This series is inspired by a controversy thread where someone posited the idea that besides THE MISSION and some Sergio Leone westerns Ennio Morricone hasn't written anything great. Rather than making my usual comment that most of Morricone's great scores are from Italy and trying to get Americans to listen to them is like getting them to see movies with subtitles, I decided to take another tact. Since I am at an age where I will only be able to make my case a finite number of times I decided to turn this into a series presenting each great score one at a time, sort of like recordman.
Of all the Italian writer-directors Morricone established long term relations with Aldo Lado might be one of the least accomplished. His strengths lie in his early giallo films that started his career SHORT NIGHT OF GLASS DOLLS, WHO SAW HER DIE? and LAST STOP ON THE NIGHT TRAIN. But he was more ambitious than that and his other films included Italy’s most expensive STAR WARS rip-off THE HUMANOID and LA DISUBBIDIENZA (THE DISOBEDIENCE) based on the novel by Alberto Moravia, one of Europe’s greatest novelists. The trouble is he brought a bit of that superficial B- film sensibility to these upscale projects.
The story of LA DISUBBIDENZA is of a young 15 year old boy, disillusioned by his Fascist parents during World War II, joins the partisans to change the world. But at the end of the war he finds things go back to business as usual with profiteering replacing the old corruption. He becomes a sickly boy and is only brought out of his depression from the concern of an English governess (Teresa Ann Savoy) and a nurse (Stefania Sandrelli) who awakens his sexuality and his fight. Unlike THE CONFORMIST this Moravia adaptation starts to become simplistic but is helped enormously by what Ennio Morricone’s score brings to it, a texture and sensitivity that might not be evident without it. He seems to provide a lot of subtext for the film.
The main theme is one of his most sensitive and elegant ones. It is presented in it’s full glory a number of times in the soundtrack but instead of that, for a change, let me present a version that begins and ends with a delicately tentative piano passage “Dietro La Tenda”:
There is also a sublime vocalizing of the main theme by Edda DelOrso on “Morire E Viverti”. There is a lovemaking theme that is a precursor to the Cinema Paradiso melody “ Il Colore Dei Suoi Occhi”. A short building march entitled “Repressione”. And (shades of THE HATEFUL 8/ THE THING hubbub) there are two tracks borrowed from the film REVOLVER: “For Stafania” is “Anna” from that film and “Quasi Un Vivaldi” retains it’s original title.
An example where Morricone endows a film an emotional tug that should have been there. The result is, in some quarters, he is pushing too much. Maybe so but without it the film is practically coldblooded.
very apt to single out this absolutely wonderful score. To get the oop GDM club release I had to shell out a princely sum, but I have never regretted it. Incredible how EM has sometimes provided some of his most heartfelt scores for less than premium movies (this one, despite the Moravia connection, was mostly built to exploit Stefania Sandrelli's erotic appeal after the incredibly successful Tinto Brass' "La chiave"). So, what we have here is essentially a high-ish brow soft core movie..and it has one of the most heart-melting scores that I know.
A wonderful choice Henry and perfectly defined as Sensitive Morricone. The maestro's knack for a great melody/theme is yet again on display and it is wonderful. Hyperdanny mentioned that this is not available and this indeed seems to be the case. So many wonderful Morricone titles are OOP and that's a huge pity. Hope this and many other unavailable gems find their way back to circulation soon. And thanks again Henry for keeping this this excellent series going!