Monstrous Movie Music (MMM-1952)
Release Date: 2000
Conducted by Masatoshi Mitsumoto
The Radio Symphony Orchestra of Slovakia
|1.||Fanfare / A Cannibal Carnival||1:35|
|2.||In The Woodland||1:16|
|5.||New End Cast||0:30|
|6.||My Tender One||1:07|
|9.||The Webbed Hand||0:33|
|15.||Tale of the Mermaid||1:06|
|16.||Salvage of The Lady Luck||4:05|
|17.||Duke's Little Helper||0:34|
|18.||Kay and The Monster, Part 1||2:35|
|19.||Kay and The Monster, Part 2||1:51|
|20.||Tony Visits Port Royale, Part 1||1:50|
|21.||Brad Rescues Tony, Part 2||1:22|
|23.||Clay Meets A Badman||2:25|
|24.||That Hand Again||1:02|
|27.||Monster Gets Mark, Part 1||2:14|
|28.||Monster Gets Mark, Part 2||2:49|
|33.||Shocker (Part II)||0:47|
|38.||Shocker (Part I)||1:24|
|39.||Get That Gator||0:21|
|41.||Paul's Death, Part I||0:46|
|42.||Paul's Death, Part II||0:57|
|Total Album Time:||56:56|
|by Dan Goldwasser
August 17, 2000
To call the third release from Monstrous Movie Music "astounding" would not do it enough justice. The goal off the MMM series of albums is to "re-record the scores from science-fiction, fantasy, and horror films of the past in a manner that's as faithful to the original versions as possible". As such, in this third CD, they tackle the original Creature From The Black Lagoon, as well as The Alligator People. Additionally, five minutes of score from five Tarzan films is also included at the beginning of the disc - but it's still a juicy five minutes!
Re-recorded with the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Slaviakia under the baton of Masatoshi Mitsumoto, the recordings are dead-on recreations of what the composers originally intended when writing the music to these films. The energy, the sound mix, even the instruments have all been painstakingly re-created to create a soundtrack album that sounds like the original music heard in the film, but with the full digital quality available today.
Starting off with the MGM Tarzan films, we hear the triumphant "Fanfare" (as composed by David Snell), which then goes right into "A Cannibal Carnival" (composed by Sol Levy). I was instantly transported back to jungle. Apparently the Tarzan films were more or less devoid of music, and the cues included here are pretty much all that is worth hearing. We then move on to the heart of the album, which is the complete score to Creature From The Black Lagoon.
Beginning with the "Main Title", as written by Herman Stein, the tense strings and harsh brass herald the title cards with such drama that it can only be a 1950's monster movie. Universal Studios released the film, and as was common on many films those days, multiple composers worked on the project. In addition to Stein, Henry Mancini, Milton Rosen, Hans Salter, and Robert Emmett Dolan all lent their talents to this score. The creature's main three-note fanfare ("bah-bah-BAH!!!") is present throughout the score, which helped reinforce the incorrect impression that the score was brass-heavy. Rather, there are quite melodic cues comprising strings and woodwinds, especially in many of Mancini's cues (such as "Unknown River" and "Duke's Little Helper"). All told, there is over 35-minutes of score dedicated to this one film, and while five people wrote it, it amazingly seems to all fit together without sounding disjoint.
The album concludes with the score from the 1959 "B" movie, The Alligator People. Irving Gertz wrote the score that is accentuated by the use of an electric violin in only two weeks. The result is surprisingly good, with an enjoyable main theme and underscore that is both dramatic and harkens to the other monster films of its day. My favorite cues from this section are definitely "Shocker, Part 2" and "Paul's Death, Part 2". It's interesting to note that at times I kept thinking how similar John Williams' Dracula was to parts of this score. Certainly there might have been some influence that I was previously unaware of!
There are five bonus cues, including a "complete" version of "Unknown River". The main difference is apparently one bar, and I doubt if anyone not reading the liner notes would have noticed. The remaining four cues are all from The Alligator People, and contain selected cues without the electric violin, so as to better allow the listener to hear the orchestration.
Also included is a 40-page booklet with the most comprehensive liner notes I've ever seen. Photos, diagrams, memorabilia, score sheets, and more - it's all in here. Producers David Schecter and Kathleen Mayne deserve a lot of credit for the amount of effort and research they must have done to pull all of this together. It's one thing to get a re-recording done, but it's another to make it the ultimate comprehensive presentation possible! They have certainly provided enough information to answer every possible question, and I can't recommend this album enough. Go get it. Go get it now! I am eagerly awaiting the fourth disc in the series, and until then, I will try to revisit the first two albums shortly.
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