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 Posted:   Apr 16, 2005 - 4:05 PM   
 By:   riotengine   (Member)

I’m having a discussion with someone over on another forum and the question came up, did Robert Mitchum sing the main title theme (under the credits) for the 1954 Otto Preminger (Mitchum & Marilyn Monroe) film, River Of No Return? I say emphatically no, the other guy swears it’s Mitchum. The actual vocal is uncredited on the IMDB. Any of you learned gentlemen happen to know who actually performed that song in the film?

Some say it was Tennessee Ernie Ford. He sounds more like the vocalist than Mitchum by a longshot.

Greg Espinoza

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 16, 2005 - 5:02 PM   
 By:   MICHAEL HOMA   (Member)

it was TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD!

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 16, 2005 - 9:47 PM   
 By:   PeterD   (Member)

Anyone know why Ernie's name didn't appear in the opening credits? Wasn't it pretty standard practice for title song vocalists to be mentioned by name?

 
 Posted:   Apr 16, 2005 - 10:06 PM   
 By:   Valere   (Member)

Well, if it is Tennesse, he does one heluva job doing Mitchum's singing voice. I have this on tape, and I always thought that it was Mitchum singing.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 17, 2005 - 3:26 AM   
 By:   PeterD   (Member)

No, it's definitely Ernie, although he does sound a tad like Mitchum:

http://www.ernieford.com/DiscographySingles2.htm

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 17, 2005 - 4:13 AM   
 By:   philip*eric   (Member)

I always assumed it was Tennesse Ernie Ford - Im surprized it's not in the credits. I wish some one - Intrada perhaps or Varese Sarabande - would release this score plus songs on cd. I think in stereo this would make a great soundtrack(songs by Lionel Newman and Ken Darby, Score by Cyril Mockridge), including perhaps previously unreleased tracks by Marilyn Monroe.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 18, 2005 - 3:00 AM   
 By:   riotengine   (Member)

No, it's definitely Ernie, although he does sound a tad like Mitchum:

http://www.ernieford.com/DiscographySingles2.htm


Wow, ya beat to it. I was gonna post a similar link. smile

After listening to this on that site, I have no doubt now that Tennessee Ernie Ford’s the one who sang the main title of River Of No Return. That baritone voice sounds absolutely dead-on.

Greg Espinoza

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 18, 2005 - 6:31 AM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

I just pulled out my DVD of this and as everyone is pointing out, it is, most certainly, "Tennessee" Ernie Ford doing the vocal over the Main Title---backed by some exotic female voices (supervised by Ken Darby) and Lionel Newman's conducting of the Fox Orchestra.

This DVD, by the way, is beautifully mastered with a very nice-and-wide CinemaScope picture and "4-track High-Fidelity Stereophonic Sound".
If you're interested in these sorts of films you'd probably enjoy getting the DVD.

The picture, itself, was photographed in the beautiful Banff and Lake Louise area of Canada, and the scenery is gorgeous. Several of the sequences were filmed just down the hill from the back side of the famous Banff Springs Hotel. (I've shot in this locale several times over the years, and from the Fox set for these sequences, Mitchum could have walked easily to the hotel's bar and Monroe to her hotel room to call Lee Strasberg for the day's acting tips! big grin )


In my film-music collection, for those films which didn't have soundtrack albums of one sort or another but just "singles", I have made my own soundtrack album "box sets" with computer-printed spines and covers (utilizing old 1/4" reel-to-reel tape boxes).

Usually, six 45rpm records in their paper sleeves will fit into one box, and although I don't always have six 45s to put in them, they usually contain a few "cover" versions of the songs or themes I've been able to find for each particular film over the years.


I pulled out my RIVER OF NO RETURN box and found:

CAPITOL F-2810:
"Tennessee" Ernie Ford singing
"River of No Return"
with Orchestra and Chorus Conducted by Billy May

20TH FOX RECORDS 311:
Marilyn Monroe singing
"River of No Return"
(backed with one of the other tunes from the film, "One Silver Dollar")

CORAL RECORDS 9-61186
Sons of the Pioneers singing
"River of No Return"
(with unidentified orchestral accompaniment)


Incidentally, the pressbook ad I've used as the cover art says:

Robert Mitchum.....The Fuse

Marilyn Monroe.....The Flame

in CinemaScope

.....take you into God's country
where the Devil wears six-guns....
in the love-battle of the century!"


They sure knew how to "sell" movies then!!!

(None of those Roger Ebert or Susan Granger critics' quotes for Mitchum and Monroe! big grin )

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 18, 2005 - 3:47 PM   
 By:   riotengine   (Member)

I just pulled out my DVD of this and as everyone is pointing out, it is, most certainly, "Tennessee" Ernie Ford doing the vocal over the Main Title---backed by some exotic female voices (supervised by Ken Darby) and Lionel Newman's conducting of the Fox Orchestra.

The picture, itself, was photographed in the beautiful Banff and Lake Louise area of Canada, and the scenery is gorgeous. Several of the sequences were filmed just down the hill from the back side of the famous Banff Springs Hotel. (I've shot in this locale several times over the years, and from the Fox set for these sequences, Mitchum could have walked easily to the hotel's bar and Monroe to her hotel room to call Lee Strasberg for the day's acting tips! big grin )

In my film-music collection, for those films which didn't have soundtrack albums of one sort or another but just "singles", I have made my own soundtrack album "box sets" with computer-printed spines and covers (utilizing old 1/4" reel-to-reel tape boxes).

Usually, six 45rpm records in their paper sleeves will fit into one box, and although I don't always have six 45s to put in them, they usually contain a few "cover" versions of the songs or themes I've been able to find for each particular film over the years.

I pulled out my RIVER OF NO RETURN box and found:

CAPITOL F-2810:
"Tennessee" Ernie Ford singing
"River of No Return"
with Orchestra and Chorus Conducted by Billy May

20TH FOX RECORDS 311:
Marilyn Monroe singing
"River of No Return"
(backed with one of the other tunes from the film, "One Silver Dollar")

CORAL RECORDS 9-61186
Sons of the Pioneers singing
"River of No Return"
(with unidentified orchestral accompaniment)

Incidentally, the pressbook ad I've used as the cover art says:

Robert Mitchum.....The Fuse

Marilyn Monroe.....The Flame

in CinemaScope

.....take you into God's country
where the Devil wears six-guns....
in the love-battle of the century!"

They sure knew how to "sell" movies then!!!

(None of those Roger Ebert or Susan Granger critics' quotes for Mitchum and Monroe! big grin )


Thanks, Manderley. What a wealth of information. I guess there was never a definitive release of the River Of No Return soundtrack back in the fifties?

This DVD, by the way, is beautifully mastered with a very nice-and-wide CinemaScope picture and "4-track High-Fidelity Stereophonic Sound".
If you're interested in these sorts of films you'd probably enjoy getting the DVD.


"River" is one of my favorite westerns from the fifties. I've been through two previous LD versions, but I'm eventually going to pick up the DVD. One of the things I enjoyed about the film, (And the gorgeous scenery) was the music and that theme. I never really knew who the vocalist was, now that question is answered.

BTW, is it unusual that Tennessee Ernie Ford wasn't credited on the film? I'm wondering why he didn't have a screen credit. Could that have been some sort of contractual issue?

Greg Espinoza

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 18, 2005 - 4:30 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

.....BTW, is it unusual that Tennessee Ernie Ford wasn't credited on the film? I'm wondering why he didn't have a screen credit. Could that have been some sort of contractual issue?.....


Just a guess, Greg:

It's possible that Ford's singing of the title song was a last minute addition to the track, after the film was completed and the Main Title cards were shot.

When these films were done in those days the song material was often sent around to the various recording companies to find out if they wanted to do "cover" versions of the tunes. Sometimes the artists would snap at the offer, they'd get a hit recording, and the studio would get great publicity.

I suspect that the Main Title may have originally been planned to have a chorus singing the song, rather than a solo "star", but when the studio heard Ford's as yet unreleased master they decided on using him.


In the same period, THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN was originally shot as WE BELIEVE IN LOVE, and a title song was written for that (later recorded by Gogi Grant), before the THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN title was selected and Frank Sinatra agreed to do the new title tune. The recently released THREE COINS cd doesn't include Sinatra's opening vocal so his employment was probably a very special contractual deal made after the shooting, which couldn't be cleared today.

They sometimes made up their minds after the fact, or first previews, rather than before.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 19, 2005 - 2:57 AM   
 By:   Doug Bull   (Member)

Watched a not too recent documentary on Robert Mitchum the other night on the Biography Channel.
It claimed Robert Mitchum sang the song and showed a clip of him, taken from the beginning of the film.
I knew it was incorrect and that Ernie Ford sang it.

Maybe that Doco is where the mistaken Bob Mitchum credit originally came from.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 19, 2005 - 5:08 AM   
 By:   riotengine   (Member)

Watched a not too recent documentary on Robert Mitchum the other night on the Biography Channel.
It claimed Robert Mitchum sang the song and showed a clip of him, taken from the beginning of the film.
I knew it was incorrect and that Ernie Ford sang it.

Maybe that Doco is where the mistaken Bob Mitchum credit originally came from.


Interesting. Do you happen to know when that documentary was made?

Greg Espinoza

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 19, 2005 - 5:11 AM   
 By:   riotengine   (Member)

.....BTW, is it unusual that Tennessee Ernie Ford wasn't credited on the film? I'm wondering why he didn't have a screen credit. Could that have been some sort of contractual issue?.....


Just a guess, Greg:

It's possible that Ford's singing of the title song was a last minute addition to the track, after the film was completed and the Main Title cards were shot.

When these films were done in those days the song material was often sent around to the various recording companies to find out if they wanted to do "cover" versions of the tunes. Sometimes the artists would snap at the offer, they'd get a hit recording, and the studio would get great publicity.

I suspect that the Main Title may have originally been planned to have a chorus singing the song, rather than a solo "star", but when the studio heard Ford's as yet unreleased master they decided on using him.

In the same period, THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN was originally shot as WE BELIEVE IN LOVE, and a title song was written for that (later recorded by Gogi Grant), before the THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN title was selected and Frank Sinatra agreed to do the new title tune. The recently released THREE COINS cd doesn't include Sinatra's opening vocal so his employment was probably a very special contractual deal made after the shooting, which couldn't be cleared today.

They sometimes made up their minds after the fact, or first previews, rather than before.


Thanks for the response, Manderley. That's some very cool info.

Greg Espinoza

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 19, 2005 - 10:25 PM   
 By:   Doug Bull   (Member)

Sorry Greg,
I didn't note the date, but by the production style I would have thought probably late 90s.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 23, 2005 - 5:03 PM   
 By:   riotengine   (Member)

The guy I'm having the disagreement with on another board simply won't believe it's not Mitchum singing that song.

I e-mailed the people at the official Tennessee Ernie Ford site, looking for a more definitive answer. I figured they would have the skinny on this question.

And they did...

"The short answer to your question is 'yes' -- Ernie was the only vocalist performing the title track.

Prior to his getting the gig, Ernie had recorded a number of sides with arranger/conductor Billy May -- all before "Sixteen Tons" was released in October of 1955. Among those sides was "Theme From River of No Return", the 'B' side of "Give Me Your Word", also arranged and conducted by May. Both were recorded in 1954. Ernie's rising popularity and powerful baritone, combined with May's lush arrangements made Ernie the natural choice.

While Robert Mitchum never performed the song on the soundtrack, he was known to do the song on occasional personal appearances.

Thanks for visiting.

Ann @ TEF"

Greg Espinoza

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 3, 2008 - 9:23 AM   
 By:   Niall from Ireland   (Member)

I just pulled out my DVD of this and as everyone is pointing out, it is, most certainly, "Tennessee" Ernie Ford doing the vocal over the Main Title---backed by some exotic female voices (supervised by Ken Darby) and Lionel Newman's conducting of the Fox Orchestra.

This DVD, by the way, is beautifully mastered with a very nice-and-wide CinemaScope picture and "4-track High-Fidelity Stereophonic Sound".
If you're interested in these sorts of films you'd probably enjoy getting the DVD.

The picture, itself, was photographed in the beautiful Banff and Lake Louise area of Canada, and the scenery is gorgeous. Several of the sequences were filmed just down the hill from the back side of the famous Banff Springs Hotel. (I've shot in this locale several times over the years, and from the Fox set for these sequences, Mitchum could have walked easily to the hotel's bar and Monroe to her hotel room to call Lee Strasberg for the day's acting tips! big grin )


In my film-music collection, for those films which didn't have soundtrack albums of one sort or another but just "singles", I have made my own soundtrack album "box sets" with computer-printed spines and covers (utilizing old 1/4" reel-to-reel tape boxes).

Usually, six 45rpm records in their paper sleeves will fit into one box, and although I don't always have six 45s to put in them, they usually contain a few "cover" versions of the songs or themes I've been able to find for each particular film over the years.


I pulled out my RIVER OF NO RETURN box and found:

CAPITOL F-2810:
"Tennessee" Ernie Ford singing
"River of No Return"
with Orchestra and Chorus Conducted by Billy May

20TH FOX RECORDS 311:
Marilyn Monroe singing
"River of No Return"
(backed with one of the other tunes from the film, "One Silver Dollar")

CORAL RECORDS 9-61186
Sons of the Pioneers singing
"River of No Return"
(with unidentified orchestral accompaniment)


Incidentally, the pressbook ad I've used as the cover art says:

Robert Mitchum.....The Fuse

Marilyn Monroe.....The Flame

in CinemaScope

.....take you into God's country
where the Devil wears six-guns....
in the love-battle of the century!"


They sure knew how to "sell" movies then!!!

(None of those Roger Ebert or Susan Granger critics' quotes for Mitchum and Monroe! big grin )


Hi manderley,
I was just wondering if you ever made up your own little box set for The Man From Laramie ? This is my all-time favourite cowboy theme song. I've had the Al Martino original 45rpm release on the Capitol label since I was a kid and a while back a very kind fellow FSM poster sent me a CDR containing the original choral version from the film, with different lyrics. A version sung by Jimmy Young was released in the UK way back then but I've never had that.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 3, 2008 - 10:58 PM   
 By:   philip*eric   (Member)

I do wish heartily that FSM would release this score plus songs on CD - it is unjustly forgotten.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 4, 2008 - 1:12 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

I do wish heartily that FSM would release this score plus songs on CD - it is unjustly forgotten.

More likely to be a Varese title, now that FSM's Fox relationship has lapsed.

 
 Posted:   Feb 4, 2008 - 7:48 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

I do wish heartily that FSM would release this score plus songs on CD - it is unjustly forgotten.

More likely to be a Varese title, now that FSM's Fox relationship has lapsed.


Just as likely to be on Intrada these days.

Possibly, it could be paired with another score as I don't recall there being a lot of music within the film.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 4, 2008 - 1:54 PM   
 By:   philip*eric   (Member)

I do wish heartily that FSM would release this score plus songs on CD - it is unjustly forgotten.

More likely to be a Varese title, now that FSM's Fox relationship has lapsed.


Just as likely to be on Intrada these days.

Possibly, it could be paired with another score as I don't recall there being a lot of music within the film.

I would think that the Marilyn vocals would be a big selling point - perhaps there are outtakes or alternate versions in the Fox archives . I would guess that there is at least 30 minutes of background score - none of which has ever been released.

 
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