I picked up a dye-transfer of this 1965 Civil War drama and it brought back many memories. My mom had taken me to see it when it was released and I remember her gasping and sobbing when the renegades killed Michael Wayne (and subsequently Katherine Ross). While not an artfully done picture (Andrew McLaglen directed), the story is very strong and there are some great performances, particularly by James Stewart, Philip Alford and Paul Fix. James Best is also really, really good.
Frank Skinner's music is a fine job near the end of his great career and I pulled out my Decca album and enjoyed the original music tracks, joined as a continuous suite. A couple of non-score vocal cues (one featuring a monologue by Stewart) doesn't detract from the overall success of the album.
While not prominent on CD today, Skinner was given great treatment by Decca in the 50's and 60's.
Is this film on DVD and does it include the original trailer?
This is certainly one Skinner score that deserves a proper CD release.
Even the James Stewart track (cue 7 on the LP) is a treat for his fans:
In view of the decidedly anti-war tone of this film, and that of the character of Charlie Anderson, it is worth noting that James Stewart was a brigadier general in the US Air Force Reserve at the time of its filming, and had been a decorated bomber pilot and squadron commander in World War II; he would fly as an observer and additional pilot on one B-52 mission in Vietnam as part of his reserve duty a year after the film's release.
Stewart's own son Ronald (adopted from his wife's first marriage) would be killed in action in Vietnam as a US Marine Corps officer a few years later.
I bought the LP, in stereo, when it came out. Always enjoyed the film and score.
I saw the film when it came out too. The audience was shocked when Michael Wayne was killed at the well, still a violent scene today. It was a tough and realist film for the 60s. George Kennedy was excellent as a war-weary officer.
Had not seen the film for maybe 45 plus years. My library got in the dvd a few months ago, so I watched it again. Still holds up very well.
Yes, I too would like to see at least a couple Frank Skinner cds. I guess his amazing music is too classy for today's cd buyers.
Shenandoah is a musical that was written in 1974 with music by Gary Geld, lyrics by Peter Udell, and a book by Udell, Philip Rose and James Lee Barrett, based on Barrett's original screenplay for the 1965 film Shenandoah. Contains a lovely score containing the terrific showstopper "Freedom". It was a bit corny in its time and hasn't had a B'way revival but somewhat successful. Decent original cast album with John Cullum in lead roll.
The LP cover only serves to remind us of the fact that none of our specialist labels has given us an official original soundtrack CD of a Skinner score.
I'm sure I remember reading over at Intrada Doug Fake saying that all the Frank Skinner Decca album tapes seemed to be missing. Maybe Universal still have the original score tapes, who knows? The film has been on UK TV in HD & looks very nice. I didn't know there was a Blu-ray out, I'll have to look for a review, it's funny there's no customer reviews on Amazon Germany.
There is a dvd compilation available entitled James Stewart: Screen Legend Collection and it has 5 Jimmy Stewart movies - Shenandoah / The Glenn Miller Story / Thunder Bay / You Gotta Stay Happy / Next Time, We Love. I have a couple of these compilation dvds and I am actually quite pleased with the quality. It is also available alone on Blue Ray and dvd.
Ray, you might enjoy this interview with Jimmy Stewart that I located:
Just slightly off topic. This reminds me of the vast disservice that was heaped on composers at the Universal "factory" in that era. People like Mancini and Skinner were routinely robbed of credit by the "Musical Director". Compare this with the exemplary role that Alfred Newman played at Fox.
Thanks! I have several radio spot discs but not for SHENANDOAH. When I run the film I'll be sure to include the interview on the Rialto website!!
You are welcome. I also caught a PBS special about Jimmy Stewart the other night. It was actually hosted by Johnny Carson. It was a very interesting and enjoyable show. It was amazing to see the journey that Jimmy Stewart took with his career. What an amazing man and amazing actor he was. I read somewhere tonight that Jimmy Stewart was a Brigadier General in the USAF Reserve while he made this movie. The things you learn!
"People like Mancini and Skinner were routinely robbed of credit by the "Musical Director". Compare this with the exemplary role that Alfred Newman played at Fox."
On the contrary, Skinner received credit far more often than any other composer, or maybe it was a close tie with Salter. It was Herman Stein who probably got robbed more than anyone, with Mancini coming in a close second. After that were people like Irving Gertz, Heinz Roemheld, William Lava, Henry Vars, and a few others. But Skinner got many more solo jobs than those in the Universal factory, and he almost always received credit for them, although he usually had to share space on the screen with Music Director Joseph Gerhshenson's credit.