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 Posted:   Jul 5, 2010 - 11:07 PM   
 By:   Paul MacLean   (Member)

Taking advantage of my local Blockbuster Video's going out of business sale, I picked up the DVD of this unusual but entertaining adaptation of Rhoald Dahl's story, from Jim Henson and Nicholas Roeg. I'd seen it years before and had forgotten what a fine score it has.

Stanley Myers' main and end titles contain one of the most infectious and appealingly whimsical themes written for a fantasy in the past two decades (which is saying a LOT)...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQGhhYmWdG4

In Heaven's name, why isn't this score on CD? It's a Jim Henson production and a Warner Bros. film -- both of whom have been forthcoming in the licensing of their scores. It really is a crime that Myers' score has never been issued as a recording.

 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2010 - 11:15 PM   
 By:   MattyO   (Member)

This is one of my personal grails and I can't wait to see it get a release. This movie freaked me out growing up, which didn't stop me from loving it. I hope one of the labels is on top of it - to me it seems like a LLL project.

 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2010 - 11:59 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

"The Witches" was rather a departure in style for both Nicolas Roeg and Stanley Myers, whose collaborations, prior to and after "The Witches", can be evidenced by "Eureka", "Insignificance", "Castaway", "Track 29", and "Cold Heaven", which usually starred Theresa Russell.
While director Roeg typically utilized shifting time structures, sophisticated (almost avant-garde) film editing techniques, and contrasting scenes juxtaposed together, since his earliest pictures such as "Walkabout" and "Don't Look Now", well into the 1980s, "The Witches" is a decidedly more commercial venture, and I feel that Stanley Myers had gone into John Williams-style fantasy music territory.
Still, I would like very much to have "The Witches" soundtrack released, being that Myers is one of my favorite composers.
If this score was recorded in the U.K., however, do the copyright clearance rights reside in America or Britain? Indeed, do the master scoring tapes continue to exist...?

 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2010 - 12:03 AM   
 By:   MattyO   (Member)

I hope the masters still exist. This is my last remaining childhood gem, since Harry and the Hendersons, Honey I Shrunk The Kids and The Goonies have all been released now. Surely someone has looked into this one.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2010 - 12:23 AM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

I honestly don't remember the score, but the film was a childhood favorite. Haven't seen it in years, though, but I remember that first transformation of the witches in the hotel ballroom being some creepy stuff.

 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2010 - 12:30 AM   
 By:   MattyO   (Member)

I really only remember the main theme as it played over the opening titles and end credits - it strikes me as a cross between something James Horner and John Williams might have done. Speaking of unreleased fantasy scores - John Debney's Hocus Pocus also needs an official release; he posted the main title on his Facebook page a while ago and it's a score that certainly deserves a release.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2010 - 12:33 AM   
 By:   nxbusby   (Member)

Just realized I was in 6th grade when this came out. My how time has passed.

 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2010 - 12:48 AM   
 By:   Josh   (Member)

Just realized I was in 6th grade when this came out. My how time has passed.

I was in 9th grade at the time, but have no recollection whatsoever of the film's release. However, I read the book several times as a kid, and I'm a fan of Stanley Myers, so I'd welcome a CD release of the score with open arms.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2010 - 8:03 AM   
 By:   Paul MacLean   (Member)


If this score was recorded in the U.K., however, do the copyright clearance rights reside in America or Britain? Indeed, do the master scoring tapes continue to exist...?


I'd assume in America since the Henson organization, Lorimar and WB are American entities.

I'm pretty sure the score was recorded at CTS, so I'd guess the tapes are in England (if they still exist). Myers is of course no longer with us, so I don't what would have happened to his private tape archive (if he maintained one).

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2010 - 10:42 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I saw this film as a young teenager (in the theatre, I think), but I had read the book before that and remember it as quite scary and burlesque, typical Dahl. I really liked the film and Huston's performance. Thought it captured the spirit of the book well.

Can't remember anything of the music, though, but I'd be curious to hear it should it ever come out.

 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2010 - 10:49 AM   
 By:   David Sones (Allardyce)   (Member)

Loved the movie and the score when it came out. The movie STILL hasn't been properly treated on DVD (full-screen only, pffft), so I'd welcome a widescreen DVD re-issue and a score release. It's lively music that served the film well and would be a great listen on its own, too.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2010 - 10:59 AM   
 By:   ahem   (Member)

Kind of far ahead of it's time in that it had an adult auteur director doing a big but dark special effects movie for children. I think it's a bit sad that twenty years on most kids watching this for the first time will see it as being a kind of Tim Burton/Harry Potter/Henry Selick affair, and probably won't even know how bold it was at the time to have Roeg do a kids movie for Jim Henson. Even moreso because I think the film has such an ageless look to it like Terry Gilliam's with the wide angle lenses and dark theatrics (and Hollywood kids films now have caught up with this stylistically speaking).

I think it's a bit sad that Nicholas Roeg never really got the recognition for this film even though it was a huge hit when it came out. Dahl hated it for the ending, didn't he? The rest of the film is pretty damn dark if I do say so.

Myers is great.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2010 - 11:57 AM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

Just realized I was in 6th grade when this came out. My how time has passed.

No kidding! I see it was released in August 1990 in the US, so I was between 5th and 6th grade at the time. And I can remember seeing it in the theater! How was that twenty years ago already?

 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2010 - 2:51 PM   
 By:   First Breath   (Member)

Myers worked a lot with Zimmer between 1982 and 1988. I'm sure Myers influenced Zimmer a lot, but did Zimmer influence Myers too? And if so, on a score like The Withces?

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2010 - 3:50 PM   
 By:   Paul MacLean   (Member)

Whilst on the subject, Myers' other score for Jim Henson, Dreamchild, would make for a nice release as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ww9c2JYOSI

 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2010 - 4:36 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)

Myers worked a lot with Zimmer between 1982 and 1988. I'm sure Myers influenced Zimmer a lot, but did Zimmer influence Myers too? And if so, on a score like The Withces?

I recall Stanley Myers untilized electronics within "Lady Chatterly's Lover", which he co-composed with Richard Harvey in 1981.
I think Myers formed a working relationship with Hans Zimmer during those years you mention so that those scores on which they collaborated could get a more contemporary feel with the usage of electronics (I'm assuming Myers supplied thematic material, whilst Zimmer augmented with synthesized sounds).
I remember reading that Hans Zimmer claims he was tought all the "good" stuff by Stanley Myers, presumably melody and orchestration.
Myers in return had gotten a 'facelift' of sorts from Zimmer, to continue onwards in an industry which was relying more heavily on synthesizers.
This didn't seem to directly influence the score to "The Witches", however, as the resultant score by Myers harkens back a decade to the John Williams sound for fantasy.

 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2010 - 4:44 PM   
 By:   ToneRow   (Member)


I'd assume in America since the Henson organization, Lorimar and WB are American entities.

I'm pretty sure the score was recorded at CTS, so I'd guess the tapes are in England (if they still exist). Meyers is of course no longer with us, so I don't what would have happened to his private tape archive (if he maintained one).


I believe the surviving Myers family members own Stanley's private tape archive, because in 2005, the label Finders Keepers had gotten permission from the Myers estate to release his (brief) score for 1972's "Sitting Target" onto CD.
To my knowledge, nothing further has been forthcoming, which is a shame. Think of all those great scores Myers had done that might be just sitting there, unreleased: "The Night Of The Following Day", "Tam Lin", all the music for the Pete Walker films, "Absolution", "The Watcher In The Woods", "Incubus", etc...

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2010 - 10:56 PM   
 By:   mguevarra61   (Member)

This film should be released on Blu Ray.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 7, 2010 - 4:16 AM   
 By:   filmusicnow   (Member)

"The Witches" was the I believe the last film released by Lorimar before Warner Bros. phased out the company name.

 
 Posted:   Jul 7, 2010 - 11:48 AM   
 By:   Traveling Matt   (Member)

Count me in. A complete score release would be most welcome!

 
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