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December 2005 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings/ December/


Crossed Swords (aka The Price and the Pauper)  
Music composed by Maurice Jarre
  Available on Film Score Monthly Vol. 8, No. 14
Running Time: 40:16
Amazon UK

Crossed Swords (1976) was based on Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. It had been filmed several times previously, most notably by Warner Bros in 1937 starring Errol Flynn with a score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold no less [Notably Korngold used music from this score in his Violin Concerto.]  Crossed Swords, made by Alexander and Ilya Salkind, as a family film, starred Oliver Reed in the Flynn role with Raquel Welch and Mark Lester in the twin roles of the urchin Tom Canty and Edward Tudor, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VIII; with Rex Harrison, Charlton Heston and David Hemings in cameo roles.

Much of the score is in rollicking, rumbustious mood with flavourings from Jarre’s most popular scores including: Dr Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia and O’Ryan’s Daughter.  But Jarre also makes copious period musical references and frequently uses period and folk instruments (Well-known British film composer George Fenton was employed as a session player where his expertise in ethnic and period instruments was very much appreciated.)

Tom Canty has a mischievous and earthy theme while Edward Tudor’s music is more genteel and regal – both themes are nicely used in counterpoint when appropriate. Miles Hendon’s theme is noble but world-weary. I would mention just a few of the tracks: ‘Hendon Hall’ using a dulcimer, solo flute, oboe and harp is beautifully wistful and tender while ‘Canty’s Fight’ demonstrates Jarre’s resourceful use of percussion including percussive piano supplemented by snarling brass and clashing cymbals.

The ‘Coronation’ music scored for chorus and orchestra with bright fanfares and grounded by organ peddle, is grand and majestic indeed. ‘Procession’ is another regal cue with stirring use of snare drums and bagpipe. Ruffler’s Men’ for an ill-assorted band of cut-throats, is a tongue-in-cheek assemblage of an extraordinary array of instruments period and otherwise, such as sackbut, recorder, dulcimer and primitive organ and flexatone.

The stereo recorded sound has wide perspectives and is very clear. Interestingly Jarre was not too keen on the use of CTS recording studios at Wembley, London preferring a concert-hall acoustic rather than CTS’s constricted space and bright sound.

A rollicking score with some excellent period touches.

Ian Lace

4

Film Score Monthly News Release:

Crossed Swords was a 1978 film adaptation of Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper by international film producers Ilya and Alexander Salkind, directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, Mark Lester and an all-star cast. A lighthearted tale of mistaken identity and swashbuckling derring-do, Crossed Swords (which was known by its literary title overseas) was the Salkinds' follow-up to their successful The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers, and it featured the duo's usual collection of highly priced talent both in front of and behind the camera.

For music, this meant Maurice Jarre, composer of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago. By 1978 John Williams had revitalized the symphonic film score with Star Wars and composers such as Jarre were given full license to apply their talents on appropriate projects. Jarre responded on Crossed Swords with a delightfully melodic, heroic and full-blooded orchestral score the likes of which used to flow from the pen of Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Max Steiner -- here modernized by Jarre's inimitible melodic style.

Crossed Swords is a delightful symphonic score with multiple character themes. This CD features the soundtrack LP as released by Warner Bros. Records in 1978 (which was all that was available for license). The album runs a generous 40:16 and sequences the score's major themes and setpieces for optimal listening presentation, in fine stereo sound as performed by The National Philharmonic Orchestra.

Crossed Swords was one of several projects for which Jarre utilized Christopher Palmer as his assistant, and the score has the gargantuan symphonic sound of Tai-Pan, Enemy Mine (the orchestral portions) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. It is a splendid swashbuckling work making its CD premiere at a special lower price.

Track Listing:

Crossed Swords
  1. Main Title 3:07
  2. My King 2:29
  3. Royal Divertissement 2:10
  4. Crossed Swords 3:47
  5. Hendon Hall 3:57
  6. Canty's Fight 2:20
  7. Here Comes the King 2:02
  8. The Prince and the Pauper 3:04
  9. Coronation 2:00
  10. Ruffler's Men 2:15
  11. Fight on the Steps 2:58
  12. Gaillard 1:49
  13. Procession 1:50
  14. Tom or Edward 1:34
  15. Epilogue 4:04


  16. Total Time: 40:16

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