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This soundtrack has received a Sammy Film Music Award

Editor's Choice -

Best Of The Month

April 2012  

  

SHIP OF FOOLS (1965)

 

Music composed by Ernest Gold.

Produced by David Schecter and Kathleen Mayne. Digital editing and mastering: Graham Newton. Layout: Teresa Hogenson. Liner notes: David Schecter.

Manufactured under license from Columbia Pictures Industries Inc.

Limited Edition of 1,000 units

23 Tracks (Playing Time = 57:06)

MMM-1962

Rating: ****

 

This is a bit of a departure for Monstrous Movie Music. Previous albums have been of the type which gives the label its descriptive name:

THE MONSTER THAT CHALLENGED THE WORLD, PROJECT MOONBASE, IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE, THE BLOB, THIS ISLAND EARTH,, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, and the first two compilations: MONSTROUS MOVIE MUSIC and MORE MONSTROUS MUSIC. There was another title which is worth mentioning from MMM - the underrated film and memorable score by Herman Stein: THE INTRUDER (Sammy Award for Best Vintage Score). Also the recently released film score, THE McCULLOCHS.

During the decade from about the mid-1950s to 1960s there were a number of films with a large all-star cast, such as AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS and EXODUS, an Oscar-winner for composer Ernest Gold.

Ernest Gold (1921-1999)
from the CD foldout

SHIP OF FOOLS, also had a large cast of international stars, including Vivien Leigh, Simone Signoret, Jose Ferrer, Lee Marvin, George Segal, Oskar Werner, Heinz Ruhmann and Michael Dunn. The music score by Ernest Gold is mostly chamber music (a few strings and piano), not the usual large orchestra.

The type of film score employed is nicely summarized by David Schecter in his CD liner notes:

With a plethora of characters involved in their own discrete plots, employing thematic motifs for each person would have been too unwieldy and confusing, and it probably would have interfered with the dialogue-driven picture. Instead, Gold wrote mostly source music (music emanating from a visible or implied source such as a radio , orchestra, singer ,etc.) in the form of waltzes, foxtrots, and classically-influenced compositions.

One of the most poignant themes is first heard in track 2 ("Captain's Table"). As Schecter mentions, there was both a faster and slower version of this theme. The complete faster version is heard on track 2 (3:43), and the slower version is heard on bonus track 23 (4:24).

As Schecter writes, a portion of this soundtrack was released on a "beautifully-produced twelve-track, 38 minute LP released on RCA Victor Red Seal," performed in expanded orchestrations and performed by the highly esteemed Boston Pops, conducted by Arthur Fiedler, who was a master of extracting the most from Viennese-style waltz music.

But this CD has almost twice as much music as the vintage LP from 1965.

If you're a fan of Viennese waltzes and other similar dance music, then this CD should be a very enjoyable listening experience. This score is mostly a series of classically-based themes. It is ideal to listen to while sipping a glass of wine or perhaps a non-alcoholic beverage like tea or coffee. This is probably not the type of music for the beer and pretzels crowd!

It needs to be mentioned that there are places where silence comes in for dramatic effect and it isn't a defect of the CD, such as in track 12 ("Schmachteertzen") and track 16 ("Errand of Mercy"). There is also a lively song sung in German on track 13 ("Heute Abend Geh'n Wir Bummeln Auf Der Reeperbahn"), sung by Jose Ferrer and Christiane Schmidtmer. On track 17, there's a fine snappy cue titled, "Charleston for Fools."

Once again, David Schecter has provided extensive and very useful notes in the 16 page accordion style liner, which has black & white film stills, several nice pictures of Ernest Gold and a few beautifully reproduced pages from the original score itself. These illustrations are examples of what sets Monstrous Movie Music apart from larger record labels who have skimpy notes and mainly large pictures of the movie stars, such as in the recent anniversary edition of TITANIC.

This CD is another outstanding production from Monstrous Movie Music and deserving of special praise. It has excellent sound quality and the booklet has impressive illustrations, with even a lovely landscape painting by Ernest Gold!

I'm pleased to give SHIP OF FOOLS my highest recommendation and name it Best of the Month.

-- Reviewed by Roger Hall, 28 April 2012

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