This album is one of two discs we have received for review this month from
Museum Music. (The other is '30X30 - The making of the J Paul Getty Museum
in LA'). Museum Music is a New York-based multi-media company that creates,
produces and distributes specially-designed, state-of-the-art compact discs
for museums and other special interest markets. [Enquiries to Trish Ireland,
V.P. Sales and Marketing, Museum Music Inc. 451 Greenwich Street
2nd floor, New York NY 10013. Phone: 631-351-6978 and fax 631-351-6992
This is an absolutely fascinating album. It was made by the Museum of Modern
Art (MoMA) which enjoyed a long collaboration with Hitchcock. When MOMA's
Film Library was established in 1935, Hitchcock's films were among the earliest
acquired, and the Museum continues to collect not only his films, but stills,
posters and press material relating to the master's work.
It has to be said immediately that this album includes music readily available
from Varèse Sarabande - Vertigo, Suspicion, Psycho and
Spellbound - and Rebecca, Marnie and Family Plot from
BUT it is what comprises the remainder of this album that rivets the attention.
From Warner Bros we have soundtracks, complete with sound effects and a
smattering of dialogue (all minimal and in no way distracting). From
Strangers on a Train there is Dimitri Tiomkin's marvellous Main Title
or Prologue (one of my great favourites). From the same film, the 'Duet for
four feet', underscores the opening shots, at ground level, as we see first
the feet of a sexy woman and then those of the doppelganger characters Guy
Haines and Bruno Anthony as they hurry along the platform to catch their
train. Then there is the dramatic and black moody music for the scene where
Guy steals into the Anthony mansion and is greeted by a growling dog.
From Notorious (released by the defunct RKO Radio studio) Roy Webb's
music, creating some sympathy for the villain, is heard for the scene in
which Alex (Claude Rains) awakening in the middle of the night goes into
his wine cellar and discovers the shards of the wine bottle broken by American
operative Devlin (Cary Grant). From The Wrong Man there is Bernard
Herrmann's music for 'Manny in his Cell', again with a little sound effects.
The camera swirls around and around conveying Manny's psychological torture
while Herrmann's music builds in intensity until it almost becomes hysterical.
And, from North by Northwest we have more Herrmann anguish with music
for the scene where Cary Grant has to control his car in 'The Wild Ride'
after he has been made to drink a huge amount of whisky. Also from the film
is Herrmann's sly romantic 'Conversation Piece.'
There are also original soundtrack recordings from early Hitchcock thrillers
made in England: Young and Innocent with its period dance band music
(for 'No One can Like the Drumer Man' cue), The 39 Steps and
Sabotage - all scored by Louis Levy. Sabotage is the most
successful the latter with the 'Delayed on the bus' cue that has an insistent
tick-tocking stalking the music until the explosion which demolishes the
bus carrying the boy with the can of film concealing a bomb. Hubert Bath
and Henry Stafford's rather colourless music for Blackmail completes
this excellent compilation.