Mr. Hobbs Take a Vacation
Intrada (Special Collection Volume 11)
Year Released: 1962 / 2003
Conducted by Henry Mancini
|2.||A Month Off||0:25|
|3.||Cream Puff (Instrumental)||2:22|
|4.||Up His Nose||3:00|
|5.||Early to Rise||3:01|
|6.||Roger and Peggy||1:30|
|9.||B Cups and Braces||2:37|
|10.||Yacht Club Hop||2:30|
|12.||Hobbs' Bigtime Swingtime||1:26|
|13.||Something for Lauri||1:38|
|15.||The Quiet Side||1:06|
|16.||Rudders and Sails||4:29|
|18.||Piza Heaven & Creampuff (Vocal)||2:04|
|21.||About Last Night||0:54|
|22.||Farewell to Vacation||3:55|
|23.||Cast and End Title||0:54|
|24.||Demo #1: Cream Puff (Combo)||1:06|
|25.||Demo #2: Mr. Hobbs' Theme (Combo)||1:54|
|Total Album Time:||46:21|
Review: Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation
3 / 5 Stars
In 1962, Henry Mancini was at the peak of his compositional powers and the height of his influence. The previous year he had scored Breakfast at Tiffany's with his most luminous and popular song, "Moon River," and in the following two years he would complete both Charade and the first Pink Panther. Sandwiched among those triumphs, 1962 was likewise a good year for Mancini as he completed Hatari! and Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation. Perhaps because of Hatari!'s success, the latter score was overlooked and had to wait over forty years for a commercial release.
As a film, Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation is a charming, breezy comedy starring Jimmy Stewart as a father who takes his family to vacation in a dilapidated house on the beach. With Maureen O'Hara and pop-idol Fabian rounding out the cast, the film never stretches beyond the genre's conventions and is a solid, light Hollywood entertainment. As a score, Mr. Hobbs reflects the film's aspirations and is a wonderfully pleasant diversion.
Having established himself as a composer with an ear for combining jazz elements with simple melodies in lush string orchestrations, Mancini was a perfect fit for the film. Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation is exactly what you would expect from Mancini in every way. For instance, the "Main Titles" opens with a swinging, big band brass section blowing the head full out with drum set fills after every phrase. After grabbing your attention, Mr. Hobbs' theme enters quietly on guitar supported by soft strings and a xylophone/piano obbligato. Occasional muted trumpet hits round out the instrumental colors. It is a gently swinging, delightfully frothy concoction that, at two and a half minutes, goes down smoothly.
Most cues fit into the "Main Titles" mold, even those which are not based on the main theme (a very small number overall). They are uniformly short with melodies that sound as though lyrics could easily accompany them, and rich, full 1,000-strings orchestrations. Standout tracks include "Cream Puff," an electric guitar and trumpet cue that sounds just like a Frankie Avalon hit. "Hobbs' Bigtime Swingtime" recasts the main theme as a harder swinging trumpet and saxophone lick that demonstrates Mancini's time with Glenn Miller left an impression. Set in between these longer cues are short ones that highlight Mancini's ability to help a film shift from scene to scene and change an audience's mood on a dime. Completing this very full set are two demo tracks: "Creampuff" and "Mr. Hobbs' Theme." The first is the most interesting as the theme in question is played on piano with bass accompaniment. The inclusion of this track allows listeners to hypothesize how Mancini's orchestration's worked by comparing the demo against the instrumental "Creampuff" cue. Beyond the novelty, however, these two tracks offer little new.
Mancini fans should rejoice with this release. Although Mr. Hobbs is not of the same caliber as his Breakfast at Tiffany's or Charade scores, it is an enjoyable work by a mid-century master. Not much new here, but sometimes that's exactly what you need for a little vacation.
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