Film Music Review
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Editor's Choice -

Best Of The Month

October 2012  


SHANE (1953)

Music composed and conducted by Victor Young

Total Disc Time = 66:03

1. Main Title (Prelude) (2:08)
2. Starrett's Plans (2:28)
3. The Tree Stump (2:00)
4. Pastoral (2:43)
5. Off To Town/ Grafton's Store (1:38)
6. Wyoming Sketches (2:46)
7. End of Fight/ Victory and Trouble (1:42)
8. Tender Moments/ Wilson/ Ride and Memories (6:10)
9. The Fourth of July/ A Tough Torrey Home (2:17)
10. Trouble Ahead/ Torrey's Death/ Taking Torrey Home (8:22)
11. Cemetery Hill (5:09)
12. Peace Party (3:18)
13. Sad is the Parting (3:06)
14. Ride To Town (6:28)
15. Apotheosis and End Title (4:18)
Total = 55:12

Bonus Tracks

16. Beautiful Dreamer/ Marching Through Georgia (source music)(2:03)
17. The Ride To Town (film version)(Waxman-Young)(4:17)
18. Apothesis and End SHANE (1953) (film version)(4:15)
Total = 10:45

Executive Album Producers for La-La Land Records: Lukas Kendall, MV Gerhard, Matt Verboys
Execuitve Album Producers: Neil S. Bulk and Chris Malone
Audio restoration: Chris Malone
Selected Audio Transfers: John Davis
Digital Mastering: Doug Schwartz
Orchestrations: Sidney Cutner, George Parrish, Leo Shuken, Leonid Raab
Music recorded June 25, September 17-19, October 27, 1952
at Paramount Pictures Scoring Stage, Hollywood, California
CD Art Direction: Jim Titus
Production Assistance: Jeff Eldridge and Frank K. DeWald

La-La Land Records LLLCD 1224 (Limited edition of 2,000 units)

Rating: ****

Over the years this film and score has grown more impressive in stature. I was one of the lucky filmgoers to have seen it when it was first released in 1953. In those days there was great anticipation as the curtain opened and you heard the Main Title music of a film. In the case of SHANE, you immediately see the sweep of the vast western landscape, beautifully filmed by the Oscar-winning cinematographer, Loyal Griggs. And there is also Victor Young's beautiful Main Title (or Prelude) that, like so many other films of this era, sets up the mood of the film within only about two minutes of music.

Victor Young, who worked almost his entire career at Paramount Pictures, was a master of film scoring and one of the greats from Hollywood's Golden Age. It is a tragedy that his only Oscar was for AROUND THE WORLD in 80 DAYS, awarded after his death. He composed so many memorable film themes and also classic movie songs, like "Stella By Starlight." One of his colleagues once said that he could write memorable melodies as if they were falling out of his sleeves onto the piano. Along with Max Steiner's score for THE SEARCHERS and Dimitri Tiomkin's RIO BRAVO, Young's score for SHANE is one of the greatest scores for a Hollywood western film.

The opening Prelude has a theme called "The Call of the Faraway Hills" and it will return throughout the score in many manifestations and is such that it never seems to wear out its welcome. As the CD booklet notes state about the second track:

"Young alternates the main theme with the 'Varsovienne,' [a Polish dance tune which Young knew as a young man] which serves to underline the mild attraction Marion (Jean Arthur) exhibits toward the mysterious stranger - and implies a touch of civilization that she misses in her life on the frontier."

Then there is the magnificent cue known as "The Tree Stump" (track 3).
Here Young uses counterpoint from the Baroque era to accompany this scene where Joe Starratt (Van Heflin) and Shane (Alan Ladd) cut up the huge tree stump. This is a most effective cue.

There is no need to go further in this score which flows naturally like the beautiful Jackson Hole location shooting in Wyoming.

This is a high quality CD release, with outanding sound quality for its era and a very informative 24 page CD booklet, attractively designed by Jim Titus. Unfortunately, the very informative booklet notes are not credited to any author but I suspect they were written by the prolific and well informed writer, Frank K. DeWald.

For any lover of this classic western film and especially the magnificent score by Victor Young, this is a must have for your collection.

This SHANE CD is one of the most welcome vintage soundtrack releases of this year.

Bravo to La-La Land Records for releasing this classic film score in all its brilliance!

-- Reviewed by Roger Hall, 30 October 2012

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SHANE soundtrack




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