Available from Film Score Monthly, 8503 Washington Boulevard, Culver City,
CA90232; Tel: 1-888-345-6335; overseas: 310-253-9595; fax: 310-253-9588;
These 2 for 1 releases from Film Score Monthly really do spoil the fans! I’d
like to think they’re not split for a decision in obtaining this one though.
Early Bernstein versus early Herrmann is no contest in quality. Both are enough
to warrant their own individual release anyway.
First comes Bernstein from 1955 at which point the 33-year-old composer
was yet to score a romance picture. Clearly he had a rare time delving into
string writing since the grace and tenderness of the Pompey theme is quite wonderful.
Sunny and warm, this is poles apart from either the western or comic styles
he became pigeonholed by.
Director Philip Dunne’s first choice for the score was Herrmann who had worked
on his previous movie (Prince of Players). Fortunately for Bernstein,
he was already contracted to Hitchcock’s Man who Knew Too Much. Skip
ahead 4 years, and we come to Herrmann in fine fettle for another Dunne project.
In many ways it might have been interesting if the composer casting on these
2 projects had been reversed. It’s been wondered at why Herrmann agreed to score
this project. Firstly because the play adaptation was rather weak in itself.
Secondly because what he turned out often seems like a lazy retread of other
works. Indeed, the romantic echoes of his "Scene d’Amour"
from Vertigo are alarmingly intrusive. Naturally there’s still plenty
of Herrmann invention, and the lone action sequence ("The Chase")
is a highlight for horn participation in the score.
Don’t stop spoiling us FSM!