March 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Tribute to a Bad Man  
Music composed and conducted by Miklós Rózsa
  Orchestrations by Eugene Zador
  Available from Film Score Monthly (FSM Vol.5 No.19)  
Running Time: 50:30
Available from Film Score Monthly, 8503 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, CA90232; Tel: 1-888-345-6335; overseas: 310-253-9595; fax: 310-253-9588; Website:

tribute to a bad man

Miklós Rózsa defined 'epic' in so many ways. Yet despite working during the heyday of America's only real homegrown epic genre - the Western - he only ever scored two of them (Woman on the Town (1943) being the other).

This 1956 James Cagney vehicle features a fish-out-of-water romance tale amongst what amounted to more than your usual shoot 'em up. It was the psychological aspects of the story that Rózsa latched onto, producing a score that focuses as much on the lead gal's (Irene Pappas) inner beauty as on the traditionally beautiful scenery. "Prelude" is therefore a surprising slice of Americana to audiences of both 'then' and now. Some of the music appeared on the At MGM compilation from Rhino a few years back. Naturally the sound here is far superior.

Rozsa was allegedly uncomfortable with the western idiom but his music is a sweeping match for the film's gorgeous Colorado photography. The female lead in the movie (Irene Papas) is a Greek immigrant, and Rozsa adapts a Greek folk song, "Pandrevoun," to serve as the love theme. As the film takes on an aggressive, psychological dimension towards its climax, Rozsa utilizes his film noir style of brooding anxiety. All in all, a wonderful score by a Hollywood master.

Paul Tonks

**** 4

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