Film Music Review
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Cinderella Liberty


Cinderella Liberty (1973)

Music composed and conducted by John Williams.

Orchestrated and conducted by David Shire.

12 Tracks (Playing Time = 34:59)



CD reissue produced by Douglas Fake. Harmonica solos by Jean “Toots” Thielemans. Lyrics and vocals by Paul Williams. Album mixed by John Madara. Original album engineered by Joe Sidorf. Originally released in 1973 as 20 th Century Records ST-100. Booklet essay by Jeff Bond. Album art direction by Joe Sikoryak at designWELL, Berkeley, CA.

Intrada Special Collection 70

Limited edition of 3000 copies.

Rating: ***


Intrada continues its series of re-issues of 1970s film score albums with this Oscar-nominated John Williams score. This is the CD premiere of CINDERELLA LIBERTY, the last of three films Williams scored for director Mark Rydell until 1984’s THE RIVER. Beginning with THE REIVERS in 1969, Williams explored different Americana sounds in film scoring covering three distinct musical periods and taken together are rather unique explorations. It was obvious when the composer began conducting the Boston Pops that he had a real fondness for the music for each of these early Rydell films including music from both THE REIVERS (in a narrated adaption) and THE COWBOYS (1972) on his inaugural concert. The love theme from CINDERELLA LIBERTY also found its way to pops programs whenever Toots Thieleman was a guest.

Oddly then, CINDERELLA LIBERTY is one of the least odd 1970s scores that Williams composed during this pivotal period in his career. 1972 was the beginning of a very busy year for Williams with 4 domestic film scores and a made-for-tv score to compose. It is hard to believe but, except for PETE ‘N’ TILLIE, the other 1972 scores feature superb music from the extremes of IMAGES to the first of many disaster scores for THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE. The following year was equally busy, if less memorable. The present score has a beautiful love theme, “Nice to Be Around,” that makes its appearance throughout this disc. In fact, nearly a third of the release features a version of this theme. The music is a sort of bluesy number with prominent harmonica solos cast against Williams’ gorgeous string arrangements. A lyric version featuring Paul Williams, a popular singer-songwriter of the 1970s, is a bit whimsical in its presentation as is the other main title song, “Wednesday Special.” Both manage a perfect evocation of the period and rough characters portrayed by James Caan and Marsha Mason. A lot of the other music plays as background music in pool halls or against other seamy places.

This is some of the last music of this type Williams composed, similar sounding tracks do appear in EARTHQUAKE, and THE EIGER SANCTION. This is then what makes CINDERELLA LIBERTY the most interesting as we hear a composer more noted for his large orchestral scores working in intimate drama in an urban setting.

Intrada’s presentation is similar to that used for last years release of THE HINDENBURG, a straight LP-to-CD presentation. While it is good to have the score on CD, it would have been great to have the isolated score from the an earlier DVD added to this release—no doubt not possible due to licensing agreements. Jeff Bond’s notes do a good job of walking through the score track by track, though there is little to say about most of the music here.

The original liner notes are also reprinted here. This is probably one of the more eclectic albums Williams released and is a rather uneven listening experience as a whole. Still, it somehow manages to wear well and the often updated lounge style is a perfect match to the period. I have played portions of this score for friends who are always surprised to know that the music is by Williams since it is so different from what they know of the composer’s music.

Recommended to fans of urban 1970s scores, and all Williams completists, this disc has a limited run of 3000 copies.


--Steven A. Kennedy, 21 August 2008

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