film alternates to make this the most complete possible representation of Barry’s effort.
Informative notes by John Takis, numerous film stills and dynamic original poster art comprise FSM’s colorful 20-page booklet.
If viewers of King Kong care about the hulking creature, it is in no small part because Barry makes them care. Through his art, painstakingly preserved and lovingly presented on this 2CD set, listeners are able to see past the mask of the monster to the infinitely lonely soul locked within.
The Molly Maguires was director Martin Ritt's gritty look at Irish coal miners working in Pennsylvania in the 19th century. The film was a costly financial flop despite starring Sean Connery and Richard Harris, but that doesn't diminish its merits as an excellent film. One of the best aspects of the movie is Henry Mancini's wonderful score. Click here to listen
WARNING SHOT and other themes composed by
Jerry Goldsmith - SI ZENTNER
Vocalion is a company whose soundtracks feature regularly in our printed
version of Cinema Retro. Just missing the deadline on this occasion are two
superb debut releases, one of which includes Jerry Goldsmith’s excellent score
(performed by Si Zentner) for Warning Shot (1967). Originally released on LP
(LST 7498), Vocalion’s new CD (CDLK 4470) has smartly doubled up the release to
include Si Zentner’s 1964 album From Russia With Love (originally released LP
LST 7353). Warning Shot is a relatively short score, but as with the original
album, it includes some great interpretations of Goldsmith favourites such as
the Von Ryan march, The Prize, A Patch of Blue and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Warning Shot is a film that generally tends to slip under the radar. However,
it’s a neat little thriller starring the ever reliable David Janssen and a host
of other great character performers. Made in the 1967, it came to Janssen
during the same year that his enormously successful TV series The Fugitive
entered its final season. Goldsmith’s music plays perfectly as an accompaniment
to this minor action thriller. The composer’s score in its original form has
never been released on any format, but Zentner’s arrangement does a highly
capable job of capturing the essence of Goldsmith’s composition. As always,
Vocalion have dressed this release to replicate the original album, adapting
the LP artwork to also incorporate Zentner’s From Russia with Love sleeve. From
Russia with Love (as with Warning Shot) contains a straight remastered version
of the album content. Its twelve tracks include a superb array of crime jazz themes
from the day including Burkes Law, Mr Lucky, Dragnet, The Third Man, Peter
Gunn, Charade and the aforementioned The Fugitive. Vocalion’s latest CD
provides a cracking stereo mix and again proves that modern day collectors are
only too eager in welcoming these charismatic crime jazz classics from the
past. Keep ‘em coming!
WAR MOVIE THEMES – GEOFF LOVE and his Orchestra
year Vocalion made the smart move to begin re-releasing the extremely popular
series of MFP albums from the 1970s by Geoff Love and his Orchestra. Recent
releases included Big Terror Movie Themes, Big Suspense Themes and Bond Movies.
Now, Vocalion have released one of the most popular titles in the series, BIG
WAR MOVIE THEMES (CDLK 4468). The original 1971 LP (MFP 5171) has arguably
become an iconic image. Culturally, and perhaps because of its original budget
price, the album found its way into thousands of vinyl collections across the
UK. Making its debut on CD, BIG WAR THEMES has lost none of its power to
thrill. Unlike similar cover compilations (which had a tendency to sound either
weak or tipped in comparison), these beautifully recorded themes retain an epic
and sumptuous edge. Love and his Orchestra are clearly on top of their game and
one can only imagine the brisling atmosphere that immersed Studio 1 at the
Abbey road studios. The album offers a generous collection of the most
memorable war themes including Ron Goodwin’s Where Eagles Dare, Battle of
Britain and 633 Squadron, Dimitri Tiomkin’s The Guns of Navarone and Maurice
Jarre’s enigmatic Lawrence of Arabia. A wonderful remastering job provided by
Michael J Dutton helps propel this vintage recording to a worthy high end,
professional standard. As a bonus, Vocalion have also doubled up on this CD and
included Geoff Love’s 1972 album BIG CONCERTO MOVIE THEMES. Originally released
on LP (MFP 5261), the album concentrates on the cinematic use of classical
themes. As one would expect, there is a more serious edge to this collection of
music. However, it remains a glorious reminder of how the influences of
classical composers and their works have lived on through cinema history.
Vocalion’s continued commitment to these long lost classic albums is certainly
worthy of the highest respect. - Darren Allison, Cinema Retro Soundtrack
La La Land Records has issued a 2-CD original soundtrack recording of Dimitri Tiomkin's score for the 1963 epic 55 Days at Peking. The Samuel Bronston film remains woefully underrated in its telling of the rebellion by the Chinese Boxer movement against American and European governments that they perceived had encroaching influence in China. The resulting clash saw the U.S. and European garrisons fighting against overwhelming odds. The film, which mingles the merits of the political stances of both sides with major battle sequences, starred Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner and David Niven. Tiomkin's wonderful score can now be enjoyed in its true glory- but you'd better hurry. This is limited to only 2500 units. Click here to order
The label Buysoundtrax has released James Horner's score for Roger Corman's 1980 sci-fi movie Battle Beyond the Stars as a limited edition CD. The film starred Richard Thomas, Robert Vaughn and George Peppard. Only 1,000 CDs have been pressed. Click here to order from Film Score Monthly,.
Peter Collinson’s directorial career may have been cut
tragically short (he died of cancer at the age of 44), but the British born
director left an indelible mark in cinema during the latter half of the 1960s.
Collinson made a powerful debut with the disturbing The Penthouse (1967), a
film which caused Film Review magazine to comment, ‘quite brilliantly
achieved.’ In 1969 his contribution to cinema would become eternally cemented
with the classic The Italian Job, a film that turned Michael Caine’s popular
Charlie Croker into a movie legend. In between these two projects, Collinson
directed the gritty drama Up the Junction (1968). The film centred on a mixed
class romance between middle-class Polly (Suzy Kendall) and working-class Peter
(Dennis Waterman). Most of Up the Junction’s soundtrack (RPM 189) was written
by Mike Hugg and Manfred Man. It may have been perceived by some as a
bold move on Collinson’s part, but the director was more than happy with the
eventual outcome, ‘The result was incredible’ Collinson said. ‘They had
captured the heart of the picture. Their music belonged to the picture, it was
not superimposed.’ The music has a mellow mix of harmonious songs and
instrumentals which capture perfectly the heady social movement of swinging London. The film’s main
theme, which was also released as a single (Feb 3rd 1968), contained
the B-side track Sleepy Hollow, a song that failed to make it to the original
soundtrack album. However, RPM records have included this rarity on the CD as a
welcome bonus track. The fold out sleeve notes are very informative and contain
a nice selection of tie in memorabilia as well as a choice of both original U.K. and U.S. album art. Up the Junction’s
is a great slice of 60s social history and representative of London’s cultural past. Check it out for
yourself at http://rpmrecords.co.uk
If you like music from vintage spy thrillers, you should check out the Poker / Cherry Red Records release James Bond in Action / Themes for Secret Agents (DeckCD2 007). This is another inspired and excellently produced double CD set. Featuring the great Roland Shaw and his Orchestra, the release is packed with tracks from four of his original Decca / London albums, James Bond in Action (1965), Themes for Secret Agents (1966), World of James Bond Adventure (1971) and Phase 4 World of Spy Thrillers (1971). Shaw had the unique ability to add a certain gloss and excitement to an already established exciting sound. The much respected British orchestral arranger was a prolific worker, with a reputation and passion for high quality music. This new release showcases that passion rather perfectly. For anyone perhaps unfamiliar with Shaw’s important contribution to the genre, this is arguably the finest way of discovering it. The audio reproduction over the CD’s mammoth 37 tracks is nothing short of crisp, clean and clinical. The result of which stands as a testament to Shaw’s experiments in Phase 4 stereo. The CD packaging provides a brief, but informative piece on Shaw and includes a couple of nice full page reproductions of Decca’s original album art. Essential listening for both fans of the genre and soundtrack enthusiasts in general; you’d certainly feel a lot better for adding this set to your collection. For more information check it out at www.cherryred.co.uk
The Monster that challenged the World (Monstrous Movie Music Label #MMM-1961) is a film that refuses to fade away. A firm favourite from the 1950s big monster cycle, (or the big caterpillar variety to be precise), The Monster that Challenged the World (1957) is fondly remembered and continues to find new audiences. Arriving for the first time on CD, the score has remained high on many ‘wanted’ lists. The soundtrack’s composer Heinz Roemheld had won an Academy Award for his work on the James Cagney classic Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). However, his work on Universal classics such as Dracula’s Daughter, The Black Cat, The Invisible Man, The Mole People and The Creature Walks Among Us, would always see him welcomed back to the popular genre with open arms. The score is a good dramatic piece of work, there is little in the way of gentle underscoring, even though the film has more dialogue than most other monster movies. Instead, the music is more purposeful, almost intent on advancing forward. It’s evident that the recording sessions remained free of any real budgetary restraints, and as a result the music attains a level far above its B movie grade. Monstrous Monster Music has again applied their extraordinary dedication in producing an excellent trilogy of essential monster mayhem.
Project Moon Base (MMM-1960) from the Monstrous Movie Music label is an exciting score and one of the earliest to feature the sci-fi signature sound of the Theremin. Made in 1953, Project Moon Base began life as an intended television series. It wasn’t until about a week into shooting that the decision was made to turn it into a theatrical movie. As a result, the film suffered in terms of the production values, a point accentuated when it was shown on cinema screens. However, composer Herschel Burke Gilbert’s score seemed to sustain a rather better longevity than the film itself. Gilbert was highly inventive when it came to recording the score. Working to a very tight budget, and with very few musicians, Gilbert employed an amplification technique in order to make the sound larger. Gilbert’s use of electronic bass also helped to produce a rather unique and strange sound quality. The composer’s flair for creativity clearly shines through and stands as fine example of brilliance over budget. The CD also includes Gilbert’s powerhouse score for the crime thriller Open Secret. It is also worth mentioning that Gilbert’s score for this movie became so popular, that certain cues were revived for the opening season of George Reeves’ 1950s TV series The Adventures of Superman. Overall, it’s a handsomely produced package that will no doubt appeal to fans of the genre.
Classic sci-fi and horror form the basis of two very popular soundtrack genres. My good friend David Schecter of Monstrous Movie Music recently sent me some of their new releases starting off with It! The Terror from Beyond Space (MMM-1959). The CD is part of their current series of Original MGM Motion Picture Soundtracks. Often cited as the original inspiration behind Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), Edward L. Cahn’s tautly directed 1958 film, remains a favourite among fans and perceived by some as a minor classic of the genre. Marking its first ever soundtrack release, and in its entirety, the score stands up well as an excellent example of evoking both a sense of threat and foreboding. Composed by Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter, the music offers both a subtlety in conveying the isolation of space, and an intense attacking style, reserved for the film’s more dramatic sequences. The score benefits from an array of inventive electronic sounds, courtesy of Jack Cookerly’s delightful ‘magic box’, the history of which, makes for an extremely enjoyable read and included among the extensively detailed 16 page booklet. The disc includes 26 tracks in all, 2 of which come in the form of bonus tracks. Great fun and great to see this score finally released.
With the restrictive nature of deadlines for our printed magazine, it is perhaps inevitable that I often receive some terrific releases after the deadline date. Last month was particularly frustrating, as there were many excellent CDs which I would have clearly wished to feature. Here is a new release that didn't make it into the magazine by deadline time.Themes for Super Heroes / Big Terror Movie Themes (Vocalion CDSML 8476) is a truly wonderful compilation of two classic albums. If the album covers do look familiar, you may spotted them on those rotary stands that were often to be found in the record department of most Woolworth stores. Who knows, like me you may have even paid out your £1.25 in order to own these super pieces of vinyl. First released on the MFP (Music for Pleasure) label in 1976, Big Terror is a magical time capsule of cinema sounds. Including some incredibly funky re-recordings of themes such as Jaws, The Eiger Sanction, Earthquake, Three Days of the Condor and Death Wish to name just a few, the albums proved incredibly popular. Arriving for the first time on CD, the audio quality is both fresh and ageless. The glorious album sleeve is also indicative of a time when cinema art was perceived as works of pure beauty.
Themes for Super Heroes arrived later in 1979, again on the MFP label. Equally, the album focused on popular themes (largely from TV) including The Incredible Hulk, The Six Million Dollar Man, Wonder Woman and a couple of nicely arranged tracks from Superman-The Movie. While the original artwork struggles to match the aesthetics of Big Terror, it is to Vocalion’s credit that they remained loyal to the albums original concept. Personally, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Naturally, much of the albums success was due to Geoff Love and his marvellous interpretations. Recorded at both the world famous Abbey road and Chappell studios in London, these recordings have never sounded better. Oliver Lomax has provided a definitive history behind these two releases in the form of a very well produced booklet. It’s not only a must have, but an incredibly long overdue release. Add this one to your collection and you’ll probably find yourself playing it over and over again.
The late, legendary film composer Maurice Jarre's soundtrack recordings for the Westerns Villa Rides! and El Condor have been released on a single CD. Here is background from the Screen Archives web site:
"A few months after my Oscar for Doctor Zhivago, Columbia contacted me to do The Professionals, and I literally fell off my chair. I thought I was too French to get involved in such a typically American genre as the western. To me, succeeding with this score amounted to getting a Hollywood certificate, proof that I belonged; it was a test, like a ragging in college..." Maurice Jarre was talking about his relationship to westerns, a genre which symbolizes American films, and the composer went on to work on eight full-length features. Among them were two pictures with very rare scores: Villa Rides! (never reissued on CD before now) and El Condor (which has never been available on any record). These are sister-scores, and the composer's taste for South-American rhythms bursts through them: lavish orchestrations and a whole range of wild percussion display the full range of Jarre's considerable imagination on his journey through the folk-music of Mexico and The Andes. Following the release of the boxed-set Le Cinéma de Maurice Jarre, this album contains the complete versions of two original soundtracks which, taken together, provide an accurate reflection of the singular rapport tying the composer of Lawrence of Arabia to the western, a genre where he was one of the great innovators. Maurice Jarre aficionados will love this CD, and so will anyone with nostalgic memories of Lee Van Cleef, Charles Bronson or Robert Mitchum on horseback.
Earl Hagen's super hip score for the classic 1960s TV series I Spy starring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby spawned two soundtrack albums back in the day. Those original vinyl masters have formed the basis of a new release from Film Score Monthly which combines them both onto one deluxe CD release- complete with extensive liner notes and rare photos. Click here to order
The good folks at Silva Screen Records have released composer Roy Budd's magnificent score for the 1978 film The Wild Geese on CD. The film, which starred Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris and Hardy Kruger, remains one of the great adventure movies of its era, centering on a mercenary mission into an African nation that results in deceit, double-crosses and some of the best action filmmaking director Andrew V. McGlaglen ever accomplished. Budd's score is integral to the film, and he created the kind of stirring, old-fashioned march music one never gets to hear in major movies today. (One track even includes actor Jack Watson's foul-mouthed insults as he mercilessly trains The Wild Geese for combat.) The CD also includes the wonderful title theme, composed and sung by Joan Armatrading. Silva Screen have outdone themselves with the usual deluxe packaging, in this case a booklet packed to the rafters with fascinating information about the film by Tony Earnshaw, who even gets fresh comments from the movie's producer Euan Lloyd. There are a wealth of rare photos included, as well. They don't make movies like The Wild Geese anymore, and we don't have have many composers the likes of Roy Budd. Kudos to Silva Screen for putting his work back in the spotlight.
The Ventures had a big hit back in the 1960s with their cover version of the title theme from Hawaii 5-0. However, if you long to hear composer Morton Stevens' entire original soundtrack album from the classic TV series, Film Score Monthly has it available for only $12.95. This is the complete album that was issued on vinyl during the show's original run. Click here to order and to listen to sample tracks. These may be in short supply, so book 'em, Dan-O!
The Intrada record label has released a three CD soundtrack of Elmer Bernstein's magnificent score for The Great Escape. Here is the official announcement:
Together in one package at nice price! 3-CD set includes classic original 1963 United Artists re-recorded album prepared by Elmer Bernstein when film was new, plus two-disc presentation of actual soundtrack. John Sturges directs legendary WWII POW classic with Steve McQueen leading cast, solidifying status as iconic loner character on screen. James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Coburn amongst fellow POWs. Motorcycle sequence with McQueen outriding pursuers is an action cinema landmark - Bernstein's music throughout sequence is unparalled display of rhythmic orchestral energy! Intrada presents soundtrack from same 1/4" two-track stereo session elements as earlier Varese Sarabande limited release but newly re-masters them to remove annoying tape print-through that plagued loud sections of earlier version. 1963 UA album mastered from original 1/2" three-channel stereo masters. Informative notes from Nick Redman illuminate impact of McQueen on film & audience plus offer details about real escape incident film is based on. A genuine film and score classic back in print for new generations. Elmer Bernstein conducts both recordings. - Douglass Fake, Intrada Producer
Sonny Rollins' classic score for Alfie is among the gems played on the El Diabolik podcast site.
We were just made aware of El Diabolik's World of Psychotronic Soundtracks. We'll let Duncan, who runs the podcast site, describe what they do:
"We play soundtracks from all over the world, mainly from the 60's through to the 80's. Horror, Italian crime, British Cult, French Crime, Blaxploitation, Beat, Giallo, Bollywood, Sexploitation, Fung Fu, and just plain classic soundtracks. The latest show is a German special. We're far from professionals, we do this for fun and hope others enjoy the music with us. I try and play nearly all the music from the original vinyl pressings where possible." Click here to visit site.
The Big Boss (aka The Fists of Fury) was the film which launched Bruce Lee’s international film career. Director Lo Wei’s movie premiered in Hong Kong in 1971, but its international success arrived some time later. The German distributor (Cinerama) tried to subtly adapt the film to western visual habits. This was done mainly through an altered soundtrack. It was supposed that the original score of Chinese composer Wang Fu-ling would would appeal only to Lee's core fans in Asia and would have little appeal in Western nations.
This proved to be the moment when Peter Thomas came into play. He had been commissioned to conceive the new soundtrack. As a result, his music can be heard in the film worldwide with the exception of China and England. So Thomas’ soundtrack virtually became the most identified score of The Big Boss. It is striking the way in which Thomas successfully integrates his music into the oriental cinematic milieu. The snappy main theme alone, with its stunning brass motif, has become eternal in its very essence. Some 37 years on, Chris’ Soundtrack Corner and All Score Media have released this music on CD for the very first time. Spread over 20 razor sharp sounding tracks, Thomas’ music bristles with energy, some of which benefit from the pleasing use of 70’s style electronic sound effects. Like the legend himself, this CD is fast, furious and slicker than slick!
Film Score Monthly have released Leonard Rosenman' score for the 1970 film A Man Called Horse on CD. The new release includes the complete vinyl soundtrack album that was issued in conjunction with the film, as well as bonus tracks and cues. Richard Harris starred as an Englishman captured by an Indian tribe. He manages to survive unspeakable rituals of torture and becomes a full-fledged brave in the tribe. For more click here
released to tie-in with the new big Hollywood 2011 version of The Green Hornet, this soundtrack CD
released by Harkit Records in England
features the music from the original Sixties TV show starring Van Williams and
Bruce Lee. The series, which was produced by William Dozier, the man behind the
hit show Batman, was originally
intended to fill a one-hour time slot, but was eventually aired by Fox as 26
half-hour episodes. Made with the same flair and quality as Batman, The Green Hornet failed to grab the audience’s attention in the
same way the caped crusader did. This was due, in part, to the fact that it
wasn’t so “comic bookish” in its approach, and didn’t have such crazy villains
as its predecessor. That said, the show boasted ‘Black Beauty’, the Hornet’s gadget-laden
car designed by Dean Jeffries, some excellent plot lines, and the talents of
the then unknown martial arts expert, Bruce Lee. Although not a hit back in
1966, the show has a cult following today.
‘Big Band’ jazz-inspired score was by Billy May, who was also responsible for
the TV shows The Mod Squad, Emergency! and C.H.I.P.S. May worked closely with Al Hirt, the renowned trumpeter,
adapting the Rimsky-Korsakov piece ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ as the Green
Hornet’s theme. This album, which has been available before, comes with sixteen
vibrant musical tracks and now includes an excerpt from the original 1940’s
“Hit and Run” episode from ‘The Green Hornet’ radio show, and a complete
specially adapted episode: “The Canine Culprit”, narrated by Jackson Beck.
is a nice addition to those who love TV shows of the era. Good to see Retro’s
very own Martin Gainsford responsible for writing the very informative liner
For those of you familiar with the British television series Doctor Who, which was rebooted by the BBC and writer Russell T. Davies back in 2004, you will, no doubt, be aware of the huge contribution the music made to the series success. Composed by Murray Gold and ably assisted by conductor Ben Foster and the services of The BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the score to the show has raised the bar in what one expects to hear on a TV show today. To say that Gold’s compositions are good, and perfectly suited to the show, is simply an inadequate description. His music is superb, and far superior to some of the music scores of big Hollywood productions seen on the big screen today.
Previously, Silva Screen Records have released in conjunction with the BBC, four CD’s encompassing the four series made up until 2009, with a fifth – series five – due next. However, this new release features music from the Doctor Who ‘Specials’: ‘The Next Doctor’, ‘Planet of the Dead’, ‘Waters From Mars’ and ‘The End of Time’. And, unlike the single releases, this is a 2-CD set - for the price of one. Well done Silva! There is some wonderful and masterly music on this set, with the tracks ‘Vale’, ‘The Greats of Past Time’, ‘Gallifrey’, ‘Song For Ten (reprise)’ standing out, in what is a brilliant selection of music from these shows. The music is both powerful and moving, can bring a shiver to your spine and a tear to your eyes. Gold really is a terrific and gifted composer. I wonder how long it will be before he gets the call to the big screen and the BBC won’t be able to afford his talents anymore. On a selfish note, I hope not for a long time.
Doctor Who Series 4: The Specials is currently available direct from www.silvascreen.com and Amazon and other good retail outlets.
Note: Silva have also released Series One (with ‘Rose’s Theme’ and the amazing ‘Doomsday’) and Two (which includes tracks from the specials; ‘The Christmas Invasion’ and ‘The Runaway Bride’) on a double-CD set, plus Series Three and Series Four (which includes the brilliant ‘Song of Freedom’ and ‘The Doctor’s Theme’) as single CD releases. All are highly recommended.
Dimitri Tiomkin's rousing score for the 1967 John Wayne/Kirk Douglas Western The War Wagon has finally been released on CD. It's the first time the soundtrack has been available in any format. The score includes Ed Ames singing the title track, The Ballad of the War Wagon. Intrada, which produced the new CD, has limited this to only 2,000 copies. Click here to order
We were saddened to hear that our friends at Movie Grooves, one of the UK's best sources for rare film soundtracks, is going out of business. There are precious few companies that specialize in film scores and Movie Grooves proved to be a terrific source for retro film fans worldwide. We wish them the best. Here is the statement sent by E mail from Movie Grooves:
We're sorry to announce that Movie Grooves will shortly
be closing down - for ever.
IMPORTANT: All pending
orders will be fulfilled before we close.
Please don't cancel any pending
orders or payments. We know that some of you are waiting for Tootsie and Outland
(and items you may have ordered whilst ordering those) and they WILL be sent to
you in due course. Tootsie and Outland are being held by our overseas supplier
and will be shipped to us shortly.
We will no longer be stocking or
taking pre-orders on any new or forthcoming releases or back catalogue items and
we are no longer selling any items full stop (or period, as
they say in the USA).
Movie Grooves is closing because I feel that it's
time for me to move on and do something different with my life. The business has
changed slightly to when I started out and, of course, the global financial
situation - whilst not being a direct reason for closing down - has affected
trading conditions and contributed to me making the decision to close. Yes,
there's a sadness at closing, but I know it's the right decision so I also have
an excitement at what possibilities the future holds (schmaltzy, but
I've had a great eight years or so running Movie Grooves. Movie
Grooves was something that had its gestation years and years ago with my love of
60s and 70s horror, cult and b-movies which then got me into the soundtracks
from those movies which then developed into a successful business during which
time I had the pleasure to meet some great people, gain some new friends and
also attend some fantastic related events. I even had a crack at DJing a few
times in clubs and also on the radio (thanks Jonny!) which was so much fun. I
also had the experience of running a successful business selling products I
loved and that provided a service to many like-minded and friendly people all
around the world.
I hope that I offered a good level of service -
something that was high on my list of priorities when starting out. And I hope
that every customer took pleasure from the CDs and LPs (and DVDs) that they
purchased from Movie Grooves over the years.
Many thanks to each and
every customer for your business and especially to the loyal band of regulars
(you know who you are!) - thanks!
All that's left to say is that as a
final send-off I'll be playing a selection of my favourite soundtrack/library
tracks on Jonny Trunk's 'OST' Radio show on Resonance FM on Saturday 25th
September from 4.30pm - 6.30pm UK time. I may be having a few drinks throughout,
hopefully lots of laughs and perhaps at points even crying like a small child so
it could be quite a funny/harrowing/interesting listen.
If you live in
London you can listen on 104.4 FM or if you live elsewhere on the planet and
have an internet connection you can listen live at http://resonancefm.com/listen - put it in your diary
For old times sake I'll probably be running a silly competition so
you could even win a few CDs, LPs or DVDs.
Film Score Monthly has released a special 2-CD soundtrack of Jerry Goldsmith's score for Peter Hyams' 1981 sci-fi film Outland. The loose remake of High Noon starred Sean Connery. This set includes the original soundtrack album vinyl release along with many unreleased tracks and cues. Click here to order
Movie Grooves, the soundtrack company in the UK, advises that a 4-CD soundtrack from Roger Moore's classic TV series The Saint is due out this month. The boxed set has extensive liner notes and contains Edwin Astley's score for all of the color seasons of the series. (Thanks to reader Bill Parisho for the heads up) For more click here
Quincy Jones has been a legend in the music industry for so long that it is often easy to forget that it was his soundtracks to high profile films that helped him gain his reputation. Among his outstanding achievements: scoring The Pawnbroker, In the Heat of the Night and The Anderson Tapes. Writer Michael Gonzales pays tribute to the master musician in an insightful article. Click here to read
Prometheus Records has released a 3 CD tribute to composer Dimitri Tiomkin's magnificent score for John Wayne's epic The Alamo. The new set is performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Nic Raine. The set will feature performances of Tiomkin's complete score, including previously unreleased material. There is also an abundance of bonus extras. For more info and sample audio tracks click here
The one-season wonder The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. is generally regarded as a bad idea, poorly executed and one that helped speed the demise of its superior big brother series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. However, the series did benefit from a charismatic cast - Stefanie Powers, Noel Harrison and Leo G. Carroll- and a fine musical score. The soundtrack, with music by Dave Grusin, is available on CD - and it features a bonus track: Jerry Goldsmith's Man From U.N.C.L.E. theme. Click here to order from Amazon.
Film Score Monthly has released a 2 CD special edition soundtrack of the MGM Cinerama classic The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm with music by Leigh Harline. As a bonus, the set includes the first ever release of Harline's music from the early Steve McQueen comedy The Honeymoon Machine. Click here to order