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Between Heaven and Hell/Soldier of Fortune (1956/1955)
Music by Hugo Friedhofer
Between Heaven and Hell/Soldier of Fortune Between Heaven and Hell/Soldier of Fortune Between Heaven and Hell/Soldier of Fortune
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: July 2001
Catalog #: Vol. 4, No. 9
# of Discs: 1

Hugo Friedhofer is the original underappreciated film composer: innovative, dramatically astute, and endlessly interesting. He began his Hollywood career as an orchestrator and co-composer, often working for Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Max Steiner, but once established as a composer wrote completely in his own style, favoring transparent orchestrations, progressive harmonies and a sense of subtlety consistent with his own self-effacing personality. Although chronologically of the Golden Age he pioneered orchestrations and approaches which set the stage for subsequent composers from Leonard Rosenman and Elmer Bernstein to John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith.

Sadly, very little of Friedhofer's work is available on CD. Most of his best scores were written in the 1950s for Twentieth Century-Fox, and FSM is beginning the important process of restoring them with this new doubleheader. Featured for the first time ever are an acclaimed war score in complete form and a long-sought-after "exotic" score in the best representation possible.

Between Heaven and Hell (1956) is a tough-minded story of a affluent young soldier (Robert Wagner) who finds courage and his own humanity on a South Pacific island in WWII. Friedhofer eschewed typical Hollywood heroics in favor of a brooding, atmospheric take on the ambiguities of war, full of texture and blocky chords coalescing into a memorable listening experience. For his main theme Friedhofer drew on the Dies Irae, the traditional chant of the dead, adapting it into an oppressive march for the main title and a furious action cue—one of the genre's all-time best—for the movie's finale. Additionally, the score includes a sublime, bittersweet love theme for the main character's flashbacks to his pre-war life.

Soldier of Fortune (1955) is a Hong Kong-based adventure starring Clark Gable and Susan Hayward for which Friedhofer wrote one of his most unforgettable melodies: a smoky, nostalgic love theme representing everything one would expect from a Hollywood hero. Unlike Between Heaven and Hell, which is presented in complete form in excellent sound quality, Soldier of Fortune suffered severe damage in storage over 46 years, with several cues lost and others in compromised sound. Despite these problems, we have culled the surviving cues into the best possible representation of the score, and it is more than enough to showcase Friedhofer's haunting Asian textures and harmonies—and the great main theme.

The entire CD is in stereo, and comes with the usually thorough FSM liner notes and packaging. It is a richly rewarding tip of the iceberg from the inspired career of Hugo Friedhofer.

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 (6):Log in or register to post your own comments
It's just amazing to me how some scores I HAVE to see the film to enjoy.

These scores, I didn't. Friedhofer can write "love music" that manages to be pretty and unexpected in way that was his and pretty much nobody else's.


Melodic inspirations of the SOF kind are rare, indeed!

Another recent acquisition that I'm spinning for the first time...

Friedhofer's use of the Dies Irae in Between Heaven and Hell takes the horrors of war to the ultimate depths of psychological despair. Of course, there are other examples of composers painting war films with a dark and woeful palette, but in my opinion, this is among the most inspired and effective. Providing balance are some absolutely beautiful passages such as "Sam and Jenny's Theme" and "Retrospective No. 2," reminding the listener that in the midst of madness, behind the killing machines, the heart still aches with sentimental yearning for what once was and could possibly be again.

The more consistently-melodic, Asian-flavored Soldier of Fortune makes for a refreshing chaser.

Currently reduced to $14.95 at SAE. Highly recommended!

I also recently acquired this score, though it's been on my list for quite some time. A fan-freaking-tastic dose of Friedhofer!

This is one great cd, I always liked both scores.

Maybe a year ago Bruce/Kritzerland said he was looking into Soldier of Fortune for any possibility of more music and improved sound quality. Sure hope he can improve and expand the score.

We need more Friedhofer! :)

Oh yes, I'm on a Friedhofer binge at the moment, and this CD is indeed excellent. He brought so much psychological depth to his scores, so they work their magic on you on many different levels. BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL is discussed in detail in the "The Art of Film Music" by George Burt, along with other scores by Raksin, Rosenman and North.

Maybe that's what I was really trying to get at in that other thread - it's not that the above-mentioned composers often sounded alike, it's more that they all seemed to treat the characters and situations in a very profound way - or at least that's what I pick up on, but then we're back to how each listener responds.

Whatever, I love this CD, and I'm glad others do too.

Track List
Click on each musician name for more credits
For more specific musician lists for the scores on this album, go here:
Between Heaven and Hell
Soldier of Fortune

Leader (Conductor):
Lionel Newman

Sol Babitz, George Berres, Dixie Blackstone, Henry Camusi, Joachim Chassman, Dave Crocov, Harold Dicterow, Kurt Dieterle, Adolph DiTullio, Bonnie J. Douglas (Shure), Peter Ellis, Elliot Fisher, Benny Gill, Heimo Haitto, Murray Kellner, Irving Klase, Marvin Limonick, Paul Lowenkron, Irma W. Neumann, Joseph Quadri, David Selmont, Paul C. Shure, Felix Slatkin, Leon Trebacz, Tibor Zelig

Myer Bello, Donald A. Cole, Alvin Dinkin, Phillip Goldberg, Alex Neiman, Robert Ostrowsky, Sven Reher, Joseph Reilich, Armand Roth, Stanley Spiegelman

James A. Arkatov, Paul Bergstrom, Joseph Coppin, Joseph DiTullio, Virgil Gates, Leonard Krupnick, Kurt Reher

Lawrence Goldman, Peter A. Mercurio, C. Magdelano Rivera, Meyer (Mike) Rubin, Kenneth Winstead

Arthur Hoberman, Luella Howard, Barbara Moore (Putnam), Sterling D. Smith, Sheridon W. Stokes

William Kosinski, Gordon Pope

Russell Cheever, Morris Crawford, Charles Gentry, Abe Most, William A. Ulyate

Don Christlieb, Arthur Fleming, Ray Nowlin

French Horn:
Alfred Brain, Vincent N. DeRosa, Joseph B. Eger, Fred Fox, Douglas C. Norris, Alan I. Robinson, Harry Schmidt, Tibor Shik

Frank Beach, Morris Boltuch, John Clyman, Jack R. Coleman, Robert Fowler

Marlo Imes, Ray Klein, Robert Marsteller, John Tranchitella

Clarence Karella

Urban Thielmann

Vito Mumolo

Max Gralnick

Anne Stockton (Mason)

Francisco Velasquez

Dominic Frontiere, Eugene Garth

Richard Cornell, Paul DeDroit, Edgar Forrest, Walter Goodwin, Earl Hatch, Preston Lodwick, Cameron Maus, Harold L. "Hal" Rees, Chester Ricord, Graham Stevenson, Francisco Velasquez

Frank Comstock, William Ellfeldt, Lloyd Martin, Bernard Mayers, Ed Powell

Orchestra Manager:
Simon Waronker

Gene Bren, Walter Brenner, Allan Campbell, Aristide G. Coccaro, W. D. Garlock, George Gordon, Elton A. Koehler, Lloyd Martin, Jack McTaggart, Donald J. Midgley, Joe Petroni, Jack Rock, Edgar Roemheld, Jr., Ernest Rosecrans, David Smiley, Harry Stone, Wallace Wheeler

Fred Combattente

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