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
Released this week (Feb 8th) in time for this
weekend’s Valentine Day activities, Silva Screen’s My Twisted Valentine (SILED4495) is a superb anti-Valentine
compilation of film music for the more cynical amongst us.
From neurotic Marnie,
blood sucking Dracula and all-out war
of the sexes in Kill Bill to ‘train
wreck’ mentality of Betty Blue and the ‘bunny boiling’ Fatal Attraction, this CD has a great mix of movie themes. What I found most gratifying about this release is that it contains certain themes that I really like - but not quite
enough to make me want to purchase the original soundtrack CD just for the one title
track. Performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
and London Music Works, films featured include: Psycho, La Dolce Vita, Marnie, Eyes Wide Shut, Bram Stoker’s
Dracula, Bonnie and Clyde, Thelma and Louise, Fatal Attraction, Betty Blue,
Lolita, Rosemary’s Baby, Brokeback
Mountain, Vertigo and Twilight.
It’s worth buying just for the themes to Marnie, Rosemary’s Baby, Vertigo
and the La Dolce Vita suite, alone.
Go on, give it to the one you don’t
love on Valentine’s Day – they’ll love
you for doing so!
John Williams' terrific soundtrack to the 1977 classic thriller Black Sunday has been issued as a limited edition CD by Film Score Monthly. The film was directed by John Frankenheimer and starred Robert Shaw, Bruce Dern, Marthe Keller and Fritz Weaver. For more info click here
Kritzerland Records has released a very limited edition (1,000 copies) CD of Ernest Gold's classic soundtrack for It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The CD is a remastering of the original vinyl album along with bonus tracks never released before. This will sell out quickly! To order click here
Clint Eastwood’s son Kyle, a well-respected jazz musician in
his own right, has collaborated with Michael Stevens to produce a terrific
score for Invictus. However, ‘Dad’
lends a hand, and the opening song ‘9,000 Day’s was written by Eastwood Sr
along with Stevens and even has lyrics by Dina Eastwood (Clint’s wife) – talk
about keeping it in the family! The result is a highly impressive CD soundtrack
release. This is a magnificent score, and unlike Eastwood’s previous forays on Million Dollar Baby, Flags of Our Fathers, Changeling and Gran Torino - which were dramatic, dark and moody - this music,
like the film itself, is really uplifting. There are several songs in the film,
all performed by Overtone a South African acapella band that was discovered by
Dina Eastwood, who saw them in a show in Cape Town while her husband was
filming Invictus. The soundtrack is a
blend of traditional South African music mixed with an almost tribal chant/drum
beat sound and orchestral overtures. It’s powerful stuff, with vocalist
Yollandi Nortjie sounding very much (on ‘9,000 Days’) like Jamie Cullum’s song
for Gran Torino , with similar jazzy, bluesy vibes. As in previous
films, Clint Eastwood delivers one of his simplistic piano-based themes but
this time (in ‘Invictus Theme’) it is accompanied by a wonderful trumpet
underscore which, for this writer, is so reminiscent of the legendary Chet
Baker, and is a joy to hear. Kyle Eastwood and composer Michael Stevens have,
once again, produced a great sounding score – this time one that perfectly blends
a beautiful haunting cinematic theme with that of South African traditional
music. Highly recommended – and one of my favourite Eastwood scores to date.
It’s that time of year when everyone seems to have a ‘Ten Best Films of the Year’ list. As
this is the last year of the decade, we can also count on being
deluged with ‘Best Films of the Decade’ lists (mine will be coming; be
patient). Before I started writing about classic films for Cinema Retro, I primarily wrote about motion picture and television music.
So, for a change of pace I humbly offer ....
“Bruce’s Baker’s Dozen of Great Film Music: 2000-2009”.
1. A Scanner Darkly – Graham Reynolds
best score of the decade is a dazzling, haunting work from newcomer
Reynolds. The Austin based composer/performer brings all his
considerable skills to bear– he performs and composes jazz, rock, and
classical music- in this wholly original score. To date this is his
only major Hollywood assignment. If it were up to me, Reynolds would
be getting plum assignments like
Watchmen , The Incredible Hulk and 2012 instead of the bland , faceless composers who seem to score film after film. Wake Up Hollywood!
2. The Road To Perdition – Thomas Newman 3. Milk – Danny Elfman
4. & 5. A.I. - Artificial Intelligence & Minority Report John
Williams earns ‘Composer of the Decade’ for these two rich, evocative
scores. Director Steven Spielberg and Williams also teamed up
successfully for yet another science- fiction epic, the spectacular War of the Worlds. Incredibly, John Williams is still producing great music in his mid seventies!
6. Lassie - Adrian Johnston This
faithful and moving adaptation of the children’s classic barely
received a theatrical release in the UK or USA. Just as shameful, is
the lack of a soundtrack album. A beautiful score.
7. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron – Hans Zimmer This
overlooked and underrated animated film from DreamWorks is as good as
anything Disney or Pixar released (with the possible exception of Wall-E ). Along with the terrific score, it also contains the ‘Best Song of the Decade’, “ Sound the Bugle” performed Bryan Adams.
8. Miracle – Mark Isham This
inspiring and exciting sports film contains ‘The Most Memorable Musical
Moment of the Decade’ ; the walk to the ice by the USA Olympic hockey
team for their momentous match with the USSR. If this doesn’t give you
goosebumps, see a doctor!
9. Cast Away - Alan Silvestri The
score for this amazing film totals only 15 minutes yet makes a powerful
impact. Just goes to show you do not have to plaster wall-to-wall music
on every film.
10. A Beautiful Mind - James Horner 11. Thirteen Days - Trevor Jones 12. Rabbit Proof Fence - Peter Gabriel 13. Cold Mountain- Gabriel Yared
Intrada has released Jerry Goldsmith's score for the 1966 WWI epic The Blue Max as a 2500 limited edition CD for $19.95. The company gained access to elements of the score not previously released. For sample tracks and to order, click here. (Thanks to subscriber Rory Monteith for the head's up!)
For the first time ever, Alex North's soundtrack from William Wyler's 1961 film The Children's Hour has been released. The film starred Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn in one of the first major movies to deal overtly with the subject of lesbianism and the consequences of intolerance. To order the limited edition CD and read about the interesting way it finally came to be released, click here
La-La Land Records has released Les Baxter's score for Ray Milland's 1962 Cold War thriller Panic in the Year Zero. Milland directed and starred in the low-budget, but effectively made look at how one family takes desperate measures to survive after nuclear conflict has broken out between America and its enemies. This is a limited edition CD. Look for an article about this film in a future issue of Cinema Retro. Click here to order the CD and to play sample tracks.
fans familiar with Ernest Gold’s magnificent music from Otto Preminger’s film Exodus (1960) will be pleased to hear
that the entire score, which has never been released before, has been
re-recorded and is now available as a Special Limited Collectors Edition 2-CD
set. Although the original RCA soundtrack album was a huge success in its day,
and won a Grammy Award for “Best Soundtrack”, it was not complete, and suffered
from poor sound quality. This CD by Tadlow Music is the first to feature Gold’s
entire score, reconstructed from his original sketches (including unused cues
and bonus tracks). Recorded with The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and
conducted by Nic Raine, it really is (pardon the pun) “music to my ears” as I
listen to it over and over again whilst designing the next issue of Retro
magazine here in my office. The reason why it is a 2-disc set was because
producer James Fitzpatrick realized there was too much for one CD, but not
enough to fill two, so he added tracks (by Gold) from It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Ship of Fools, and Judith. There are also Bonus sections,
including a suite from the hit TV mini-series QB VII (Jerry Goldsmith), two tracks from Schindler’s List (John Williams), and two tracks from Cast A Giant Shadow (Elmer Bernstein).
All are re-recordings. Another bonus is two video sequences showing the
orchestra during the recording sessions! Distributed by our good friends at
Silva Screen Records, this CD is available in all good music stores now, or go
to www.tadlowmusic.com who will ship
it anywhere in the world post free for just £16.95!
Composer Lalo Schifrin is releasing his soundtrack to the 1976 adventure film Sky Riders on his own label, Aleph Records on July 28. The movie is a largely forgotten, but very under-rated, top-notch action saga with Robert Culp as an American industrialist living in Greece, whose wife (Susannah York) and young children are kidnapped by terrorists who hold them in a virtually inaccessible mountaintop retreat. When police efforts to rescue them fail, Culp turns to his wife's eccentric former husband, a soldier-of-fortune played by James Coburn, who devises an audacious plot to penetrate the terrorist lair using his team of hang-gliders. The film affords some spectacular aerial photography over Greece, and the action is complimented by one of Schifrin's best (but least-heard) scores of the 1970s. The Maestro combines invigorating action themes with traditional Greek music to give the CD a unique quality. Now if we can just convince Fox to finally release this worthy movie on DVD...To order the soundtrack, click here
La-La Land Records has released Elmer Bernstein's immortal score for the classic comedy hit Airplane! The CD comes complete with a 20 page collectible booklet containing comments from the filmmakers. Click here for more details and to hear sample tracks - and don't call me Shirley!
Composer Ron Grainer's soundtrack to the 1971 sci-fi movie The Omega Man has been reissued by Film Score Monthly due to popular demand. The CD had been issued by the company years ago as a limited edition and quickly sold out. In the ensuing years, that release has commanded big dollars on the collector's circuit. It has also spawned a number of bootleg editions of the soundtrack. Film Score Monthly says that's one of the reasons that spurred them to remaster the soundtrack and reissue it. The film was an adaptation of Richard Matheson's classic sci-fi novel I Am Legend which had previously been brought to the screen in 1964 as The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price. Charlton Heston starred in The Omega Man and, more recently, the story was the basis for Will Smith's hit film I Am Legend. Ron Grainer's score for The Omega Man is superb on all levels and represents the kind of motion picture soundtrack that is all too rare today. To order click here
UK customers: click here to order from Movie Grooves
Aleph Records will be releasing the final Dirty Harry Soundtrack The Dead Pool on January 13th 2008. This was the fifth and final film of the Dirty Harry series. Lalo Schifrin, who composed the soundtracks for Dirty Harry, Magnum Force and Sudden Impact, wrote the original music. Aleph Records has released the soundtracks for the first four films, including The Enforcer, which was composed by Jerry Fielding.
Also released this month from Harkit records is the first ever release of Lalo Schifrin's Return from the River Kwai soundtrack and John Barry's The Dove also makes its debut release on CD. (Full reviews of both will be featured in issue #13 of Cinema Retro)
If you are looking for some great little retro stocking fillers for the holiday season, check out these releases from the Vocalion label, Favourite TV themes and Favourite TV themes Vol. 2 (originally released 1973 and 1975 respectfully) that appear for the first time on one CD, performed by Ray Martin and his orchestra. Containing 28 themes from both the US and UK, it is sure to provide some wonderful trips down Memory Lane. Also from Vocalion are another doubled up set of classic albums from 1959/60, Great Movie Hits Vol.1 and 2 containing some great musical moments from the Golden age of cinema including Three coins in a fountain, Secret Love, Limelight, The Harry Lime theme and a whole lot more. Nicely covered by Cyril Stapleton and His Orchestra, these re-releases of classic retro albums are certainly proving to be very popular with modern audiences.
Finally from Vocalion, a genre that doesn't quite get the exposure it fully deserves: library music. When it comes to library music, they don't really come much better than KPM. The music produced for these collections were pre- recorded and used for radio, film and TV. The sound originated from London's Denmark Street, which was known as 'Tin Pan Alley' due to the high proportion of music publishers and record labels whose offices were situated there.
KPM boasted a large number of fantastic composers including Alan Hawkshaw, John Scott, Keith Mansfield, Chris Gunning and Dave Gold. The music was stylish, dramatic and funky. Imagine a classic scene from 'The Sweeney' in the 70's or maybe a light funky groove from a classic TV drama and you’re immediately transported back in time via a super collection that is well worth checking out. - Darren Allison
Italian 45 rpm of Dionne Warwick's hit single of the theme from Valley of the Dolls. American releases were more prudish at the time and would not have allowed this image of Sharon Tate, clad provocatively in a bra, about to engage in a bout of drug abuse.
The thing we miss about vinyl LPs and 45 rpm soundtrack records is the fact that they were often graced by terrific cover images, usually photos or unique artwork from the film. As every country put out its own version of each record, cover images varied widely. We've uncovered a fun site that pays tribute to the great old soundtrack sleeves of yesteryear. To view click here
Scorenotes is a superb web site that will be of great interest to movie music lovers. The site describes itself thusly:
ScoreNotes.com: Your home for Composer Interviews in Audio, Online Suites,
Soundtrack Reviews and more!
In fact, the site boasts a great archive of interviews with music critics and composers as well as the ability to play tracks from both vintage and new soundtrack albums. Check out the site by clicking here
Original British Quad poster (Courtesy Darren Allison Collection)
Harkit Records has done it again by releasing John Barry's long-sought soundtrack from the madcap Victorian comedy The Wrong Box starring John Mills, Ralph Richardson and Michael Caine. We're proud to say that Cinema Retro's music critic Darren Allison has contributed extensive liner notes for the 20 page collector's booklet included in the CD. The booklet is packed with rare stills. Darren is continuing his collaborative efforts with Harkit and is preparing a special collector's booklet for their forthcoming Lalo Schifrin soundtrack from Return from the River Kwai. There is very limited availability of The Wrong Box. To order click here
Harkit Records have released John Barry's score for Boom! The late 60s film was a debacle for stars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor but Barry's score has emerged unscathed from the wreckage. The film was based on an poorly-regarded Tennessee William short story and despite the star power (Noel Coward was also in the movie), the film laid a colossal egg at the box-office. The CD, however, is a welcome addition to any collector's library and features liner notes by our friend Kimberly Lindbergs who runs the great Retro site www.cinebeats.com
(Cinema Retro music critic Darren Allison will have a detailed review of the CD in the next issue of the magazine, #12).
Composer Lalo Schifrin's company Aleph Records has released his score for the 1983 Dirty Harry movie Sudden Impact starring Clint Eastwood. Here is the official press release:
FEATURING: Original score by Lalo Schifrin.
Entire original score never been released, only excerpts on LP.
For Lalo Schifrin, a decade had passed since his own last encounter
with Harry Callahan. … Lalo reported for duty in 1983, fully aware that
times—and musical tastes—had changed, and that he had to retain the
spirit of Harry while making him a more modern invention: a product of
a techno-age, where everything in movies seemed, bigger, louder, and
generally larger than life. With BULLITT in 1968, and DIRTY HARRY in
1971, Lalo had defined the sound of San Francisco. The glittering
canyons and raking tarmac hills had pulsated to hip grooves: a jazzy,
snazzy, bass-fueled back beat that was so cool you couldn't believe you
were hearing it, so much as dreaming it, living it, so deep into your
consciousness did it penetrate. … Ten years on, Lalo figured, Harry was
older, maybe wiser, maybe mellower. Maybe he was more studied, took his
time, thought things through. In SUDDEN IMPACT the score doesn't push
or propel, but supports, keeps Harry rooted, anchored, detached from
the madness surrounding him. And additionally, in keeping with the
subject matter, it's a tad gentler, and yes, even romantic at times.
Perhaps this would be Harry's last go-round. Find love with Jennifer
and hang up the big artillery. Sit back, take it easy, have a brew. –
Aleph Records, has also released the scores for the first
three films of the series, DIRTY HARRY, MAGNUM FORCE, and THE ENFORCER.
The complete soundtrack to SUDDEN IMPACT makes its debut for the first
time to CD. With only excerpts released on the first DIRTY HARRY LP,
this is the complete score plus additional bonus tracks that has been
remixed from the original multi-track masters.
Sessions September 1983
At Warner Brothers, Burbank – Scoring Stage 1
Conductor: Lalo Schifrin
1 Main Title 3:20
2 Murder By The Sea 2:32
3 Too Much Sugar 1:36
4 Frisco Night 2:52
5 Target Practice 1:35
6 The Road To San Paolo 1:46
7 Remembering Terror 6:50
8 Cocktails Of Fire 2:20
9 Robbery Suspect 2:15
10 Ginley’s Bar 5:56
11 Another Victim 1:21
12 You’ve Come A Long Way 3:46
13 Darkness 4:12
14 Crazy 1:44
15 Hot Shot Cop 1:23
16 Alby And Lester Boy 2:03
17 The Automag 1:39
18 Unicorn’s Head 3:03
19 A Ray Of Light 1:02
20 Stairway To Hell 1:01
21 San Francisco After Dark
(End Titles) 3:24
Intrada has released a limited edition (1500) CD of composer Jerry Fielding's score for director Michael Winner's 1972 Gothic chiller The Nightcomers, a prequel to Henry James' classic ghost story The Turn of the Screw. Marlon Brando and Stephanie Beacham starred in the atmospheric film that raised eyebrows for its provocative sexual content. Here is the description of the CD from the Screen Archives Entertainment site:
World premiere of complete original soundtrack from intense Michael
Winner prequel to Henry James' "Turn of the Screw", starring Marlon
Brando. Jerry Fielding makes rare foray into horror genre, spotlights
dynamic contrast between pastoral exterior of tale, violent interior.
Elegant brass & woodwinds assist in former, strings are heart of
latter. Fielding balances accessible harmonies for gentle scenes with
dark, cerebral ones for perverse behaviors, violence, then finally
turns score inside out with cold, atonal finish playing in total
opposition to prim & proper beginning. Brilliant! Intrada CD
presents entire score in sequence from original stereo session masters
in superb condition. Authoritative notes from Nick Redman, dramatic
graphics from Joe Sikoryak complete package. Jerry Fielding conducts.
Special Collection release limited to 1500 copies! - Douglass Fake,
1. 1M1 Main Title 2:45
2. 1M2 The Smoking Frog 2:08
3. 2M2 Bedtime at Blye House 3:03
4. 3M1 New Clothes for Quint 0:36
5. 3M2 The Children’s Hour 1:22
6. 3M3 Pas De Deux 1:26
7. 3M4A Like a Chicken on a Spit 0:57
8. 4M1 All That Pain 0:59
9. 5M1/6M1 Summer Rowing 2:04
10. 6M2 Quint Has a Kite 1:01
11. 6M3 Act Two Prelude: Myles in the Air 0:55
12. 6M4 Upside Down Turtle 1:36
13. 7M1 An Arrow for Mrs. Grose 0:32
14. 7M2 Flora and Miss Jessel 1:12
15. 7M4 Tea in the Tree 1:02
16. 7M5 The Flower Bath 2:22
17. 8M1 Pig Sty 1:38
18. 9M1 Moving Day 0:55
19. 9M2 The Big Swim 3:32
20. 9M4/10M1 Through the Looking Glass 2:42
21. 10M2 Burning Dolls 2:07
22. 10M3/10M4 Exit Peter Quint, Enter the New Governess; Recapitulation and Postlude 2:01
Total Score Time = 37:53
23. 6M5 Pub Piano 2:13
TO ORDER FROM SCREEN ARCHIVES CLICK HERE
(For an extensive interview with director Michael Winner about the making of The Nightcomers, see Cinema Retro issue #2 in our back issues section.)
Following up from my review of This Island
Earth / The Day of the Triffids in Cinema Retro # 11, I’d like to also
highlight some other CD releases from excellent Monstrous Movie Music label.
The Blob (and other creepy sounds) 1958
(MMM1955) marks the world premiere release of Ralph Carmichael’s classic
soundtrack. The film is rightly regarded today as a piece of great sci-fi
hokum, and is particularly memorable for starring the very young ‘Steven’ McQueen.
The music stands up amazingly well, considering the tight budget aligned to the
picture was mostly devoured by the cost of color
cinematography. Carmichael certainly squeezed
every ounce of life from his relatively modest 27 piece orchestra and the resulting score remains a
real testament to the composer's talent. To capitalize on the film's intended teenage audience, producer Jack H. Harris insisted upon a pop theme song to
open the film. What emerged was the campy, if somewhat memorable, The Blob (written, believe it or not, by Burt Bacharach and Hal David!), recorded by ‘The
Five Blobs’. They were, in
truth, a simple gathering of session musicians lead by vocalist Bernie Nee. Nevertheless,
the song worked and helped contribute to the film’s general success, but not entirely
without negative consequences. The cheesy song negated some of the more effective technical aspects of the movie and put it firmly in the "guilty pleasure" category for all time. Fortunately, Carmichael’s
unused original main title ‘Violence’ is also included on the disc. With the inclusion of some Blob bonus material, the entire score for the
main feature runs for some 37 minutes and is undoubtedly a thoroughly enjoyable
listen. There is, of course, so much more to this CD than first meets the eye. With
almost 40 mins more devoted to such horror and B movie classics as The
Green Slime, Terror from the year 5000 and The Brain that Wouldn’t Die, there’s
certainly enough here to keep the most ardent of horror fan satisfied.
Incorporating works of such legendary composers as Roger Roger, Angelo
Francesco Lavagnino and Mario Nascimbene this is a must-have for any Blob-ophiles and other sci-fi and horror fans.
CLICK HERE TO REVISIT CINEMA RETRO'S COVERAGE OF THE 2007 ANNUAL BLOBFEST!
You’d be forgiven if the early William
Shatner / Roger Corman collaboration The Intruder (1961) (MMM1956) had passed you
by unnoticed. It’s a film that is rarely seen these days, perhaps due to its politically incorrect theme centering on racism. Nevertheless, Shatner’s performance as the bigot Adam Cramer is regarded today as one of his finest. An unusual and
somewhat rare ‘serious’ film from Corman, it received critical acclaim upon its
release only to be handled like a disease when it came to the film’s distribution.
It’s a great shame in many ways, as this probably contributed to Corman giving
up on the idea of serious storytelling and returning to the relatively safe
surroundings of the his highly profitable exploitation movies.
Thus, it's a real treat be able to enjoy Herman Stein's score to the film. Best known for his scores for Universal horror films such as The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Incredible
Shrinking Man, It Came from Outer Space, The Land Unknown, Revenge of the
Creature and Tarantula, his work outside of the genre has until now been sadly
overlooked. Stein’s score opens dramatically alongside the introduction of the
film’s central character - a cue that immediately suggests a sense of menace. Yet Stein’s score
is as rich as it is diverse, and the composer makes clever use of woodwind to
illustrate Cramer’s disturbed state of mind. Stein utilizes
strings and a weary clarinet to draw on the tension between Cramer and
his subsequent relationships. The result is a refreshingly unpredicatable element to the score that evokes comparisons to Bernard Hermann's chilling work on Psycho and Cape Fear.
Cramer’s introduction is particularly chilling, and while it lacks the intensity of a Hermannn score, it succeeds on its own merits. (I confess to conjuring up images of Robert Mitchum's Max Cady from Cape Fear as this track played.) Bonus material on this well-produced
disc includes the composer’s complete score for Career for Two (1951) and an
additional selection of unused main titles and underscores. Considering Stein’s almost exclusive association with horror and sci fi scores, Monstrous Movie Music deserves credit for releasing this forgotten gem that amply showcases the composer's diverse talents.- Darren Allison
CLICK HERE TO HEAR AUDIO TRACK SAMPLES AND ORDER FROM MONSTROUS MOVIE MUSIC'S SITE
Soundtrack label Intrada hit the headlines
again this month when the arrival of Jerry Goldsmith’s previously unreleased 1985
soundtrack Baby: Secret of the Lost
Legend sold out within 24 hours. Regular readers may remember that Intrada were
heavily criticised in September 2006 after releasing a 2 CD set of Goldsmith’s Inchon.
Focus fell specifically upon its limited pressing of just 1,500 units which instantly sold out, leaving collectors frustrated and reliant upon profiteers who sold the CDs on Ebay at greatly inflated prices.. Despite doubling the number of pressings to 3000 for
Baby it seems that the demand for the
great composer’s work has again been seriously underestimated. Baby has emerged in many bootleg forms
over the years and remained high on the wanted lists of Goldsmith collectors
the world over. Early indications have shown once again that a great many
fans have lost out and will no doubt have to pay highly inflated prices via Internet sites such as Ebay in order to complete their collections. While soundtrack
consumers have recognised and praised the label’s efforts, there remains anger over the practice of opportunists who continue to buy up large numbers of limited edition CDs in order to exploit genuine collectors. The message is clear: as soon as a limited edition CD is announced, fans should place their orders immediately. -Darren Allison
Film Score Monthly has released a magnificent, definitive soundtrack collection for the four Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve. The boxed set also includes the music from the Superman animated series as well as alternate takes, source music and a 160 page illustrated collector's booklet. Limited to only 3,000 copies.