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Never So Few/7 Women (1959/1966)
Music by Elmer Bernstein, Hugo Friedhofer
Never So Few/7 Women Never So Few/7 Women Never So Few/7 Women
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: January 2003
Catalog #: Vol. 5, No. 20
# of Discs: 1

Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music.

Hugo Friedhofer and Elmer Bernstein worked only occasionally at M-G-M, but they each did a feature film for the studio set on the Asian continent. This CD features the premiere releases of Never So Few (1959) and 7 Women (1966), respectively, each filled with exotic melody and instrumentation.

Never So Few is a WWII romance/adventure starring Frank Sinatra as the leader of a U.S. army unit in Southeast Asia. Known as a "Rat Pack" production (it also starred Peter Lawford) and directed by John Sturges, the film is perhaps most noteworthy for giving Steve McQueen his break on the silver screen. Hugo Friedhofer's score features a dynamic main title with a throbbing ostinato followed by a mournful trumpet solo evoking the losses of war. Friedhofer was no stranger to the war genre and provided a brew of wartime suspense and also romance, as Sinatra romances the voluptuous Gina Lollobrigida. The setting is highlighted by enchanting, Thai-flavored colors.

7 Women is the last film directed by the legendary John Ford. Best known for his American westerns, Ford attempted an ambitious stretch for his final production: the story of women missionaries in 1930s China starring Anne Bancroft, Margaret Leighton and Sue Lyon. Elmer Bernstein's haunting score features galloping passages (sounding akin to a "Chinese western") but also intelligent and supple scoring of the conflicting emotions of the women, with saxophone, harpsichord and flute elegantly spotlighted.

This CD features the premiere releases of the complete underscores for Never So Few and 7 Women, remixed in stereo from the original three-track masters.

Elmer Bernstein Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Elmer Bernstein (1922–2004) had a Hollywood career that lasted over a half a century; invented and reinvented himself as a composer across several genres (jazz, epics, westerns, comedies and adult dramas); and scored more than a few Hollywood classics—The Ten Commandments, The Magnificent Seven, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Escape and Airplane! to name but five. FSM has released a dozen of his scores and counting, but the most popular may be Heavy Metal (1981)—don't be fooled by the title, it's Elmer's "Star Wars." In addition to his prolific work as a composer, Bernstein was a tireless champion of film music as an art form, serving on the boards of several professional organizations and in the 1970s recording his own LP series of classic Hollywood scores, Elmer Bernstein's Film Music Collection, released by FSM as a 12-CD box set. IMDB

Hugo Friedhofer Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Hugo Friedhofer (1901-1981) started his Hollywood career as an arranger and orchestrator (working for Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Max Steiner, among others) before becoming one of the most admired—if still underappreciated—composers of the 1940s and ’50s, with television work extending into the 1960s. He won an Oscar for his score for The Best Years of Our Lives. FSM is proud to have released several scores by this thoughtful and accomplished musician; sample the main titles from Above and Beyond and Soldier for Fortune for their exquisite melodies. IMDB

Comments (3):Log in or register to post your own comments
This was one of the older FSM titles I wasn't able to afford at the time it came out, but I recently got around to buying it with a Screen Archives gift certificate several months ago. I strongly urge everyone who doesn't have this release to get it. 7 Women is a superb score by Elmer Bernstein. Even moreso than Bridge at Remagen (which I just posted about) it seems like Elmer has so many powerful ideas in the score, that musically it should be twice as long (it's only just over half an hour as dictated by the film's needs). And this score has so much diversity. It's got pulse-pounding action theme Elmer, oriental Elmer, delicate Elmer, psycological Elmer, jazzy Elmer, tragic Elmer, you name it. All of his strong points are here and spotlighted at various times. Don't go into this score just expecting one thing. I initially did based on viewing the film's main title on YouTube and I was at first disappointed that it wasn't a half-hour of Bernstein action. I got over it on the second listen though and if anything the other stuff is even better.

By the way: unlike The Bridge at Remagen, which was a UA title (and thus had some sound problems because an archival tape from Bernstein's collection was the only source), this release is from FSM's longstanding relationship with MGM. That means FANTASTIC SOUND QUALITY in case anyone was wondering, and if people are picky about sound quality, I'd recommend they get this one instead of Remagen.

I almost forgot to mention Friedhofer's Never So Few. This is a worthy score as well but a bit unbalanced as played complete in film order (says the little bit of Thor in me). The first track is INCREDIBLE and one of the best Friedhofer ever wrote. I play it over and over because of the exotic and powerful mood it sets. Seriously -- you guys HAVE to listen to the sample track at FSM's page if you don't own this one. Sadly the main title music is never repeated again in the score, and music similar to it is only represented by a few short cues scattered through. There is some brief but excellent psycological scoring, most notably Death and Reprisal.

I really wish Friedhofer had been able to apply his material to a different and better film, because the vast bulk of the score (and apparently film) is taken up by a love theme (and love story), repeated over and over. Friedhofer's talent at variation is evident, but it's too much and it feels totally unlike the best parts of the score. It's like a Golden Age Hollywood love theme in the middle of a Silver Age war score (except that it seems like it's over half the score). Don't get me wrong. It's Friedhofer and it's a *good* theme. It just really wears out its welcome (especially when I'm waiting to hear more music like the main title). In my imaginary perfect film score world it would've only been in two or three tracks and instead the main title theme (and rhythmic elements) would have pervaded the majority of the score. Anybody else feel the same way?

Oh, one last thing...some of Friedhofer's track titles are HILARIOUS (Bernstein's are just ordinary stuff):
Like Man, It's a Bad Scene
Danny Goofs Off (read the liner notes for context)
Like Wow! (Frank Sinatra stumbling upon the main female bathing)
and the Charles Wolcott-composed Kachin Koncerto, of course.

Yavar

Yavar, the problem with NEVER SO FEW is an offshoot of the film's plot structure. There are many exotic and exciting sequences throughout the first three quarters of the film, gorgeously scored by Friedhofer, but the final quarter is taken up with the Sinatra character facing court martial for some "in the field justice" he has ordered after the massacre of American troops by supposedly friendly Chinese troops. Aside from one short romantic reunion scene there is virtually no underscore for this dialogue heavy (although effective) section until the end title. This gives the impression that the score is rather abruptly resolved after some really interesting score for the bulk of the film.

I didn't realize this I heard the score on the FSM disk, divorced from the film, and it's always left me feeling somewhat "unfulfilled" at the end. It's still well worth getting and, yes, the Bernstein 7 WOMEN is wonderful.

Right on! Thumbs up for this one-two! I like the Bernstein a lot, but I always felt it was "a bit bitty", a problem I have with a lot of Bernstein. Still, it's good, but the Friedhofer is the real attraction here. As mentioned, the Main Theme is just splendid, and there are a lot of beautiful little exotic touches throughout. I agree that the Love Theme is too dominant however, and it always struck me as strange that Friedhofer could write love themes as unsentimental and forward-looking as the ones he wrote for THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES and ABOVE AND BEYOND years before NEVER SO FEW, which in comparison seems like complete corn.

I've just realised that my "positive" contribution reads very "negatively", so here's the thumbs up sign!

Track List
Instruments/Musicians
Click on each musician name for more credits
For more specific musician lists for the scores on this album, go here:
Never So Few
Seven Women

Leader (Conductor):
Elmer Bernstein, Charles Wolcott

Violin:
George Berres, Kurt Dieterle, Sam Fiedler, Werner L. Gebauer, Benny Gill, Mort Herbert, Arnold T. Jurasky, Louis Kaufman, Murray Kellner, Bernard Kundell, Marvin Limonick, Alfred Lustgarten, Joy Lyle (Sharp), Arthur Maebe, Sr., Lisa Minghetti, Erno Neufeld, Irving Prager, Lou Raderman, Sally Raderman (aka Sarah Kreindler), Albert Saparoff, Dorothy M. Wade (Sushel), Heimann Weinstine, Byron Williams

Viola:
Myer Bello, Alvin Dinkin, Cecil Figelski, Allan Harshman, Virginia Majewski, Reuben Marcus, Robert Ostrowsky, Sven Reher, Sanford Schonbach, Barbara A. Simons (Transue)

Cello:
Alexander Borisoff, Ossip Giskin, Julian Kahn, Armand Kaproff, Raphael "Ray" Kramer, Lucien Laporte, Fernand Lhoest, Michel Penha, Kurt Reher, Joseph Saxon, Gloria Strassner

Bass:
George F. Boujie, Mario Camposano, D'Artagnan Liagre, Keith "Red" Mitchell, Arthur Shapiro

Flute:
Arthur Gleghorn, Ted Nash, Martin Ruderman, Sylvia Ruderman

Oboe:
Norman Benno, William Criss, Arnold Koblentz, Gordon Schoneberg

Clarinet:
Norman Benno, Gus Bivona, Gus Bivona, Alex Gershunoff, Lloyd Hildebrand, Don Lodice (Logiudice), Hugo Raimondi, Ethmer Roten

Bassoon:
Charles A. Gould, Lloyd Hildebrand, Jack Marsh, Robert Swanson

French Horn:
John W. "Jack" Cave, Vincent DeRubertis, Herman Lebow, Arthur Maebe, Jr., Henry Sigismonti

Trumpet:
Uan Rasey, Manny Stevens, Joe Triscari, James C. Zito

Trombone:
Randall Miller, Richard Noel, Tommy Pederson, Robert Pring, Kenneth Shroyer, Herb Taylor

Tuba:
John T. "Tommy" Johnson, D'Artagnan Liagre

Piano:
Pete Jolly (Ceragloli), Artie Kane, Max Rabinowitsh, Raymond Turner

Guitar:
Joseph Robert Gibbons

Banjo:
Allen Reuss

Harp:
Catherine Gotthoffer (Johnk)

Accordion:
Frank Marocco

Drums:
Dale L. Anderson, John T. Boudreau, Frank L. Carlson, Ralph Collier, Frank "Hico" Guerrero, Preston Lodwick, Mel Pedesky, Harold L. "Hal" Rees, D. V. Seber

Orchestrator:
Albert Woodbury

Orchestra Manager:
James C. Whelan

Copyist:
Robert Franklyn, Maurice Gerson, Richard Guyette, Donald J. Midgley, Richard Petrie, Harry Taylor

Librarian:
Jules Megeff

© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.