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Nelson RIDDLE and Neil HEFTI - Batman: Film Music CD Reviews- January 2001

January 2001 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Nelson RIDDLE and Neil HEFTI
Batman  (1966 feature)
  FILM SCORE MONTHLY Silver Age Classics Vol 3 No.7  

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I have a definite soft spot for the character of Batman, whatever form he may take. There's the dark angst of the comics and Tim Burton's two movies (I even enjoyed Val Kilmer's interpretation in Batman Forever, although the less said about Batman and Robin the better!). But it's the surreal parody of the 1960s TV series that holds a special place in my affections.

Ironically, when I first watched the series as a youngster I always longed for it to take the story more seriously, but as an adult I have come to fully appreciate the show on an entirely different level, savouring the deadpan delivery of Adam West, the delightful over-the-top performances of Frank Gorshin (The Riddler) and Cesar Romero (The Joker) and the sheer bizarre stylishness and originality of the entire enterprise. And now FSM has been generous enough to provide us with an invaluable record of the distinctive music that added so much to the general air of quirky fun.

Despite the fact that the catchy, very familiar main theme was written by Neal Hefti, the main body of music for both the series and the spin-off movie was composed by Nelson Riddle. And it's the film version that's the focus of this CD, the score a distillation of his library of 'Bat' music, many cues derived from Riddle's scoring duties on the series itself. As you might expect there is an attractive sixties ambience to the work, but it actually manages to transcend its era and simply becomes something uniquely its own, the perfect partner in crime for a series like no other.

For established fans this is a must, but the appeal should be relatively broad given the inventive quality of Riddle's music.

Holy enjoyable!

Mark Hockley


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