Henry MANCINI (1924-1994)
The Classic Soundtrack Collection
SONY 88843091732 [9 CDs: no total time given]
This bumper bundle 9-CD + 48 page booklet covers music that Henry Mancini wrote for 18 films made from 1960 (High Time) to 1978 (Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe). Each disc is encased in a cardboard sleeve with the original LP cover designs reprinted on the back and front: there are two soundtracks per CD. The booklet includes an appreciation essay by Didier C. Deutsch who occasionally contributed erudite material to Film Music on the Web during the time I was its Founding Editor. Most of the booklet’s content covers track-listings of all the films (reprinted at the foot of this review) plus the material that was printed on the back of each original LP although I should mention you will need a magnifying glass to read such small print.

I have been selective in my comments about these 18 soundtrack albums otherwise this review would be interminably long. I have restricted my comments to a general appreciation and a selection of two or three tracks per film.

CD 1 The Pink Panther introduced us to the bumbling French detective Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) and the most memorable track is Mancini’s jazzy Pink Panther theme. Backing this is another Panther outing The Return of the Pink Panther with an extended version of that theme plus likeable numbers such as the smoochy Latin number ‘So Smooth’.

CD 2 has two soundtracks for two very successful films that starred Audrey Hepburn. Firstly the incomparable Breakfast at Tiffany’s with that gorgeous song, ‘Moon River’ supported by some delightful jazz tracks such as the slinky number ‘Something for Cat’ and the amusing ‘Mr Yunioshi’. The gangster caper Charade had Cary Grant romancing Audrey against a gang of villains led by Walter Matthau. Again it’s the main title music that stays in the mind with tracks like ‘Megeve’ so appealing for close dancing.

CD 3 takes us to Africa with John Wayne in Hatari. The main theme combines African rhythm ostinatos beneath a romantic brass theme. Additionally we have one of Mancini’s most appealing character studies in his ‘Baby Elephant Walk’. The Oklahoma Crude theme has all the power of the great open spaces and corporate pride plus a homespun folktune quality. The choral number ‘Send a Little Love My Way’ is a standout track with a backing that recalls the early 1900s jazz era. It received a Golden Globe nomination for best original song in 1973.

CD 4 What Did You Do in the War Daddy opens with a jazz-ified ‘The Swing March’ and covers a number of appealing tracks covering US soldiers’ amorous adventures in Sicily during World War II. These include ‘Tarantella Mozzarella’in keeping with the Sicilian scene and the romantic ‘Gina’. High Time, starring Bing Crosby, was about the generation gap between parents’ generation and that of post Second World War youth. Its title theme has another marching tune this time associated with the exuberance of youth and with a band led by glamorous drum majorettes. This jolly tune lingers in the memory as does that lovely tune for ‘The Second Time Around’ which is repeated with its associated vocal sung by Andy Williams as a bonus track.

CD 5 Experiment in Terror was a suspense thriller. Yet you would hardly think so listening to the opening track ‘Fluter’s Ball’, the fairground evoking ‘Tooty Twist’ and the tender ‘Kelly’s Tune’, for Mancini’s music often does not reflect this film’s horror. An altogether attractive album this one. Alas I can hardly say so for Darling Lili (a World War I spy drama). Despite the presence of Julie Andrews the music for me is well below the Mancini par. Yes I do appreciate that the song ‘Whistling Away the Dark’ was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song.

CD 6 opens with the grinding jazz Gunn theme. Peter Gunn is a private detective out to bust a crime syndicate. The theme was popular in its day. Supporting tracks like ‘Theme for Sam’ and the amusing ‘The Monkey Farm’ appeal too. Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? had chefs killed in the manner of their most famous dishes. Its busy Main Title theme is upbeat and cheeky. Other tracks give Mancini the chance to show off his novel and amusing characterisations gifts or music underlining the more horrific scenes – I dread to think what was in the ‘Italian Soup’.

CD 7 Two for the Road had Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney journeying through France on the same road through the years of their courtship and marriage. The opening title song has great charm so too have many other tracks including: ‘Something for Audrey’, the happy little number ‘The Chaser’ and the entrancing ‘Happy Barefoot Boy’. Sophia Loren was teamed with Gregory Peck in the so-so over-complicated thriller Arabesque. Its Main Title theme has a suitable Middle Eastern Arabic flavour. The obligatory love theme, Yasmin’s Theme – ‘We’ve Loved Before’ – is hardly Mancini’s best.

CD 8 The Great Race, a manic slapstick comedy, detailed a race between early motor cars from New York to Paris. The Overture sets the mood and includes the popular song ‘The Sweetheart Tree’. Me, Natalie charted the often disastrous adventures of an ‘ugly duckling’ to discovering her self-worth. Rod McKuen sings ‘Natalie’, the title song tenderly and sympathetically. McKuen also sings ‘We’ - another tender ballad. Something of an understated delight this collection.

CD 9 Yet another manic comedy, The Party, starred Peter Sellers who played a misguided bungling Indian actor, in Hollywood to star in a film called ‘Son of Gunga Din’, who causes chaos at a party. The score has exotic music plus the usual Mancini jazzy numbers and a bit of romance like the song ‘Nothing to Lose’. Finally Visions of Eight was a documentary that was a stylised look at the 1972 Summer Olympics. The exuberant ‘Salute to the Olympians’ is suitably proud and high-spirited. This is an imaginative score with some interesting touches including a nod to Prokofiev in ‘The Race’.

A very full tribute to the great popular talent that was Henry Mancini.

Ian Lace
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The Pink Panther (1963) rec. 1964 released as RCA LSP-2795.
The Return of the Pink Panther (1975) rec released as RCA ABL1-0968.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1962) rec. released as RCA LSP-2362
Charade (1963) rec. released as RCA LSP-2755.
Hatari (1963) rec. released as RCA LSP-2559
Oklahoma Crude (1973) rec. released as APL1 0271.
What Did You Do in the War Daddy? (1966) rec. released as RCA LSP-3648
High Time (1960) rec. released as RCA LSP-2314
Experiment in Terror (1962) rec. released as RCA LSP-2442.
Darling Lilli (1970) rec. released as RCA LSPX-1000.
Gunn (1967) rec. released as RCA LSP-3840.
Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978) rec. released as Epic SE 35692.
Two for the Road (1967) rec. released as RCA LSP-3802.
Arabesque (1966) rec. released as RCA LSP-3623.
The Great Race (1965) rec. released as RCA LSP-3402.
Me, Natalie (1969) rec. released as Columbia OS 2080.
The Party (1968) rec. release as RCA LSP-3997.
Visions of Eight (1973) rec. released as RCA APL1-0231.

Detailed Track-Listing
CD 1: The Pink Panther / The Return of the Big Panther
1. THE PINK PANTHER: The Pink Panther Theme
2. It Had Better Be Tonight
3. Royal Blue
4. Champagne and Quail
5. The Village Inn
6. The Tiber Twist
7. It Had Better Be Tonight
8. Cortina
9. The Lonely Princess
10. Something for Sellers
11. Piano and Strings
12. Shades of Sennett
13. Meglio Stasera (It Had Better Be Tonight) (Fran Jeffries)
14. The Pink Panther (with James Galway)
15. THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER: The Pink Panther Theme
16. The Greatest Gift
17. Here's Looking at You, Kid
18. Summer in Gstaad
19. So Smooth
20. The Return of the Pink Panther (Pt. 1 and Pt. 2)
21. The Greatest Gift
22. The Orange Float
23. Dreamy
24. Disco
25. Naval Maneuver
26. Belly Belly Bum Bum
27. The Wet Look

CD 2: Breakfast at Tiffany's / Charade
2. Something for Cat
3. Sally's Tomato
4. Yunioshi
5. The Big Blow Out
6. Hub Caps and Tail Lights
7. Breakfast at Tiffany's
8. Latin Golightly
9. Holly
10. Loose Caboose
11. The Big Heist
12. Moon River Cha Cha
13. Breakfast at Tiffany's (with James Galway)
14. CHARADE: Charade (Main Title)
15. Bistro
16. Bateau Mouche
17. Megeve
18. Bye Bye Charlie
19. The Happy Carousel
20. Charade (Vocal)
21. Orange Tamoure
22. Latin Snowfall
23. The Drip-Dry Waltz
24. Mambo Parisienne
25. Punch and Judy
26. Charade (Carousel)
27. Charade – Henry Mancini

CD 3: Hatari! / Oklahoma Crude
1. HATARI!: Theme
2. Baby Elephant Walk
3. Just for Tonight
4. Your Father's Feathers
5. Night Side
6. Big Band Bwana
7. The Sounds of Hatari
8. The Soft Touch
9. Crocodile, Go Home
10. Just for Tonight (Vocal)
11. Baby Elephant Walk (with James Galway)
12. OKLAHOMA CRUDE: Oklahoma Crude
13. Lightfinger
14. Cleon and Lena
15. Lena's Tune
16. Over the Top
17. Send a Little Love My Way (Choral)
18. The Big Climb
19. The Dude of My Dreams
20. On Your Hill
21. In Your Hill
22. Send a Little Love My Way

CD 4: What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? / High Time
2. Tarantella Mozzarella
3. Gina
4. In the Arms of Love
5. The Girls Up-a-Stairs
6. Sicily Forever
7. In the Arms of Love
8. Echoes of Sicily
9. Buon Giorno
10. Wine and Women
11. A Tavern In Valerno
12. The Tender Thieves
13. Fiesta!
14. In the Arms of Love (Andy Williams)
15. HIGH TIME: High Time
16. Moon Talk
17. So Neat
18. The Old College Try Cha-Cha
19. The Nutty Professor
20. Frish Frosh
21. The Second Time Around
22. A Mild Blast
23. Harv's Blues
24. New Blood
25. The Dean Speaks
26. Tiger!
27. The Second Time Around (Andy Williams)

CD 5: Experiment in Terror / Darling Lili
2. Tooty Twist
3. Kelly's Tune
4. Golden Gate Twist
5. The Good Old Days
6. Experiment In Terror Twist
7. Experiment in Terror
8. Nancy
9. Down By the Wharf
10. Teen-Age Hostage
11. White On White
12. Final Out At Candlestick Park
13. Overture
14. DARLING LILI: Whistling Away the Dark
15. The Little Birds (Les P'tite Oisenux)
16. The Girl In No Man's Land
17. Gypsy Violin
18. I'll Give You Three Guesses
19. Darling Lili
20. Smile Away Each Rainy Day
21. The Can-Can Cafe
22. I'll Give You Three Guesses
23. Skäl (Let's Have Another On Me)
24. Your Good-Will Ambassador
25. Whistling Away the Dark
26. Whistling Away the Dark
27. Darling Lili

CD 6: Gunn / Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?
1. GUNN: Peter Gunn
2. A Quiet Happening
3. Dreamsville
4. Sky Watch
5. A Bluish Bag
6. Theme for Sam
7. The Monkey Farm
8. A Lovely Sound
9. I LIke the Look
10. Silver Tears
11. Sweet!
12. Night Owl
13. Bye Bye
14. A Bluish Bag
15. Dreamsville (with Lola Albright)
17. Well Done Louis
18. Pesce!
19. Bombe Richelieu
20. Italian Soup
21. They Hang Chefs, Don't They?
22. Bombes Away / Natasha In Venice (Natasha's Theme)
23. Natasha's Theme (Piano Solo – Henry Mancini)
24. The Movable Feast
25. Late Night Call / The Gathering (Theme)
26. Fiery Finale (Theme)
27. The Final Feast / The Confession
28. Natasha's Theme (End Title)

CD 7: Two for the Road / Arabesque
1. TWO FOR THE ROAD: Two for the Road
2. Something for Audrey
3. The Lovely Life (From “Two for the Road”)
4. The Chaser
5. Something Loose
6. Happy Barefoot Boy
7. Two for the Road
8. Congarocka
9. French Provincial
10. The Donk
11. Domain St. Juste (Din-Din Music)
12. Two for the Road (Instrumental)
13. Two for the Road
14. ARABESQUE: Arabesque
15. We've Loved Before (Yasmin's Theme) (Instrumental)
16. Ascot
17. Dream Street
18. Facade
19. Something for Sophia
20. We've Loved Before (Yasmin's Theme) (Vocal)
21. Shower of Paradise
22. The Zoo Chase
23. Bagdad on Thames

CD 8: The Great Race / Me, Natalie
1. THE GREAT RACE: Overture
2. Push the Button, Max!
3. The Royal Waltz
4. Night, Night Sweet Prince
5. They're Off!
6. The Sweetheart Tree
7. The Great Race March (A Patriotic Medley)
8. He Shouldn't-A, Hadn't-A, Oughtn't-A Swang On Me
9. Music to Become King By
10. Cold Finger
11. Pie in the Face Polka
12. Pie in the Face Polka (with James Galway)
13. The Sweetheart Tree (Johnny Mathis)
14. ME, NATALIE: Natalie
15. Free!
16. Sequence for Uncle Harold
17. A Groovy Mood
18. Off-Ramp to Nowhere
19. Theme for Losers
20. We
21. A. Mozart, I Love You
22. In and Out of Love Montage
23. Bench Warmer
24. Dear David
25. Natalie

CD 9: The Party / Visions of Eight
1. THE PARTY: The Party
2. Brunette In Yellow
3. Nothing to Lose (Instrumental)
4. Chicken Little Was Right
5. Candlelight on Crystal
6. Birdie Num-Num
7. Nothing To Lose
8. The Happy Pipers
9. Party Poop
10. Elegant
11. Wiggy
12. The Party (Instrumental)
13. Nothing to Lose (Julie Andrews)
14. VISIONS OF EIGHT: Ludmilla's Theme
15. Pretty Girls
16. Spaced Out
17. Warm Up
18. Soft Flight
19. The Race
20. Salute to the Olympians
21. Olympic Village
22. Ludmilla's Theme (Reprise)
23. Hurdles and Girdles
24. Theme for the Losers
25. Salute to the Olympians (Finale)