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Crossed Swords (1978)
Music by Maurice Jarre
Crossed Swords Crossed Swords
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $16.95
Limited #: N/A
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: August 2005
Catalog #: Vol. 8, No. 14
# of Discs: 1

Crossed Swords was a 1978 film adaptation of Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper by international film producers Ilya and Alexander Salkind, directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, Mark Lester and an all-star cast. A lighthearted tale of mistaken identity and swashbuckling derring-do, Crossed Swords (which was known by its literary title overseas) was the Salkinds' follow-up to their successful The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers, and it featured the duo's usual collection of highly priced talent both in front of and behind the camera.

For music, this meant Maurice Jarre, composer of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. By 1978 John Williams had revitalized the symphonic film score with Star Wars and composers such as Jarre were given full license to apply their talents on appropriate projects. Jarre responded on Crossed Swords with a delightfully melodic, heroic and full-blooded orchestral score the likes of which used to flow from the pen of Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Max Steiner—here modernized by Jarre's inimitible melodic style.

Crossed Swords is a delightful symphonic score with multiple character themes. This CD features the soundtrack LP as released by Warner Bros. Records in 1978 (which was all that was available for license). The album runs a generous 40:16 and sequences the score's major themes and setpieces for optimal listening presentation, in fine stereo sound as performed by The National Philharmonic Orchestra.

Crossed Swords was one of several projects for which Jarre utilized Christopher Palmer as his assistant, and the score has the gargantuan symphonic sound of Tai-Pan, Enemy Mine (the orchestral portions) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. It is a splendid swashbuckling work making its CD premiere at a special lower price.

Maurice Jarre Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Maurice Jarre (1924-2009) launched to the top of the film scoring world with his iconic score for Lawrence of Arabia in 1962—and pretty much stayed there. His unorthodox but powerful symphonic style is most often associated with epics by David Lean (Dr. Zhivago) and others but he was just as masterful with intimate subject matter (The Collector) and synthesizer scores(Witness). FSM has released not only several of his feature film scores, but a CD of his concert music from the 1950s in his native France.IMDB

Comments (6):Log in or register to post your own comments
I don't think Star Wars had anything to do with Jarre using a symphonic sound in the score, because The Prince and the Pauper was released in England roughly less than a month after Star Wars. Unless I am totally wrong (since I have no recording dates for reference), Jarre probably scored the film before the release of Star Wars. It is possible that Jarre thought a symphonic sound was appropriate, especially considering Legrand's and Schifrin's scores for the Musketeers films were somewhat symphonic (if not completely).

It is possible that Jarre thought a symphonic sound was appropriate, especially considering Legrand's and Schifrin's scores for the Musketeers films were somewhat symphonic (if not completely).[/endquote]

Probably.Especially as the Salkind's films tended to have symphonic scores . And Jarre wasn't in his synth phase yet.

I wonder if there's a chance for an expanded edition of Crossed Swords to go along with the recent expanded release of Swashbuckler? (Which I never saw coming in a million years!)

Playing the FSM release now and it actually sounds very good. I don't know if it needs a sound improvement but FSM's release contained just the OST playlist.

Expanded "Crossed Swords"?

Not one ion of resistance to this in my body.

Somewhere in the middle of listening to the FSM, I always end up blurting aloud "My God, Jarre scored his ass off on this one!"

I agree he blew it out of the ballpark. Its a great score. Great themes, dramatic and very energetic. Ive only seen the film on first release so I have no idea if there's additional music for an expansion or not.

I would love an expanded edition of this, particularly if it has the kind of sonic improvements Swashbuckler had over its previous incarnation. The FSM album sounds good, but if I'm not mistaken, it was from an album master.

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