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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960)
Music by Jerome Moross
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: June 2003
Catalog #: Vol. 6, No. 9
# of Discs: 1

Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music

Jerome Moross (1913-1983) was a splendid composer—particularly in the American idiom—whose film scores are virtually unavailable on CD. FSM comes to the rescue with his complete score for the 1960 Mark Twain adaptation, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, newly remixed and remastered from the original M-G-M stereo elements.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn starred Eddie Hodges as the title character, surrounded by an assortment of capable actors: Neville Brand, Patty McCormack, Sherry Jackson, Andy Devine, Buster Keaton, Royal Dano, Parley Baer, John Carradine, Sterling Holloway and a young Harry Dean Stanton. Tony Randall and Mickey Shaughnessy portrayed a pair of con men, and boxer Archie Moore turned in a fine performance as Huck's friend Jim, a runaway slave.

Matching the picturesque Mississippi River locations was Jerome Moross, composing perhaps his second-best Americana score (next to The Big Country) and effortlessly capturing the sarcasm and lyricism of Twain's storytelling. Moross wrote a veritable ribbon of melodies, not only for Huck himself but for his hometown of Hannibal, Missouri; for sweet-natured Jim; the hapless con men; the gorgeous Mississippi River; and Huck's imposing father. The transparent orchestrations and bouncy, delightful rhythms are a highwater mark of Moross's writing.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was at one time planned as a musical by M-G-M, with songs written by Burton Lane and Alan J. Lerner. Although the finished film is not a musical, snippets of the Lane/Lerner songs were retained as source music. FSM's premiere CD includes these occasional vocals (as they are intertwined into Moross's score) as well as rare demos of the primary song, "Huckleberry Finn."

Jerome Moross Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Jerome Moross (1913-1983) made a lasting contribution to cinema with The Big Country, a defining western score. He filmography is not as sizable as other composers of the Golden Age owing to his splitting time between film, theatre, television and the concert hall; his other popular film scores include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Cardinal and The Valley of GwangiIMDB


Comments (4):Log in or register to post your own comments
I just acquired this CD today, and I'm listening to it right now for the first time.

The sheer exuberance of Moross' melodic music is a breath of fresh air to these ears.

I remember when I first heard the opening bars of HF. It seemed to keep building and building and building, although I was conscious that the main melody of the Main Title had not formally started yet. It's a masterful example of building anticipation and excitement through the joyous variation of the melodic idea that comes to full flower only much later in the track. The tune itself practically cries out for some words to be sung to it. In a way, it plays like the exciting overture to a "Huck Finn" musical we never saw.

I listen to my other Moross favorite, "The Big Country," often marveling at the number of catchy melodies throughout the underscore, any of which could have made a suitable Main Title theme all by itself.

Damn but that guy could write a tune!

More Moross, please!

No time like the present . . .

More Moross, please!

No time like the present . . .


To refresh everyone's memory, let’s look at what scores from Moross may be available for issue. There aren’t too many likely possibilities for new releases.

Close-Up (1948, Eagle-Lion Films) – This seems unlikely, since all music tracks from that budget studio seem to have vanished. Kritzerland was recently able to find Hugo Friedhofer’s score from Eagle-Lion’s “The Adventures of Casanova” from the same year. But that recording came from the composer’s own acetates, and I haven’t heard that the Moross estate contains many recordings. The Silva Screen Moross set has a 9-minute suite.

When I Grow Up (1951, Eagle-Lion Films) – Same situation as above, but no coverage on the Silva Screen set.

The Captive City (1953, United Artists) – Has anything from this early period survived from UA? There’s a 7-minute suite on Silva Screen.

Seven Wonders of the World (1956, Cinerama Corp.) – With the possible exception of the recent WINDJAMMER (and what exactly was the source of those tape?), no one’s yet been able to crack the Cinerama Corp. vaults for any releases from the original tracks. All we’ve had are CD releases of various LPs. “Seven Wonders” had a 10-inch LP and a German 45 EP with about 15 minutes of music, but since up to four composers worked on the film, it’s unclear how much of Moross’ music is contained therein. A 5-minute cue is on Silva Screen.

The Sharkfighters (1956, United Artists) – This is still from the ‘lost” UA years. A combined 15 minutes appear on two different Silva Screen compilations.

Wagon Train (TV) (1957-65, Revue/Universal) – With the Varese release of the Hitchcock scores, maybe getting early TV music out of Universal isn’t as farfetched as it once seemed. Reportedly, Moross did scores for 12 episodes of the series. For now, there is only about 4 minutes of Moross’ music on the Mercury Records LP and the 3-minute theme on Silva Screen. If there are no surviving score elements, some producer should try releasing that LP, from Universal Music Group.

Gunsmoke (CBS) – On the CD “Music From CBS Westerns,” there is a 10-minute suite from the “Gunsmoke” episode “Stolen Horses,” composed by Moross.

The Big Country (1958, United Artists) – Now we’re getting into the period where UA scores have survived, and indeed, we’ve got all of this one.

The Proud Rebel (1958, Samuel Goldwyn) – This received a decent sounding 56-minute release on LP and CD on the Screen Classics label (in which SAE’s Craig Spaulding was involved) and a 19-minute re-recording of some cues on Silva Screen. According to the liner notes, the Screen Classics CD was “mastered from a direct digital transfer of the original scoring session tapes recorded at the Samuel Goldwyn Studios sound facility, final monaural mix achieved on April 7, 1958.” That CD is long out of print. Since we’re not likely to see anything better come along, a re-issue would seem in order.

The Jayhawkers! (1959, Paramount) – Intrada released the complete soundtrack in 2012.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960, MGM) – FSM released the complete score in 2003.

The Mountain Road (1960, Columbia) – Complete original tracks from Columbia films of this era are rare. This one is a long-shot. Six minutes appear on Silva Screen.

Five Finger Exercise (1962, Columbia) – See “The Mountain Road” above. Five minutes on Silva Screen.

The Cardinal (1963, Columbia) – Between the various CD issues of the 40-minute RCA LP, and the 23 minutes re-recorded on Silva Screen, this relatively short score is well-represented. The film itself seems to have fallen into the hands of Warner Bros. (the DVD appeared on that label), so perhaps that is where to look for original score elements.

The War Lord (1965, Universal) – The 30-minute Decca LP and Varese CD includes 5 minutes of Hans Salter’s music. I’m sure the labels have been looking for this one at Universal.

National Geographic Special – Grizzly (1967, David L. Wolper Prod.) – Intrada released Moross’ 30-minute score for this TV production in 2003.

Lancer (1968, 20th Century Fox) - Moross scored the pilot episode and the main-title theme for this Western television series. Moross' main-title was used throughout the series run.

Rachel, Rachel (1968, Warner Bros.) – No doubt FSM or one of the other labels would have located this at Warners if it existed. This was Paul Newman’s directorial debut, which he produced for his own company. Perhaps something exists in the Newman estate. Six minutes appear on a Silva Screen re-recording.

The Valley of Gwangi (1969, Warner Bros.) – As mentioned in a number of posts, the original tracks for this have gone missing. The film itself was produced in Spain. Where were the recording sessions conducted? The film was a production of Charles H. Schneer’s Morningside Productions. Coincidentally, Sheer’s next Morningside production, 1970’s “Land Raiders,” was also produced in Spain. The complete score for that film was found in Italy and was released in 2011 by Digitmovies. Could “Gwangi” have been recorded in Italy as well, or was “Land Raiders” done there simply because composer Bruno Nicolai was Italian?

Hail, Hero (1969, National General) – This Cinema Center Films production is part of the CBS library, and any score materials should be in their archive. But nothing appeared in the on-line listing of CBS holdings to which Lukas linked us a while back.

Very informative. Thanks, Bob!

Track List
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
Jerome Moross

Sam Fiedler, Sam Freed, Jr., Werner L. Gebauer, Mort Herbert, Murray Kellner, Bernard Kundell, Alfred Lustgarten, Joy Lyle (Sharp), Arthur Maebe, Sr., Lisa Minghetti, Marshall Moss, Erno Neufeld, Irving Prager, Lou Raderman, Sally Raderman (aka Sarah Kreindler), Albert Saparoff, Byron Williams

Cecil Figelski, Allan Harshman, Virginia Majewski, Reuben Marcus, Paul Robyn, Barbara A. Simons (Transue), Abe Weiss

Alexander Borisoff, Julian Kahn, Raphael "Ray" Kramer, Michel Penha

George F. Boujie, D'Artagnan Liagre, Murray Shapinsky, Arthur Shapiro, Ray Siegel

Arthur Gleghorn

Norman Benno, Arnold Koblentz

Gus Bivona, Alex Gershunoff, Don Lodice (Logiudice), Hugo Raimondi

Charles A. Gould, Robert Swanson

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

Uan Rasey, Joe Triscari, James C. Zito

Randall Miller, Richard Noel, Herb Taylor

Ingolf Dahl

Joseph Robert Gibbons

Catherine Gotthoffer (Johnk)

Frank L. Carlson, Mel Pedesky, D. V. Seber

Robert Franklyn, Arthur Morton, Ruby Raksin

Maurice Gerson, Richard Guyette, Donald J. Midgley, Fred Sternberg, Harry Taylor

Jules Megeff

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