26th January 2009
ZETA MINOR NEWS
Titles added to
or augmented with additional information, this week include the
Raging Bull Blu-ray; the second series of Fall Guy; Richard
The Hunting Party; Oscar-nominated
Visitor; the third season of
Waterloo Road; animated horror anthology
Fears of the Dark; Korean thriller
Chaser; John Huston's cult favourite
Wise Blood; action thriller
Transsiberian; star-studded comedy
Married Life; and BBC drama
Consuming Passion - 100 Years of Mills and Boon.
There have been a slew of interesting
soundtracks released recently. Here's some information on those that have
arrived in the Zeta Minor postbag...
Click on the sleeve images for
track-listings and more information.
label Film Score Monthly doesn't generally re-visit the scores it's
released on CD. When one of their limited edition discs sells out, it's
gone for good. The exception to this rule is their new re-released version
of Ron Grainer's score for the 1971 Charlton Heston post-apocalypse
vampire movie The Omega Man (based on the same book as the Will
Smith movie I Am Legend).
The original release of The Omega Man
score - a godsend to its cult following - is one of the few FSM discs
to go out of print, despite it's relatively healthy pressing of three
thousand copies. Sensing that this title has wider appeal than the
well-defined coterie of soundtrack collectors, the label has decided to go
back to the licensees, and, at considerable expense, make a deal to make
The Omega Man CD more widely available.
It's been eight years since The Omega
Man was originally issued, and the label has wisely decided to
re-master the recording from scratch. In doing so, they've corrected a
shortcoming of the original version, adding missing organ overdubs to
three cues (the isolated organ recordings had been archived separately
from the main master tapes). They've also dropped the comprehensive liner
notes (which will continue to be available at FSM's website), and removed
a bonus track (an extract from the session recordings, with comments from
the composer), no doubt in recognition that this new edition will be sold
to people who wouldn't consider themselves soundtrack collectors. The disc
has been handsomely re-packaged as The Omega Man 2.0 Unlimited.
Given the improved sound, and snazzy new packaging, I doubt that there
will be many fans who won't think it well worthwhile upgrading to the new
Label boss Lukas Kendall explains his decision to re-release The Omega
me, no composer characterises FSM's Golden Age Classics range of discs
than King Kong's Max Steiner. Unarguably one of the greatest
talents to work in the field, it's something of a surprise to discover
that the disc featuring music from 1959's John Paul Jones and
1961's Parrish is the first proper Steiner disc released by the
The thirty-seven minutes of music from
John Paul Jones is the album re-recording of the score, recorded in
stereo by the Sinfonia of London, under the baton of Muir Mathieson (the
film sessions are lost). It's rousing stuff. The score seems to define the
clichés associated with the genre. Liberally incorporating nods to
patriotic standard Yankee Doodle and Alexei Lvov's anthem God
Save The Tsar!, the score also has it's more romantic and lyrical
moments, for cues like Catherine The Great.
Parrish is a completely different
type of film, with a very different Steiner score. A drama set on a
tobacco plantation, the film was the follow-up to the incredibly
successful teen romance A Summer Place. The two films shared the
same star, Troy Donahue, composer and director, and marked the return of
Claudette Colbert to the screen after a brief retirement, in what would be
her last movie.
The CD presentation recreates the original
album re-recording of the score. The first half offers seven often very
beautiful tracks, including John Battacuda's sombre Tobacco Theme,
and jaunty themes for five of the film's key characters. The disc also
contains - as did the original LP - "Popular Piano Concertos of the
Great Love Themes From The Warner Bros. Motion Picture Parrish", featuring
three of Steiner's themes from Parrish, as well as Tara's Theme
from Gone With the Wind, and, inevitably, a version of the
incredibly popular Theme From A Summer Place (a track that beat out
Sinatra, Presley, Fitzgerald and Ray Charles for the 1960 Grammy for
Record of the Year). The Parrish tracks are in mono, from the
original half-inch master tape.
score for Rome Adventure has been paired with Bronislau Kaper's
elegant Auntie Mame for another recently-released FSM Golden Age
Classics disc. Auntie Mame, Warner Bros' smash-hit adaptation of
the legendary Broadway comedy, features a bouncy score that perfectly
captures the movie's oddball titular character (played by the
irrepressible Rosalind Russell). The new FSM disc marks the score's first
appearance on CD, albeit the album re-recording, conducted by Ray Heindorf,
which is in stereo. The disc replicates the original album, which also
features a re-recorded version of the Auntie Mame theme, plus
instrumental versions of Kaper songs from On Green Dolphin Street,
Invitation, The Glass Slipper and the Oscar-winning Lili
(the latter three are available on FSM discs of their own).
Rome Adventure, another love story
from the Troy Donahue / Delmer Daves team, gave Suzanne Pleshette (who
sadly died earlier this month) her first significant film role. Steiner's
highly melodic score, featuring mandolin and accordion, to give it a
suitably Italian flavour, is arguably overshadowed by Betty Curtis' song
Al-di-La, performed by Emilio Pericoli. The song was an enormous
hit later covered by artists including Dean Martin, Connie Francis and The
Eagles. About twenty minutes of Steiner's music from the film is featured
(once again, from the stereo album re-recordings), followed by "Other
Neapolitan Favorites", similar cues from other composers, which had been
featured in other Warner Bros. films. Not really my cup of tea, this one,
but I'm sure it will be warmly welcomed by those with an affinity for this
type of thing!
Jarre's score for John Frankenheimer's recently-revitalised 1966 action
movie Grand Prix hits the ground running. Its Overture is
one of the busiest cues I've ever heard, and its stereo mix is a treat for
the ears, as Jarre attempts to mimic the Doppler effect of cars passing
the listener at speed. Subsequent tracks are considerably calmer,
demonstrating Jarre's gift for melody.
The score features three key themes, in
various arrangements and combinations: the Main Title theme, one
for English racer Scott Stoddard (Brian Bedford), and one for Frenchman
Jean-Pierre Sarti (Yves Montand).
The film was produced under some pressure,
perhaps a factor in Frankenheimer and Jarre's decision to score the film
sparsely, focussing on the relationships between the characters, rather
than on the film's impressive racing scenes (the film won Oscars for its
sound mix and effects).
There are less than fifty minutes of music
in the film's three-hour running time. FSM's disc features the complete
score, as well as twenty-odd minutes of Jarre-penned alternate tracks and
album versions (including Bossa Nova versions of Scott and Jean-Pierre's
themes, and an "easy listening" version of Lara's Theme, from
Doctor Zhivago, recorded - but not used - as potential source music).
Sound effects, which blighted the original LP presentation, have been
eliminated from this new CD.
music is also featured on a special Film Score Monthly release, Concert
Works, which, as the title suggests, is not film music, but material
composed for the concert hall, dating from the decade before Jarre made
his mark in Hollywood (with two epic 1962 movies: The Longest Day
and Lawrence of Arabia). The disc offers five concert pieces,
plucked from the vaults of French national radio archive the Instiut
Nationmal de l'Audiovisuel. Jarre's composition's are certainly
interesting: highlights include Three Dances for Ondes Martenot and
Percussion, which showcases the instrument that would feature
extensively in the score for Lawrence of Arabia; and The Night
Watch, written for a television documentary about Rembrandt's famous
painting of the same name (thoughtfully featured on the cover of the
booklet). Limited to 1500 copies, and with less-than-ideal sound quality,
due to the archival nature of the recordings, it's perhaps fair to say
that this title will have limited appeal outside Jarre fans. It will
probably turn out to be a valuable collector's item, once it goes out of
Screen will release the soundtrack to Frank Miller's movie The Spirit
on February the 2nd. The soundtrack, by David Newman, has been
available as an on-demand CD-R for a while, but the (UK) Silva Screen disc
offers the only chance to get it on a legit pressed CD.
David Newman often labours on projects that
don't really give his music the exposure it deserves. Most of the films he
scores - mostly high concept comedies - result in CDs populated with pop
songs (often of the "Music From And Inspired By" variety), so it's a bit
of a treat to have one of his scores given a chance to shine on its own.
Of course, Newman is no stranger to the
genre, having scored the underrated 1996 superhero movie The Phantom.
The Spirit kicks off with a cue that
recalls the building rhythms of Birth of a Penguin II from Elfman's
Batman Returns, accented with the plaintive harmonica of The
Untouchables' The Strength of the Righteous (the instrument,
played by soundtrack veteran Tommy Morgan, comes to symbolise the movie's
The score's idiosyncratic textures,
blending noir with smoky jazz, carry into the rest of the album, create a
score which is full of fun, inventive moments and ear-catching
The film may have been savaged by the
critics, and forsaken by audiences, but its score deserves to be heard.
Highlights include the shimmering culmination to the romantic strand of
the film, Spirit Kisses Sand.
The CD includes a fold-out poster,
featuring exclusive Frank Miller artwork.
couple months ago I caught up with a Clerks-like British film from
2006 about supermarket workers called Cashback, which features the
lovely Emilia Fox. Investigating whether the film had spawned a soundtrack
CD, I found that one was planned for release in December last year - a
couple of months after even the DVD had come out - but no-one seemed to
have it in stock, so I assumed it had been cancelled.
Well, the CD wasn't cancelled, just
delayed, and it's being released by Silva Screen on February the 16th.
I wouldn't claim that Guy Farley's dreamy
score (reminiscent, in parts, of the more wistful moments of Kamen's
Highlander) is especially exciting, or even that memorable, but the
disc is a nice collection for fans of the movie. In addition to twenty
minutes of score (performed by the London Metropolitan Orchestra), there
are nine additional tracks, including a schmaltzy track by Trevor Duncan
called Enchanted April.
week's Zeta Minor News
can be viewed here.
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