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June 2001Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings /June01/

Hotel Paradiso & The Comedians  
  Chapter III Records CH 37504-2   [72:41]

Hotel Paradiso & The Comedians

Beyond his contributions to the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, I've rarely come across Rosenthal's name. These 2 scores from the late Sixties demonstrate a versatility for the comedy genre, but regrettably don't make me want to rush out and investigate the paltry catalogue of his available works at all.

Hotel Paradiso was an adaptation of a successful stage farce, which by all accounts lost a lot in the translation to screen despite the always-welcome presence of Alec Guinness. The "Main Title" features the bouncy rhythmic structure that made Georges Delerue and Nino Rota popular as the Sixties became the Seventies. For 30 minutes you get an unending series of cues with pianos going oompah-oompah, and winds tooting and parping that suggest a scoring approach of Mickey Mousing of the grandest order. Lots of the cues take on circus-styled hijinks to reinforce the comparison with Delerue / Rota.

Then after that there's a very dramatic outburst for "Main Titles" that's a total contrast to the last half hour. Lots of shimmering textures from piano and percussion with a children's chorus singing hymn-like to the new president of Haiti makes for a perplexing question as to why these were deemed suitable album companions in the first place. Adapted from a Graham Greene novel, this is concerned with Haiti politics but from a very light perspective it would seem. There's much more variety in this second score, but some cues such as "The Voodoo Temple" do seem to be more source than score. But with only the most meagre basic of packaging, you'll have as little cue as to who did what or why as me.

Anyone wanting to know more about the composer would be well advised to consider that sometimes less is more.

Paul Tonks


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