Mary Queen of Scots
Charles Jarrott is one of that generation of British directors who like Bryan Forbes,
Nicolas Roeg and John Schlesinger developed into major talents in the 1960's. However,
while these names, to which one might add John Boorman, Tony Richardson and Ken Russell,
are still celebrated today, Jarrott is rather overlooked. It is then something of a surprise
to find that he is still working, with a new film, Turn of Faith, recently completed.
One further thing that Jarrott has in common with Forbes, Roeg and Schlesinger was that
they all made films with music by John Barry.
Like his score for Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout (1971), recently recorded an issued by Silva
Screen for the first time, John Barry's music for Jarrott's second film
Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) runs just under half-an-hour. It is therefore sensibly
coupled with the music from the director's debut feature, Anne of the Thousand Days (1969),
composed by George Delerue. As Ian Lace is reviewing the Delerue score I am concentrating on the Barry.
Whereas for the historical drama The Lion in Winter (1968) Barry immersed himself in medieval
music to produce a work with at least the semblance of authenticity - in the same way Miklos
Rozsa's 'Roman' music had the semblance of authenticity - for Mary, Queen of Scots Barry is,
as he was for The Last Valley (1970) much more himself. Other than some regal trumpets
and a touch of harpsichord - though a monophonic melody quite out of keeping with the period -
there is no indication that this is the music for a drama set in the latter half of the 16th century.
Even the use of bagpipes could come from any period. Over the years John Barry has increasingly
written 'John Barry' music, almost regardless of the film in question. Here we find the beginnings
of this tendency, with some of the scoring sounding as it would have been equally at home in a
James Bond adventure; the trumpet melody which opens 'Journey to Scotland' has precedents in
both You Only Live Twice (1967) and O.H.M.S.S. (1969); the timpani, strings and horns of
'Escape with Boswell' suggest Thunderball (1965). This is not to say that this is not a good score;
the film is a strong conclusion to a distinguished sequence of historical dramas which had occupied
British film from the mid-60's, and the music works well both with the film and as an enjoyable
album in its own right.
The score opens and closes with, even by Barry's high standards, a melody of exceptional sad beauty.
Here in this original form it has a warmth entirely missing from any re-recording I have heard.
Vanessa Redgrave had not so long before starred in the musical Camelot (1967) so it is less
surprising than it might have been to hear her sing the song 'Vivre et Mourir', Barry's setting of
words by Mary herself. While no one would suggest she give up the day job, she has a light and
attractive voice, and presumably Barry scored the folk-like melody within her range.
By the standards of the time this was a strikingly 'modern' approach to scoring an historical feature,
though today when we are used to Vangelis and Zimmer accompanying Columbus and Roman legions it sounds
much more conventional. For Barry fans this is an essential release; a diverse, warm and lovely score,
and even those not enamoured of the composer may find more to like here than usual. Anne is very nice too,
about which more from Ian.
Gary S. Dalkin
(Mary Queen of Scots)
And Ian Lace listens to Delerue's score -
French film music composer, Georges Delerue's music for Anne of the Thousand Days
deservedly won an Academy Award nomination. It came out on LP in 1971. Delerue, who died in 1992,
was famed for his lyrical music. It often enhanced women's romantic pictures. Delerue film scores
include: Hiroshima Mon Amour; Jules and Jim; The Day of the Dolphin; Julia; The Pumpkin Eater;
A Man for All Seasons; Platoon; Beaches and Steel Magnolias. His music for Anne of the Thousand Days
sounds authentically Tudor, unlike Barry's 'Bond in Tudorland' music for Mary, Queen of Scots;
and it is much more interestingly structured and orchestrated. The Overture contrasts noble and
majestic material with more informal and intimate music for Henry VIII's (Richard Burton) courting of
Anne Boleyn (the stunningly beautiful Genevieve Bujold). Two sets of court airs and dances are heard:
one stately and one more relaxed and intimate. There is a lovely romantic 'Lute Song' and the
beautiful song 'Farewell My Love' with lyrics by screenwriter John Hale. The music of this song
is poignantly recalled in the otherwise regal Epilogue, after the beheading of Anne to make room
for Henry's third shot at marriage with Jane Seymour that produced the monarch the longed for son
and heir. The refurbished sound is first class.
(Anne of the Thousand Days)