April 2006 Film Music Editorial

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

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Editorial: Also Received  

EDITOR’S NOTE: Occasionally we find ourselves so inundated in new works that we’re unable to give the full review treatment to each release. Gary Dalkin and Mark Hockley review some of these below. - MM

The soundtrack album of the film of the stage musical of the film The Producers (Music and lyrics by Mel Brooks -  Sony Classical 759802 - running time 67.31). I’m sure it’s lots of fun on stage, but it’s an uninspiring stand alone album; while it may be Brooks’ greatest success in a long time, I wouldn’t encourage him to give up the day job. ‘Springtime for Hitler’ remains Brooks’ finest musical moment, but really needs the visuals to make its point. Otherwise this is exuberant, silly and energetic, but doesn’t have sufficient musical class to make the top grade.

Vastly more enjoyable is Good Night, and Good Luck (Concord Jazz 00113431230724 – running time 51.18), a set of 14 classic jazz songs and one instrumental wonderfully performed by Dianne Reeves. An impeccable line-up of jazz musicians deliver a smokey 1950’s atmosphere, from the playful ‘Straighten Up and Fly Right’ to Cole Porter’s unsettling ‘I’ve Got My Eyes on You’ through Victor Young’s ‘When I Fall in Love’ to the closing Arlen-Mercer tune ‘One For My Baby’. In the absence of a new Ella Fitzgerald album this year this will do perfectly well.

Deuda (The Debit) by Andrés Goldstein and Daniel Tarrab (Swing – promo - running time 37.33 - www.swingmusica.com) showcases the composers’ score for the acclaimed Argentinean documentary. Difficult to pigeonhole, and the better for it, this might be summarised as Latin folk-jazz-rock. Effective it is too, with some memorable melodies and quirky surprises. It’s a world away from the same composer’s elegant orchestral scores for Some Who Lived and La Puta y la Bellena, but certainly shows their innovation and versatility.

The Punisher (Perseverance PRD 006 – running time 79.45 – includes 22.58 interview by Robin Esterhammer with composer Dennis Drieth and director Mark Goldblatt). This is Dennis Drieth’s inventive score for the first film based on the Marvel comicbook character. A mixture of orchestral writing, electronics and Asian percussion, there’s a lot of imagination with a few cracking set-pieces (‘Harbour Shoot-em-up’ is a real adrenaline pumper) but also too much low key suspense for constant engagement. Think of it as a pulp companion to Dave Grusin’s The Yakuza. It also stands up well against Carlo Siliotto’s music for the recent remake: The Punisher. The sound is very dry and detailed. In addition, there are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable notes by Paul Tonks, formerly of FMOTW.

Friday the Thirteenth Part VII: The New Blood and Part VIII by Fred Mollin (BSXCD 8847 – running time: 58:42). The Friday the Thirteenth series of movies have never been noted for their music. In fact, I’m confident that few would be able to remember a single theme or motif from any one of the seemingly endless stalk and slash epics. Oddly enough, the first thing that struck me about Part VII: The New Blood was that initially it sounds as if the composer is actually trying to inject something fresh into the proceedings with a motif that brings to mind, in a sub-par kind of way, something like Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave’s magnificent Phantasm theme. But where the Phantasm score developed its theme carefully and imaginatively, Mollin undermines any potential his motif may have, hammering it into the ground with repetition and lack of development. This renders the entire score almost redundant, which is a pity because something far better could have been achieved with the core idea. Even though it was very welcome to hear something vaguely melodic in a Friday the Thirteenth movie, Mollin’s failure to create anything of distinction signals the death knell for the CD overall. The second installment represented here, Part VII Jason Takes Manhattan, is far more workmanlike and also of less interest. While it presses all of the expected jump and jolt buttons, it lacks any kind of ambition. Much like the movies themselves.

The Producers: 2.5
Good Night, and Good Luck: 4
Deuda: 2.5
The Punisher: 3.5

Gary Dalkin

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood & Part VIII: 1.5

Mark Hockley

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