Film Music Review
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THE APARTEMENT: Tracks 1-14 -- music composed by Adolph Deutsch

IRMA LA DOUCE: Track 15 -- music composed by Andre Previn

THE FORTUNE COOKIE: Tracks 16-26 -- music composed by Andre Previn

Total Playing Time = 65:48

Produced for CD Release by Bruce Kimmel. Mastered by James Nelson.
Art Direction & Package Design by Doug Harvey.

This CD is limited to 1,000 copies.

KritzerlandKR 20013-2

Rating: ***1/2

During the 1950s and '60s the movie theme seemed to be more important than the score itself as far as record sales. Thus, the Theme from THE APARTMENT by the piano duo of Ferrante and Teicher became a big hit, reaching the No. 10 spot on the Billboard Chart in 1960. And that theme wasn't even written by Adolph Deutsch, who composed the rest of the score for THE APARTMENT. The composer of the theme was British composer Charles Williams, who had composed it for an earlier film, THE ROMANTIC AGE, as Bruce Kimmel indicates in his chatty CD notes. While that theme is what most people would recognize from THE APARTMENT, that is a shame because there is a lot of good '60s jazz music in this score.

For example, "Lonely Room" (track 2, 3:09), a silky smooth jazz number which just reeks of heartbreak and loneliness which applies to the life of C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon), who loans his apartment to his bosses in the office for their sexual escapades. This theme is also repeated on other tracks, such as "Kicked In The Head" (track 11, 2:46).

There are also upbeat cues, like "Tavern in Town" (track 6, 1:36), a really snappy little jazz setting of an old pop song. The next track, "Hong Kong Blues"(3:17) slows things down with subdued bluesy number and various jazz musicians get their turn to play solos.

One of the key discoveries in THE APARTMENT is the appearance of a now world famous film composer, who at that time was a staff pianist at the studio. In one scene in the Chinese restaurant when Mr. Jeff Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) and Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) have a rendevous and who is that pianist playing the theme from THE APARTMENT? It is none other than -- John Williams -- and with lots of hair too! And you can thematic elements that would appear later in John Williams scores, such as the beginning of "Career March" (track 9, 3:06). Similar marches would appear in such Williams scores as 1941 and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

The final cue, "This Night" (track 14, 3:26), is a lively dance song titled "Madalena" by Ary Macedo and Ayrton Amorim, that ends this film soundtrack with some bright and breezy music.

Though THE APARTMENT received 5 Oscars, Adolph Deutsch did not receive any nomination, but the LP album did receive a Grammy nomination for Best Soundtrack Album.

The remainder of this CD consists of two memorable scores by Andre Previn, which are quite different than for THE APARTMENT.

There is the rhythmically dynamic Main Title music (3:54) from IRMA LA DOUCE. This score was awarded an Oscar for Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment, to
André Previn

The next eleven tracks are devoted to THE FORTUNE COOKIE, that made a star out of Walter Matthau, playing a crooked lawyer who gets his brother-in-law (Jack Lemmon) to fake an injury. The Main Title (track 16, 1:26) is a jagged theme which includes an arrangement of the pop song, "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To," heard again on track 21 with an unnamed vocalist.

"The Bad Guys" (track 17, 2:58) is a delightfully sleazy theme with baritone sax playing the theme and evoking the sneaky nature of the deed.

Previn's score is a wonderful mix of the right amount of variety, alternating jazz cues, like "The Caper" (track 23), with more traditional cues, like the charming waltz-like love theme ("An Old Roomate", track 22).


It is worth noting that the two main soundtracks on this CD both feature the versatile comedic actor, Jack Lemmon, who as usual, is excellent in both roles. And both films also have very fine jazz film scores by Adolph Deutsch and Andre Previn. They were previously released on an expensive CD set, "The MGM Film Music Treasury," from Film Score Monthly. Bruce Kimmel writes in his booklet notes that the liner notes can be found at their website:

I would have preferred to have the liner notes available in the CD booklet rather than have to hunt for them on the Film Score Monthly website. Though you have to go hunt for the notes, it is great to have these two fine film scores available on one single CD. The recorded sound is excellent.

This Kritzerland CD is well worth adding to your collection of vintage film scores.

-- Roger Hall, 30 September 2009


Also recommended are these DVDs...


The Apartment (Collector's Edition)

THE APARTMENT (Collector's Edition)



The Fortune Cookie






Billy Wilder Gift Set (The Apartment / The Fortune Cookie / Some Like it Hot / Kiss Me Stupid)

Billy Wilder Gift DVD Set (4 films)






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FMR Fall Issue 2009


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