Soundtrack News & Reviews
On the news front, Screen Archives Entertainment have set Twilight Time’s next Blu-rays for pre-order, and both Picnic (1955) and The Roots of Heaven (1958) will contain isolated score tracks of George Duning and Malcolm Arnold’s respective scores. See, some wishes can come true (albeit when there are like-minded people, and music elements still survive).
Coming shortly will be reviews of La-La Land’s final CDs for 2011, including Die Hard, which in the past has been available as a bootleg CD (via the ephemeral Pony Tail brand) around 1996 (with surprisingly great sound, perhaps a sign a proper soundtrack CD was prepped at one time); and as a limited CD from Varese Sarabande in 2002, with better sound, but less oomphy bass. An advance listen reveals (at least from memory) LLL’s 2-disc set has warmer bass, which is important when one listens to both the RV and helicopter tower assaults, of which the latter is perhaps the Greatest Action Cue Ever Written.
Just uploaded are reviews of the compilation song CD for the Hawaii-set drama The Descendants [M] (Sony Classical) and Ludovic Bource’s buoyant music for The Artist [M] (also Sony), of which the CD includes a brief Q&A in English and French. I generally avoid reading any liner notes before writing a review so a score can hit me directly, and I can react to whatever unique nuances I may notice, so it was kind of rewarding to read Bource’s recount of deliberately listening to specific composers from the silent and early sound era. Yes, this is partial ego-stroking, but it is weirdly gratifying you pick out Waxman, Chaplin, and Herrmann references – signs the brain is still working in spite of Over Forty Syndrome.
(Those affected know exactly what I’m talking about. Note: I don’t want to hear what happens when you hit 50, 60, and 70. Hopefully a higher consumption of fish will delay the inevitable assimilation of similar-themed facts, otherwise known as ‘mushing,’ like when your brain takes two movie plots and mushes them into one; or you can’t recall a film title, but you can ‘see’ the poster art and font style of the title, but the movie’s name is a mushy blur.)
Also uploaded are reviews of Bear McCreary’s score for the cancelled series The Cape [M] in a great 2-CD set from LLL, and the label also presents a 2-disc set for Alfred Newman’s A Certain Smile [M] from 1958, and probably one of Newman’s best scores of the late fifties; lovely themes, and clean writing.
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Unrelated (well, sort of), HMV in Toronto (and presumably Canada-wide) is selling that fat Murnau and Borzage at Fox box for $89.99 – almost a third of its original list price. Why? Who cares. It’s 12 classic silent & sound films by two master filmmakers during their tenure at Fox. Some of the films have commentary tracks, and newly recorded film scores. The only title that I think was previously released is Murnau’s Sunrise (1927), which Fox apparently re-transferred for the box and added a newly discovered silent Czech version featuring an alternate European edit of the film.
Britain’s Eureka Entertainment actually released the two Sunrise versions on DVD and Blu-ray (Region B) in 2009 as part of their Masters of Cinema series. Although it’s now OOP, the title has been repressed as a dual BR+DVD release. Eureka’s current catalogue details in-print, OOP, and re-issued titles in this PDF file.