New FSM CDs: On the Beach, Point Blank
by Lukas Kendall
Film Score Monthly's new limited edition CDs feature the
director-composer relationship of Stanley Kramer and Ernest Gold, and music
for the films of Richard Stark's "Parker" character:
Age Classics: Point Blank/ The Outfit
In 1962 Richard Stark (Donald E. Westlake) wrote The Hunter,
the first of his many books about an unstoppable thief named Parker. The
story was recently filmed as Payback starring Mel Gibson, but was
first adapted as the surrealistic and acclaimed '60s neo-noir Point
Blank (1967), starring Lee Marvin and directed by John Boorman. Scoring
Blank was legendary composer and arranger Johnny Mandel (The Sandpiper,
MASH) who provided it with a dreamy, haunting and utterly unique score,
with an unusual 12-tone theme and trance-like orchestrations favoring the
composer's trademark woodwinds.
In 1973, M-G-M released The Outfit, based on another Stark book
and starring Robert Duvall. Capturing the gritty, blue-collar take on the
character was composer Jerry Fielding (The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs),
a master of the '70s crime genre with his jazz sensibility and avant garde
techniques. Fielding provided his usual, highly personalized stamp of action
and suspense, and also lyrical moments including three songs which showcase
the composer's little-known melodic side.
Point Blank and The Outfit are presented in stereo from
the original master elements, with an illustrated 24-page booklet and ultra-cool
design. Point Blank includes the film's nightclub music "Mighty
Good Times" by Stu Gardner in mono.
Age Classics: On the Beach/ The Secret of Santa Vittoria
On the Beach (1959) is a celebrated picture by renowned "message"
filmmaker Stanley Kramer, starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire
and Anthony Perkins as among the last survivors of a nuclear war. The film
marked the first full collaboration between Kramer and his regular composer,
Ernest Gold (Exodus, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World).
For On the Beach Gold set the traditional Australian tune "Waltzing
Matilda" in a wide variety of permutations: from an anthem for humanity
to a love theme to a dirge for the end of the world. Along with his original
love themes and bold, questing music for a mid-film submarine mission,
On the Beach is a memorable symphonic score consistently requested
on CD by collectors. FSM presents the stereo LP master (the original scoring
sessions are lost) in sterling sound quality.
As a bonus, the CD also includes Gold's stereo LP recording of The
Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969), a lighter score for a sprawling comedy/drama
set in WWII Italy, also directed by Kramer and starring Anthony Quinn,
including one previously unreleased track. The score features sumptuous,
Italian-flavored melodies and a lengthy symphonic setpiece for the film's
signature sequence, in which Italian peasants hide a million bottles of
wine from the German army.
FSM's Ernest Gold doubleheader features comprehensive liner notes and
a 24-page booklet.
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