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 Posted:   Jan 10, 2012 - 3:50 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

This was a self-sufficient 1964 TV movie, expanded from the episode "Once Upon a Savage Night" from KRAFT SUSPENSE THEATER (Season 1, episode 21), much like SGT. RYKER (also scored by Williams) was a TV movie version of the 2-part "The Strange Case of Sgt. Ryker" in the same show. I'm not quite sure how these versions came to be. Did they shoot extra footage? Did they merely re-edit the existing material?

It's one of the early Robert Altman/John Williams collaborations in TV land, basically the story about a serial killer roaming free in Chicago while a convoy carrying a nuclear warhead(?) drives through the city. Towards the end of the film, these two narrative lines are combined. It's not a very good film. The serial killer comes off as clichéed and unnecessarily reckless. The characters are relatively shallow. But the interesting thing is how you can spot certain arty altmanisms even in this mainstream format -- some framings, situations etc. (like when he kills a woman in the corner of a fashion show -- shot from a distance, in silence as the music of the show is heard).

Unfortunately, this was a very poor copy, and since the film basically takes place during the night, it wasn't always easy to see everything. But a very interesting viewing anyway.

Williams' score is mostly in his typical 'crime jazz' mode, perhaps exemplified by the main title theme (which doesn't really appear anywhere else in the film per se). There's also some interesting jazz/pop source music for the fashion show and an intense march for the convoy, pre-shadowing his "March of the Villains" music from SUPERMAN, perhaps. This theme pops up as a calling card every time the convoy is seen driving past. Here's a clip of the main theme and the convoy march, courtesy of the member 'filmmusic' on jwfan.net:

http://www.celluloidtunes.net/non-website/chicago1.mp3
http://www.celluloidtunes.net/non-website/chicago2.mp3

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 10, 2012 - 4:43 AM   
 By:   vinylscrubber   (Member)

That "Convoy March" has been stuck in my mind ever since I first saw the Kraft Suspense Theatre hour-long version of this film back in '64. I didn't catch up with the feature length version until it played on local tv in San Francisco in spring of 1973. Lord knows, nobody seems to run this one these days.

Thanks for this "blast from the past", Thor.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 10, 2012 - 10:52 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

This was a self-sufficient 1964 TV movie, expanded from the episode "Once Upon a Savage Night" from KRAFT SUSPENSE THEATER (Season 1, episode 21), much like SGT. RYKER (also scored by Williams) was a TV movie version of the 2-part "The Strange Case of Sgt. Ryker" in the same show. I'm not quite sure how these versions came to be. Did they shoot extra footage? Did they merely re-edit the existing material?



The movie version of "Sergeant Ryker" was not a TV movie, it was a theatrical release. The theatrical version of "Sergeant Ryker" ran 86 minutes. Given that the two-part Kraft Suspense Theatre version would have had about 100 minutes of edited footage available, it's a safe bet that the film was edited down from the TV footage. Since the TV version aired in October 1963, and the film wasn't released until nearly five years later (February 1968), it's unlikely that additional footage was later filmed for, or was originally filmed in anticipation of, an eventual theatrical release (although there could be some outtake footage that could have been available for use).

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 10, 2012 - 12:09 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

This was a self-sufficient 1964 TV movie, expanded from the episode "Once Upon a Savage Night" from KRAFT SUSPENSE THEATER (Season 1, episode 21), much like SGT. RYKER (also scored by Williams) was a TV movie version of the 2-part "The Strange Case of Sgt. Ryker" in the same show. I'm not quite sure how these versions came to be. Did they shoot extra footage? Did they merely re-edit the existing material?



The movie version of "Sergeant Ryker" was not a TV movie, it was a theatrical release. The theatrical version of "Sergeant Ryker" ran 86 minutes. Given that the two-part Kraft Suspense Theatre version would have had about 100 minutes of edited footage available, it's a safe bet that the film was edited down from the TV footage. Since the TV version aired in October 1963, and the film wasn't released until nearly five years later (February 1968), it's unlikely that additional footage was later filmed for, or was originally filmed in anticipation of, an eventual theatrical release (although there could be some outtake footage that could have been available for use).


I was talking about NIGHTMARE IN CHICAGO, not SGT. RYKER. But thanks for pointing out the latter was a theatrical film adaptation and not a TV movie adaptation.

 
 Posted:   Jan 10, 2012 - 12:30 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

I'd never have guessed. Nice posty, Thor.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 10, 2012 - 1:09 PM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

...and, of course, for the cool new (to us) William's music, thanks!

 
 Posted:   Jan 10, 2012 - 7:49 PM   
 By:   Jeff Eldridge   (Member)

http://www.celluloidtunes.net/non-website/chicago1.mp3
http://www.celluloidtunes.net/non-website/chicago2.mp3


The jazz waltz in the first clip was not in the "Once Upon a Savage Night" Kraft Suspense Theatre episode but added later for the main titles of the theatrical Nightmare in Chicago release. I suspect it is not by Williams.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2012 - 1:55 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

http://www.celluloidtunes.net/non-website/chicago1.mp3
http://www.celluloidtunes.net/non-website/chicago2.mp3


The jazz waltz in the first clip was not in the "Once Upon a Savage Night" Kraft Suspense Theatre episode but added later for the main titles of the theatrical Nightmare in Chicago release. I suspect it is not by Williams.


Really? Could be. I thought it had certain Williams-isms, i.e. his M SQUAD sound.

 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2012 - 11:32 PM   
 By:   Jeff Eldridge   (Member)

According to BMI, it was by Stanley Wilson:

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 12, 2012 - 2:03 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Stanley Wilson is credited as the music supervisor for "Sergeant Ryker." I wonder if he composed the main title for that film as well.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 12, 2012 - 3:23 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Stanley Wilson is credited as the music supervisor for "Sergeant Ryker." I wonder if he composed the main title for that film as well.

No, that one definitely is Williams. Sounds nothing like Wilson. The NIGHTMARE IN CHICAGO theme was borderline, though. Sorry to hear it wasn't JW. It was one of the score's highlights.

 
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