July 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Quando Le Donne Avevano
La Coda (When Women Had Tails)
Quando Le Donne Persero La Coda
(When Women Lost Their Tails)
 Double Soundtrack CD CAM 495375 -2 [45:21]

The rating for this double soundtrack suggests these are average scores. Please remember that the powers of suggestion are often false.

Ennio Morricone's comedic "Quando Le Donne Avevano La Coda" makes absolutely no sense and is positively dazzling about it. One hears the trademark audacity of the composer in an insane surplus. The music seems to have no idea of exactly where it wishes to be, but sounds very determined to exhibit wherever it is. I therefore challenge anyone to explain to me the musico-dramatico significance of combining primitive vocals merged with 1970s technique, a jocund main theme that pops up anywhere (anytime, anything), all sorts of oddball orchestrations, a playful violin, a cancan, and something that sounds strangely like a variation on 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.' That's for starters.

But Morricone severely overextends his musical slapstick, further draining his score of understanding, and defying listeners' senses. The novelty and the lunatic genius behind it must be heard to be believed, hopefully even admired, but once the novelty wears thin all we are left with is the shadow of a composer who wrote better scores before and has   since. Despite the amusing permutations, that essential, sought-after timelessness of filmusic is far removed.

Bruno Nicolai's sequel score, "Quando Le Donne Persero La Coda," is slightly more coherent, and brings some closure to the earlier score's residual dementia. This also means it is considerably less interesting. Morricone has had problems following in his own footsteps, so no surprise when Nicolai fails to recapture the innovation of the original, much less match Morricone's métier. What it has is period weirdness.

There is a saying that goes, "If it is in the music, it is in the man." Were this album a pure example of its creators, a set of designer straitjackets would be in order. Perhaps something mauve.


Jeffrey Wheeler

Ian Lace adds:-

Here is evidence of another facet of Morricone's versatility. Here he writes with tongue firmly in cheek. Considering the farcical story line, he comes up with an appropriately whimsical score with the sort of material you would expect; music suggestive of the primitive and clumsy gait of the stone age man complete with grunts and groans and softer more sighing tones of the females bent on ensnaring their unwary mates and propagating the species. Morricone uses the form of the bossa nova that was fashionable when the movie was made back in 1970 -- with a mix of waltzes. His orchestrations are witty and imaginative including the use of didgeridoo, wooden blocks and tubas as well as low woodwinds to suggest the cavortings of the ape men. Music suggestive of the slapstick silent film comedies is also used to good effect and innocent romance is conveyed by a mix of harpsichord, pipes and triangle. A charming if rather repetitive score. The short suite of Nicolai music is really an extension of the Morricone score with very little added.


Ian Lace


Ian Lace

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