Film Music Review
The Sammy awards






THE INTRUDER (1961) and other music by Herman Stein

45 Tracks (Playing Time =52:09)

Tracks 1-31: THE INTRUDER (28:43)
Tracks 32-37: CAREER FOR TWO (6:48)
Tracks 38-45: Miscellaneous pieces (16:38)

Produced by David Schecter and Kathleen Mayne.

"Suite for Mario" recorded in 2006. Pianist: Brian Farrell. Engineer: James Bennett.

Cover Art: Robert Aragon. Layout: Teresa Hogenson.

Liner notes: David Schecter.

Limited Edition of 3000.

Monstrous Movie Music MMM-1956

Rating: ****

This CD has received a Sammy Award for Best Vintage Collection of 2008.

Herman Stein was one of those composers whose name you may not know. But if you are a '50s sci-fi fan you'll surely remember his themes from such films as: CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN, and IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE.

Yet, actually he composed about 200 film scores in all sorts of genres, including comedies (ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE KEYSTONE COPS), adventures (THE BLACK SHIELD OF FALWORTH), and dramas (THE UNGARDED MOMENT).

This CD gives examples of his versatility.

THE INTRUDER (1961) was one of those realistic dramas common in that era of Civil Rights. According to David Schecter's excellent notes, it is also the first film that didn't earn money right away for budget conscious producer-director, Roger Corman. Schecter also mentions THE INTRUDER is similar in theme to the following year's film classic, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Both are concerned with racial prejudicie in the South.

THE INTRUDER stars William Shatner in one of his early and best film roles. Filmed in Charleston, Missouri, some of the town's people were included playing themselves. As Schecter points out, it "sometimes resembles actual newsreel footage more than fiction."

The opening track features the Main Title (1:35) with its agitated motif for strings (but no violins) with trumpets and woodwind punctuations and is a highly effective mood-setter. Many of the cues which follow are short, as Schecter points out in his notes. Yet they provide plenty of contrasts, such as the fast jazzy source music titled "Little Dope" (track 3, 1:03) followed by the slower and smoother "Stranger" (track 4, 1:19). The other jazz combo track is "Like Noise" (track 9, 2:35). All three tracks are in the '50s style of West Coast jazz, similar to what Henry Mancini was doing in the TV show, PETER GUNN. The jazz combo used by Stein includes such well known musicians as saxophonists Benny Carter and Buddy Collette, drummer Nick Fatoul, guitarist Al Hendrickson, and bassist Jimmy Bond.

Herman Stein offers a lot of variety in this INTRUDER score. One especially effective cue is the one used for the mob and titled "Inciter" (track 13, 1:00). Another expressive cue is titled simply "Klan" (track 15, 1:47), a strong militaristic march motif that keeps growing in intensity with instruments added as the bigoted townspeople drive to attack what they derivisely call "Nigger Town." This music aptly suits this violent scene. It is continued with the next foreceful cues, "Burning Cross"/ "Conscience"/ "Bombing"/ "Casualty" (tracks 16-19). That leads to "It's Over" (track 20, :22) after Adam Cramer (Shatner) has lost his control with the mob he created. The last two tracks, "Lynch Mob" and "End Title" (tracks 30-31) bring back the mob violence theme and then a solo flute signifies that Cramer is now alone after the mob has deserted him to have integration on their own terms.

THE INTRUDER is a very good score and fully deserves to be made available in complete form.

The next five tracks contain the complete score for a 1951 industrial film titled, CAREER FOR TWO. It was also titled, THE SAVINGS BANK STORY and produced by the Savings Bank Association of New York. This is naturally a much lighter subject so the score is mostly jaunty and quite a delight to hear.

Following that short film score are five more tracks (Nos. 38-45) with "Miscellaneous pieces."

They are: "Unused Main Title" (1:40), "Unused underscore" (2:03), "Persian Beguine" (3:03) -- a sensuous piece of lounge-type music; and "Suite for Mario" (7:41),- written in 1949 for Stein's composition teacher, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco in Los Angeles, and a very fine tribute piece and nicely performed by pianist Brian Farrell. The fifth and last track is the wonderfully breezy piece originally written for a scene in the 1954 film, MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION. Stein reworked the piece in 1959 and titled it: "Pumperknickel Polka" (2:11). This piece was performed by Myron Floren on The Lawrence Welk Tv show and published as sheet music (shown in the CD flyer).

The CD flyer is somewhat awkwardly designed since it opens out in seven panels instead of being stapled together as a booklet. Perhaps this was a cheaper alternative but it makes for a more difficult way to read the very worthwhile notes and look at the fine illustrations. Included are numerous photos, such as THE INTRUDER's author, Charles Beaumont (who wrote many TV scripts for ALFRED HITCHOCOK PRESENTS, ONE STEP BEYOND, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, and many others), candid shots of a younger and and much older Herman Stein, and samples of cue sheets and score sketches.

This CD was released in memory of Herman Stein (1915-2007).

It is a wonderful memorial tribute to him.

I highly recommend this CD to anyone in search of discovering music well worth hearing ---
the film music of Herman Stein.

-- Roger L. Hall, 21 January 2008


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Also available is this recommended DVD...

The Intruder (Special Edition)


THE INTUDER (Special Edition)



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