Film Music Review
The Sammy awards








Editor's Choice -

Best Of The Month

August 2012  




North By Northwest (Complete Original Soundtrack)


28 tracks (Playing Time = 69:17)

01. Overture/Main Title 2:19
02. The Streets 1:07
03. Kidnapped 2:18
04. The Door/Cheers 1:26
05. The Wild Ride/Car Crash 3:14
06. The Return/Two Dollars 1:15
07. The Elevator 0:49
08. The U.N./Information Desk 1:55
09. The Knife 0:51
10. Interlude 1:18
11. Detectives/Conversation Piece/Duo 4:42
12. The Station/The Phone Booth/Farewell 2:55
13. The Crash/Hotel Lobby 3:15
14. The Reunion/Goodbye/The Question 2:34
15. The Pad & Pencil/The Auction/The Police 2:35
16. The Airport 1:02
17. The Cafeteria/The Shooting 2:24
18. The Forest 1:25
19. The Flight/The Ledge 1:30
20. The House 3:14
21. The Balcony/The Match Box 2:45
22. The Message/The T.V./The Airplane 2:39
23. The Gates/The Stone Faces/The Ridge/On the Rocks/The Cliff/
Finale 8:57

Total Time: 56:38

The Extras:

24. It's a Most Unusual Day (source) 1:17
25. Rosalie (source) 1:36
26. In the Still of the Night (source) 2:26
27. Fashion Show (source) 5:23
28. The Crash 1:53

The Extras Total Time: 12:29

Music composed and conducted by Bernard Herrmann.

CD Reissue produced by Neil S. Bulk and Lukas Kendall.
CD Executive Producers: Douglass Fake and Roger Feigelson.

Herrmann score recorded April-May 1959 at M-G-M Scoring Stage,
Culver City, California.

Orchestrations by Bernard Herrmann.
Source music recorded by Charles Wolcott.
CD Art Direction by Joe Sikoryak.

CD Album Notes by Frank K. DeWald

Intrada CD Special Collection Volume 207

Rating: ****

This will be a shorter CD review. Not because the recording is bad or not worth much attention. On the contrary, this is one of the best engineered CDs of a vinatge soundtrack I've heard in a long time. It is short review because how much needs to be said about one of Hitchcock's greatest thrillers and one of Herrmann's greatest film scores? Not much is needed to be written about a genuine film classic and score classic too. Unlike the nit-picker collectors who discuss every cue with obsessive detail, I'll just mention a few observations.

Comparing this CD to the Rhino Movie Music release from 1995 reveals that the Rhino CD didn't have the benefit of the same original masters and the arrangement of tracks was strange. With 50 separate tracks (many less than a minute in length!) it was not very easy to listen to, especially if you want to follow the film's sequence. This has been corrected on the Intrada CD.

On the Intrada CD the sound is superb for such a vintage film score. That is the major improvement over previous releases, including the Joel McNeely re-recording.

There are several cues I want to mention.

First, is the terrific fandango which opens the film and the Main Title on the soundtrack. It has never sounded better. That also applies to the gorgeous love theme ("Conversation Piece", track 11). And the finale chase atop on Mount Rushmore is contained in only one track (track 23) and follows the same exciting action of the film.

The extra source music on tracks 24-27 are wonderful to have as separate tracks and though they are not by Herrmann (arrangements of songs by Cole Porter and a theme by Andre Previn), they are well performed and recorded. There is also an alternate take, "The Crash" (track 28) which makes at great ending of this CD and make sure to listen to the finale of that track. Was that bit supposed to be there as a surprise or was it a mistake in the editing process?

In summary, if you are a Herrmann fan or even a Hitchcock film fan, this CD is a must have for your collection.

This NORTH BY NORTHWEST CD is a great restoration and thanks must go to Neil S. Bulk and Lukas Kendall for producing this Intrada release. Also the notes by Frank K. DeWald are worth reading and informative as always.

Take a trip back in time to the 1950s and enjoy one of Hollywood's greatest thrillers. This CD takes you there and deserves to be receive a Highest Recommendation and Best of the Month honor.


-- Reviewed by Roger Hall, 30 August, 2012

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