The Second Disc

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Pino Donaggio’s Lost “Ordeal” Released at Last

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Kritzerland’s restoration of Pino Donaggio’s complete score to Carrie was one of the most lauded film score releases of 2010. Today, the label announced a title that could be considered a follow-up: the premiere of Donaggio’s shelved score to the 1985 film Ordeal by Innocence. This Cannon Films adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1958 novel was directed by Desmond Davis of 1981’s Clash of the Titans, and featured a starry ensemble including Christopher Plummer, Faye Dunaway and Ian McShane. The transition from page to screen wasn’t a simple one, however. After Donaggio turned in his final score, the filmmakers found themselves re-editing and re-shooting. Donaggio was no longer available to re-score, so the entirety of his symphonic work was replaced. Oddly, the choice to replace him wasn’t another established film composer, but rather jazz legend Dave Brubeck (who, in 2011, is going strong at 90 years old!). Some of Brubeck’s existing compositions were re-recorded, and while splendid musically, Brubeck’s style seemed an uncomfortable match for the dark world of Ordeal by Innocence.

Now, more than 25 years later, Donaggio’s complete score receives its first-ever release, with only the 17-minute “Suite for a Dying Venice” having previously appeared on Silva Screen’s Three Original Motion Picture Soundtracks by Pino Donaggio (SIL 5093-2, 1992). Kritzerland has uncovered every note written and recorded for the film as well as a bonus suite of alternate cues, and the entire project has been assembled from the original first-generation two-track music masters housed in Italy.

There’s little doubt that Ordeal by Innocence will take its place among Donaggio classics such as Dressed to Kill and Carrie. Hit the jump for Kritzerland’s press release as well as order information and track listing!

In the 1970s and 1980s, there were several big-screen all-star adaptations of Agatha Christie’s books, starting with the huge success of Murder on the Orient Express, followed by Death on the Nile, The Mirror Crack’d, and Evil Under the Sun. 1985’s Ordeal by Innocence was at the tail end of that particular cycle and was based on Christie’s 1958 book, one of her darker tales – it was also one of her favorites of that period. The film version, made by Cannon, assembled a top-notch cast including Donald Sutherland, Faye Dunaway, Christopher Plummer, Sarah Miles, Ian McShane, and Diana Quick. In the director’s chair was Desmond Davis, who’d made the quirky 1960s films, Girl with Green Eyes and Smashing Time, as well as the 1981 version of Clash of the Titans. Engaged to write the score was the wonderful Italian composer, Pino Donaggio, who by that time had made a huge name for himself turning out superior scores for such films as Don’t Look Now, Carrie, Dressed to Kill, The Fan, Blow Out, Body Double, and many others.

Donaggio provided his usual lush, beautiful, suspenseful music, the kind he was so adept at, and his score was fantastic. All should have been well in Christieland, but after Donaggio turned in his score, the film went through major revisions, with a lot of re-editing and some new footage. At that point, the film required rescoring, but Donaggio was already working on another project and was not available. To replace the score, they turned not to a well-known film composer or even a not-well-known film composer – they turned to jazz legend Dave Brubeck. Using existing Brubeck music, newly recorded for the film. Brubeck’s music is terrific on its own – classic Brubeck all the way. Unfortunately, it isn’t movie music and it’s mostly at odds with the visuals and mood of the film.

One can take the position that the film might have had a different fate with the Donaggio score. Or not. It’s really hard to know. What we do know is that the score is top-of-the-line Donaggio. At times reminiscent of his work for De Palma (especially Dressed to Kill), it’s all swirling strings and lush melodies and tension-filled passages, all very symphonic. No one did or does this sort of thing better than Donaggio. There was a short seventeen-minute suite used on a Pino Donaggio compilation, but this is the world premiere release of the entire score – every note written for the film, along with a suite of alternate cues. For anyone who loves Donaggio or who loves classic film scoring, this CD will, I hope, be very pleasing.

This CD was assembled and mastered from the first generation two-track mixed music masters direct from Italy and the sound is phenomenal.

Kritzerland’s complete edition of Pino Donaggio’s Ordeal by Innocence is available for $19.98 plus shipping, and is scheduled for release during the second week of April, but pre-orders are likely to arrive an average of four weeks early.

Pino Donaggio, Ordeal by Innocence: An Original MGM Motion Picture Soundtrack (Kritzerland, 2011)

  1. Main Title
  2. The Visit
  3. Flashbacks
  4. These Woods Could Prove Fatal
  5. We’re All Suspects Now/Flashbacks 2
  6. Family by Adoption/Calgary in Danger/Blackmail
  7. Flashbacks 3/A Day at the Races/Target Practice
  8. A Death in the Family/And Then There Were Less
  9. The Mystery Solved
  10. End Titles
  11. Bonus Suite of Alternate Cues

Written by Joe Marchese

February 28, 2011 at 14:01

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