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 Posted:   Nov 12, 2012 - 4:41 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

more Rozsa however seems a beter bet

YAH!

(Just wanted to let you know that, despite the occasional nitpicking, I'm extremely grateful for these Rozsa releases and would pay even more for them if I had to. Not that that's an invitation to put up prices, of course. smile ).

 
 Posted:   Nov 12, 2012 - 5:51 AM   
 By:   Ag^Janus   (Member)

This superb release brought me back to the FSM forum after 7 years. Outstanding performance. Couldn't believe my ears, this is for me the definitive version.

I am so glad that so many people like this release as certainly was a "labour of love" by all involved....


...and maybe once again let us ponder what is going into the new recording pipeline? How about Victor Young's SHANE? Maybe coupled with a few of Victor's other score suites.

Lovely, shiney, polished, vibrant QUO VADIS for us all to savour ... I might even take a listen to the Rozsa Box originals again now.


I very much doubt that I would ever get round to Victor Young, even though I love los of his music....but sad to say his msc just does not sell enough to justify the huge recording costs... more Rozsa however seems a better bet


Unfortunately seems like the case, but I'll still day dream about it. I like the Rozsa music very much and hope many more projects come to fruition, variation is wonderful if possible.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 16, 2012 - 10:37 PM   
 By:   Joe Caps   (Member)

Just got this in the mail yesterday. fantastic recording. It is all that one could hope it would be.

Only one bone to pick here. Frank de wald, as always writes great notes. However, on CD2 Track 1, he says
"Quo Vadis was originally intended to be in two parts. Only after the music had been recorded, did the filmakers decide to present the film without Intermission..."

Whoa !!! This certainly is NOT true. This is one of the films that was constantly shown at one of two revival houses in my small town. Always with Intermission and Intermission card, always with the music, now named Overture, as the Intermission music. this film never had a prescreen Overture.

 
 Posted:   Nov 16, 2012 - 10:47 PM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

Finally listened to this recording, and what a fantastic recording it is. I'll admit that the second half of the score is not as interesting to me as the first half (the fanfares start to tire), but that's a minor quibble. And the presentation of the concert suite is absolutely glorious!

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 1:19 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

Just got this in the mail yesterday. fantastic recording. It is all that one could hope it would be.

Only one bone to pick here. Frank de wald, as always writes great notes. However, on CD2 Track 1, he says
"Quo Vadis was originally intended to be in two parts. Only after the music had been recorded, did the filmakers decide to present the film without Intermission..."

Whoa !!! This certainly is NOT true. This is one of the films that was constantly shown at one of two revival houses in my small town. Always with Intermission and Intermission card, always with the music, now named Overture, as the Intermission music. this film never had a prescreen Overture.


I never saw it at its original showing (I'm old, but not that old!), but when I caught it in re-release in the early 60s it certainly had an Intermission, and I have no reason not to believe that was how it was presented 10 years before. Indeed I would find it hard to believe that a 3 hour film was shown straight through in those days of ice chocs, bucket popcorn and chain smokers. Same goes for Sodom & Gomorrah; did they really expect people to sit so long without even a toilet break? I know they do these days (Titanic or The English Patient anyone?), but I can't imagine the audience not revolting and storming the projection room back then.

 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 1:43 AM   
 By:   Ag^Janus   (Member)

I'd like to see the return of films with intermissions. Could be a good move to reintroduce into the cinema, I'm not old enough to have had the luxury of the "classical" theatre experience. I'm enjoying Frank's music synopsis too!

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 3:03 AM   
 By:   counterpoint   (Member)

That sounds almost more amazing than the rerecording of EL CID if that even is possible. Brillant.

 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 6:37 AM   
 By:   George Komar   (Member)

Just got this in the mail yesterday. fantastic recording. It is all that one could hope it would be.

Yes, the recording is like a classic work of art in which layers of dirt and grime have been carefully and painstakingly removed to allow the masterpiece beneath to shine in all of its polish and glory. Fantastic results!

Frank de wald, as always writes great notes.

Very true, very educational, and always a joy to read and re-read.

This is one of the films that was constantly shown at one of two revival houses in my small town. Always with Intermission and Intermission card, always with the music, now named Overture, as the Intermission music. this film never had a prescreen Overture.

The set does subtitle the Overture as an "Intermezzo," Joe, indicating that it was originally intended to be heard as an Entr'acte. Your revival house experience seems to be the first confirmation that the film was actually presented in two acts. Was MGM ever aware that such prints were still in existence?

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 7:12 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

My first viewing was an official reissue (1964 in a Loew's theater). There was an intermission (ill placed and quite late in the story, I recall) that was announced with a handwritten (!) title card, suggesting that M-G-M had certainly abandoned the idea by that time.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 8:05 AM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

Well, all you have to do is listen to the original 10-inch lp, in which "Chariot Chase" ends with a flourish, to understand that's where the original intermission was placed. (Which i always thought was pretty dumb; I thought the intermission should have come after Lygia gives up Marcus, with the second half starting at the court at Antium; the establishing shot of Antium has always seemed like the first shot of a second half to me. To stop the movie in the middle of what is supposed to be an exciting sequence stops the momentum, which is challenging to regain after everyone has gone out to do whatever it is they want to do, and then come back in.

Also, the film was definitely shown as a roadshow in its initial release, and was somewhat longer, about 15-20 mins., all of which seems to have been lost, though there are hints here and there, like Peter's speech to the imprisoned Christians, heard on the "Dialogue Highlights" lp, but not in the film as it stands today. (MGM did that elsewhere; the "Dialogue Highlights" lp of JULIUS CAESAR has Cassius's suicide speech, which is not in the film we see today. That may have been a roadshow also in its initial release. For what it's worth, both films had souvenir programs, and very nice ones, which I still have, and which can easily be found on E-bay. But then, KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE also had a souvenir program, and I never heard that film was ever roadshow; so go figure...)

QUO VADIS is a colossal picture, as Life Magazine at the time called it. Everything in it is just so opulent, especially if you see it in a good Technicolor print, so much red and gold all over the place. If it were a dessert, it would be something with a very rich cake and lots of different kinds of real frosting, so that only a small amount would make you feel full. But QUO VADIS immerses you in opulence, again and again, so that by the end of it, you almost feel overdosed in sensations. It's highly unlikely that anyone could make a similar picture today; their heads are just not in the same overblown space that existed then.

(Although, I've always been intrigued by what the originally chosen director, John Huston, would have done with it, especially with the stars originally cast: Gregory Peck and Elizabeth Taylor. I read somewhere that Huston's take presented Nero as a blowhard dictator, similar to various fascist leaders, and that MGM didn't want anything that had such a dark overtone. A more thoughtful film, certainly, though perhaps one at odds with the spectacle MGM was wont to create with their massive production values...)

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 8:16 AM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)


The set does subtitle the Overture as an "Intermezzo," Joe, indicating that it was originally intended to be heard as an Entr'acte. Your revival house experience seems to be the first confirmation that the film was actually presented in two acts. Was MGM ever aware that such prints were still in existence?


The TCM website quotes information from the AFI about the intermission as follows:

The first preview of the film was held on June 30, 1951 in Berkeley, CA, with a second "sneak" held the following night in San Francisco. According to a New York Times article on the film, audience members at both previews were asked if they preferred to have the picture shown with an intermission or have it run straight through. The article stated that both audiences, one of which was given an intermission, the other not, voted overwhelmingly to have an intermission at one screening and not to have one at the other. When the film had its premiere and road show engagements, an intermission was included. http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/933/Quo-Vadis/notes.html

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 8:42 AM   
 By:   Joe Caps   (Member)


Great. So where did Frank deWald think that the film did not have intermission.

John Archibald, who I respect very much now says that originally the film was 15- 20 minutes longer. But the pressbook gives the runing time as 176 min. the library of Congress coyright is the same length, the length that mgm gave them to copyright. I believe those dialogue albums were made long before the film was finalized.

 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 9:21 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Well, all you have to do is listen to the original 10-inch lp, in which "Chariot Chase" ends with a flourish, to understand that's where the original intermission was placed. (Which i always thought was pretty dumb; I thought the intermission should have come after Lygia gives up Marcus, with the second half starting at the court at Antium; the establishing shot of Antium has always seemed like the first shot of a second half to me...

The people who edited the various DVD releases seem to agree with you John, that's where they planted it. The thing is though, that, apart from the triumph, there are no big massed crowd scenes in Act I, so it's possible they wanted to create a teaser for that aspect of Act II by leading up to a cliffhanger.



(Although, I've always been intrigued by what the originally chosen director, John Huston, would have done with it, especially with the stars originally cast: Gregory Peck and Elizabeth Taylor. I read somewhere that Huston's take presented Nero as a blowhard dictator, similar to various fascist leaders, and that MGM didn't want anything that had such a dark overtone. A more thoughtful film, certainly, though perhaps one at odds with the spectacle MGM was wont to create with their massive production values...)

Much as I love Huston's take on everything, and his imagery, even if the contemporary interpretation of the thing had been kept more overtly, Peck just isn't Sienkiewicz's Marcus Vinicius. He's too placid, too staight-square balanced, too monumental. Vinicius has to be a pagan hothead, and ruthless. Huston's vision wouldn't have precluded the opulence though. It's hard to say who'd've been the perfect Vinicius. Probably Richard Burton in youth. But Dicky had already played in the comparatively wooden 'Robe' as a more introspective type of something similar, and that'd have typecast him.

 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 9:31 AM   
 By:   Frank DeWald   (Member)

Great. So where did Frank deWald think that the film did not have intermission.

John Archibald, who I respect very much now says that originally the film was 15- 20 minutes longer. But the pressbook gives the runing time as 176 min. the library of Congress coyright is the same length, the length that mgm gave them to copyright. I believe those dialogue albums were made long before the film was finalized.


While I do not generally wish I was older, in this case I wish I had seen for my own eyes what those initial showings -- roadshow or otherwise -- were like. Whether there was an actual break in the film or not, my point was that the footage for which MR composed "Prelude to Second Part" and "The Road to Rome" was never part of the official release. Indeed, the studio's official cue sheet, dated December 18, 1951, does not include either cue. It goes directly from "36. Chariot Chase" to "37. Burning of Rome, Part 1." As for the "Intermezzo," the cue sheet places it at the BEGINNING of the film, leading me to believe that although Rozsa may have COMPOSED it as an Entr'acte, it was USED as an overture.

Doug's find on the TCM site re: the June 30 preview in Berkeley is fascinating, but it doesn't tell us much about the official release. Rozsa recorded score revisions in mid-August, so obviously they were still tinkering with the film at that point.

Herb Norenberg, however, was kind enough to point out a factual error that DID slip past all the eyes that looked over those notes: the London sessions were held in April 1951, not August 1950! I'm not sure how that happened -- but I'm in good company. The captions on both photos from the original RPO sessions in (the first edition of) "Double Life" are dated 1950!

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 10:03 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

my point was that the footage for which MR composed "Prelude to Second Part" and "The Road to Rome" was never part of the official release.

Whatever the theatrical showings may have involved, I am fascinated by Rozsa's approach in these two cues. It would appear that the idea was to re-engage the audience in an ongoing action and then hurl them right over the precipice "in medias res." The only other example I can think of is DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, whose second act begins inside the railroad tunnel with no visuals at all and only the sound of the train to evoke the situation of the characters. Of course there was no music involved at this point.

 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 11:02 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

It's hard to say who'd've been the perfect Vinicius. Probably Richard Burton in youth. But Dicky had already played in the comparatively wooden 'Robe' as a more introspective type of something similar, and that'd have typecast him.


I need to correct my own crap here!

Of course, QV came before 'The Robe', so Burton wouldn't have been in the offing. It must've seemed to someone that he was right for this sort of thing though later. He'd 've been a perfect and explosive Vinicius like Sienkiewicz intended.

QV always looks far more 'modern' than that other film.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 2:13 PM   
 By:   sr-miller   (Member)

Finally listened to this recording, and what a fantastic recording it is. I'll admit that the second half of the score is not as interesting to me as the first half (the fanfares start to tire), but that's a minor quibble. And the presentation of the concert suite is absolutely glorious!

I also love this release. With a little judicious trimming of fanfares, songs, and dances, I've got a great 80 minute CD.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 3:59 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

I also love this release. With a little judicious trimming of fanfares, songs, and dances, I've got a great 80 minute CD.

Of course. There are one or two too many of each, but what we've got here is a large bunch of flowers from which to make a nice vase display, if you're into that sort of thing. smile

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 4:10 PM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

Can't agree about the "dances" -- by which term I think you mean all the incidental source music. These pieces (some never heard before) form a fascinating cornucopia of antiquarian exotica that I could not do without. If I were making a condensed version, I think I would trim some instances of the Lygia theme. It's one of Rozsa's most beautiful melodies, which is saying a lot. And the theme is subject to interesting variation over the course of the whole. But there's just too much of it for one listening session. I feel the same way about the Tadlow EL CID and the love theme of that score. This is not a criticism of the modern recordings; they were designed to document the entire scores. Nor is it a criticism of MR's originals. In the films there are large swaths of dialogue and action between recurrences of these themes. But in some listening contexts, less may be more.

 
 Posted:   Nov 17, 2012 - 4:51 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

Can't agree about the "dances" -- by which term I think you mean all the incidental source music. These pieces (some never heard before) form a fascinating cornucopia of antiquarian exotica that I could not do without. If I were making a condensed version, I think I would trim some instances of the Lygia theme. It's one of Rozsa's most beautiful melodies, which is saying a lot. And the theme is subject to interesting variation over the course of the whole. But there's just too much of it for one listening session. I feel the same way about the Tadlow EL CID and the love theme of that score. This is not a criticism of the modern recordings; they were designed to document the entire scores. Nor is it a criticism of MR's originals. In the films there are large swaths of dialogue and action between recurrences of these themes. But in some listening contexts, less may be more.



This is what I mean about source music. It gives this score authority. You and I might be incredibly excited about this material with its melodies that are two millennia old, but a lot of people here want the 'Hollywood' experience.

The bigger world out there are more representative of the more universal appreciation, and that's where I'd like the Rozsa experience to expand into.

 
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