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Wait Until Dark (1967)
Music by Henry Mancini
Wait Until Dark Wait Until Dark
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $49.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: June 2007
Catalog #: Vol. 10, No. 7
# of Discs: 1

A definitive 1960s soundtrack comes to CD at last: Wait Until Dark (1967), the brilliant, moody and haunting score composed and conducted by Henry Mancini.

The name "Mancini" resonates today as a master of light pop and comedy. One of the touchstones of his career—and of movie music itself—is "Moon River," composed for Breakfast at Tiffany's and conveying the beauty and heart of Audrey Hepburn. However, Mancini was endlessly inventive and relished the opportunity to showcase a darker and more dramatic side of his ability. One of the best chances came on another, very different Audrey Hepburn movie, Wait Until Dark, and he did not disappoint.

Wait Until Dark was a suspense masterpiece starring Hepburn as a blind housewife who is terrorized by three hoods (Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna and Jack Weston) trying to retrieve a heroin-filled doll from her New York City apartment. Based on a stage play by Frederick Knott, the film features an engaging battle of wits between Hepburn and the thugs, and a truly terrifying climax as the nighttime confrontation foretold by the title comes to pass.

Mancini's score is a masterwork of color and mood, playing a haunting, minor-mode melody (in the style of Experiment in Terror) over a brilliant device: two pianos, tuned a quarter-tone apart, with the "wrong" notes eerily echoing the "right" ones. Combined with Mancini's melodic instruments—sitar, electric harpsichord, electric guitar, and a whistler in the main title—this recurring theme backed by the quarter-tone pianos (the "Theme for Three") turns his familiar big band style on its head.

A second major theme in the score (titled "Wait Until Dark," and sung in the end credits) is a more familiar kind of pop Mancini composition for Hepburn's good-hearted character, not quite "Moon River" but more in that style. The score also includes several upbeat source cues in the loungey Mancini tradition.

However, it is the music for the film's climax—dark, oppressive and terrifying—that will thrill fans of Mancini's dramatic scores such as Lifeforce. As Alan Arkin makes his frontal assault on the blind but not entirely helpless Hepburn, Mancini's throbbing strings and eerie sounds leave the viewer in a state of panic that one of the world's most famous leading ladies is about to have her throat slit.

This premiere release of Mancini's complete original soundtrack to Wait Until Dark is remixed from the original 1/2" three-track scoring session masters recorded at Warner Bros. Liner notes are by Lukas Kendall.

Henry Mancini Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Henry Mancini (1924-1994) was, prior to John Williams (his former pianist in the Peter Gunn band), the most public face of film music. His "Moon River" and "Pink Panther" theme became pop standards and he changed the nature of film music through his deft use of instrumental color, jazz/pop songwriting forms and light dramatic touch. (It is often said that his bass lines were more memorable than most other composers' entire scores!) While he was most associated with sophisticated entertainment of the 1960s—a reputation he cultivated through his career as a recording artist for RCA—he could do all sorts of styles; see his brilliant, chilling thriller score for Wait Until DarkIMDB

Comments (9):Log in or register to post your own comments
I just found out that the amazing Sue Raney sings the vocal version of the "Wait Until Dark" Mancini song on this FSM cd.


Wow! I'm buying it next!

Wow! I'm buying it next![/endquote]

It seems that you have persuaded me to do the same ;)

Good GOD, boys, where have you been?

Good GOD, boys, where have you been?[/endquote]

On a low-wage job - now I can buy 5-7 CDs per month - 1-3 years ago - only 2! :D

Anyone still need a copy of this one? I just ordered one from Avatarmusic in the UK, an Amazon reseller that I have had great past experience with. They still have a couple of copies at an excellent price here:


Avis, the same supplier had one more on the shelf.

Avis, the same supplier had one more on the shelf.[/endquote]

not any more, apparently.
I never got into the score because I didnt get into the movie (dont think I finished it). However, I watched "Eyes of Charles Sand" (available from Warner Archive) which 'borrowed' the music and now I really like it. Sometimes you dont know what will attract you to a score.[/endquote]

Last Child,
Keep an eye on that link I supplied. The supplier seems to be getting a trickle of some of these OOP FSM releases from somewhere. I've seen Wait Until Dark pop up a couple of times and then be bought. Check it every other day and you might get lucky.


I saw WUD on TV ages ago and then again on DvD for a second time just recently. It wasn't what I expected either. As the FSM description above says, it was based on a stage play. And that's just how the film came over.

I think for a more uncomfortable viewing experience with similar subject matter, Mia Farrow in Blind Terror (See No Evil in the USA), has the edge. But then, it is the more recent film (set in the UK.) Both do a very good job of highlighthing the vulnerability of blind people. And I think that in both teleplays the women portrayed have only just gone blind for the purpose of storyline.

I was in Last Child's position whereby the CD disappeared not long after initially spotting it. If you don't act immediately be prepared to be disappointed moments later. I thought the chance to get the disc for a smaller, rather than larger hole in the pocket, had gone for good. There's another Amazon UK vendor perpetually coming up with a new hand of Intrada's The Deep.

I see Mancini sued (and won) over portions of his music for WUD being used in Eyes Of Charles Sand.

The exchange rate at the moment seems to be something like this:-

1 Dollar -> 3/5 Pounds Sterling.
1 Pound Sterling -> 1 & 2/3 Dollars, both with minor variation.

Track List
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
Henry Mancini

David Berman, Samuel Cytron, Baldassare Ferlazzo, David Frisina, Howard W. Griffin, Thelma Hanau (Beach), William Hymanson, Lou Klass, Bernard Kundell, Dan Lube, Hillard Lubie, Irma W. Neumann, Jerome Joseph Reisler, Nathan Ross, Sam Ross, Robert "Bob" Sushel, Harry Zagon

Alvin Dinkin, Cecil Figelski, Phillip Goldberg, Allan Harshman, William Hymanson, Maurice Keltz, Myra Kestenbaum, Louis Kievman, Virginia Majewski, Alex Neiman, Robert Ostrowsky, Joseph Reilich, Sanford Schonbach, Milton Thomas

Margaret Aue-Van Wyck, Naoum Benditzky, Justin DiTullio, Marie Fera, Anne Goodman (Karam), Armand Kaproff, Raymond J. Kelley, Irving Lipschultz, Jacqueline Lustgarten, Kurt Reher, Emmet Sargeant, Joseph Saxon, Frederick R. Seykora, Eleanor Slatkin

Raymond M. "Ray" Brown, Roland Bundock, Abraham Luboff, Peter A. Mercurio, Joseph Mondragon

Arthur Gleghorn, Ronald Langinger (aka Ronny Lang), Ted Nash, C. E. "Bud" Shank

Hoyt Bohannon, Richard "Dick" Nash, George M. Roberts, Terry C. Woodson

Caesar Giovannini, Artie Kane, Pearl Kaufman (Goldman), James G. Rowles, Raymond Turner

Artie Kane, James G. Rowles

Laurindo Almeida, Robert F. Bain

Sheldon "Shelly" Manne, Jerry D. Williams

Frank J. Flynn

Orchestra Manager:
Kurt E. Wolff

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