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Toys in the Attic (1963)
Music by George Duning
Toys in the Attic Toys in the Attic
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $14.96
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: July 2003
Catalog #: Vol. 6, No. 12
# of Discs: 1

FSM spotlights a wonderful Golden Age composer seldom represented on CD: George Duning (1908-2000), a stalwart of Columbia Pictures (From Here to Eternity, Picnic, The Eddy Duchin Story) who later excelled in television (he scored the most romantic episodes of Star Trek). Presented here is one of Duning's most outstanding dramatic scores, Toys in the Attic (1963), his only picture for United Artists.

Toys in the Attic was based on a play by Lillian Hellman and directed by George Roy Hill, starring Dean Martin a perennial failure who retreats to his childhood home in New Orleans and spinster sisters (Geraldine Page and Wendy Hiller) when times get rough. The sisters actually derive great pleasure from comforting Julian, and it is the man's success (both in business and with his new bride, Yvette Mimieux) that ironically leads to tragedy.

Duning's score for Toys in the Attic is melodic and memorable, with a bluesy main theme (one of Duning's finest) and sweetly nostalgic Americana for the loving (if problematic) personal relationships. The "Southern family" genre led to exceptionally fine scores from composers such as Alex North (A Streetcar Named Desire) and Elmer Bernstein (Summer and Smoke), and Duning matches their sensitivity (using his own style) with rich and melancholy music, becoming dissonant only as the characters themselves push into obsession and desperation.

This premiere CD of Toys in the Attic has been mastered from the original 1/2" stereo masters, recorded at the famed Goldwyn Scoring Stage in Hollywood. The album presents the chronological assembly planned by the composer and Tony Thomas but never commercially released, followed by jazzy source cues, a brief suite of additional and alternate underscore, and a rare single (vocal and instrumental) of the main theme. Liner notes are by Jeff Bond and Lukas Kendall.

George Duning Scores on FSM
About the Composer

George Duning (1908-2000) was a longtime contract composer at Columbia Pictures (From Here to Eternity, Picnic) who later did feature films as a freelancer (including several of the titles released by FSM) as well as a great amount of television (including Star Trek). A former bandleader for Kay Kyser, he was comfortable in jazz idioms and had a sensitive and melodic touch as a symphonic dramatist. FSM is one of the only labels to showcase his work, from action-adventure (The Devil at 4 O'Clock) to magical comedy (Bell, Book and Candle) to bluesy and lyrical (Toys in the Attic). IMDB

Comments (1):Log in or register to post your own comments
Almost nobody else in his era had the command of the popular jazz idiom in a fashion that I like as well as I like Duning.

I'm listening to the source music, with its "wrong side of the tracks" saxophone solos, loving what I'm hearing. It makes me want to stumble around the house, pretending like I'm looking for a bottle of gin hidden somewhere! :D

And here it's on sale NOW and I didn't include it in my order. Dang!

Track List
Instruments/Musicians
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
George Duning

Violin:
Israel Baker, Joachim Chassman, Herman Clebanoff, Sam Freed, Jr., Laura Griffing, Mort Herbert, Anatol Kaminsky, Nathan Kaproff, Marvin Limonick, Alexander Murray, Erno Neufeld, Nathan Ross, Myron Sandler, Felix Slatkin, Marshall Sosson, Joseph Stepansky, William Weiss, Byron Williams

Viola:
Joseph DiFiore, Alvin Dinkin, Virginia Majewski, Robert Ostrowsky, Paul Robyn, Abe Weiss

Cello:
Justin DiTullio, Armand Kaproff, Raphael "Ray" Kramer, Edgar Lustgarten, David Pratt, Kurt Reher, Emmet Sargeant, Eleanor Slatkin

Bass:
Abraham Luboff, Peter A. Mercurio, Meyer (Mike) Rubin

Flute:
Arthur Gleghorn, Ted Nash

Oboe:
Norman Benno

Clarinet:
Mitchell Lurie, George Smith

Bassoon:
Morris Crawford, Norman H. Herzberg, Robert Swanson

Saxophone:
Gene Cipriano, Charles Gentry, Dave Pell, George Smith

French Horn:
James A. Decker, Vincent N. DeRosa, Arthur Frantz, Herman Lebow, Richard E. Perissi

Trumpet:
Frank Beach, W. Pete Candoli, Emanuel "Manny" Klein

Trombone:
Milton Bernhart, Edward Kusby, George M. Roberts

Piano:
Pearl Kaufman (Goldman), James G. Rowles

Guitar:
Robert F. Bain

Harp:
Dorothy S. Remsen

Percussion:
Larry Bunker, Frank J. Flynn, Harold L. "Hal" Rees

Arranger:
Arthur Morton

Orchestra Manager:
Robert Helfer

Copyist:
Charles F. Adams, Michael Andersen, Lloyd Basham, Howard W. Drew, Dominic John Fidelibus, Percival Goldenson, Paul Sprosty

© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.