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Rare Cinema Treasures from Barry, Addison and Sarde Coming Soon

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Film score collectors are among the most insatiable music purchasers, but luckily, there’s frequently a steady stream of releases. Three new and exciting titles have just been announced. Direct from Los Angeles on the estimable Kritzerland label comes Phillipe Sarde’s score to Roman Polanski’s 1986 film Pirates. A continent away in Spain, the Quartet Records label has been growing an impressive library of soundtracks, and the label has recently announced two new additions: John Barry’s 1965 monument to Swinging London, The Knack…and How to Get It, and John Addison’s 1985 Grace Quigley. All three titles are limited editions and may be very much in demand; Quigley receives its first soundtrack release, while The Knack, reissued on CD by Rykodisc, has been out-of-print. Pirates, previously released on CD by Milan and Varese Sarabande, routinely sells in the three figures; Kritzerland’s edition trumps those past editions with remastered sound, the correct film sequence and bonus tracks for the most complete Pirates yet.

Directed by Richard Lester in between A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, 1965’s The Knack might just be the best snapshot of mid-’60s London ever filmed. Lester utilized his full bag of directorial tricks, and who better to complement his stunning, offbeat visuals than John Barry? The composer drew on his background as leader of the John Barry Seven for his jazzy, swinging score, featuring stellar organ work by Alan Haven. The film depicts the various romantic entanglements when drummer Tolen (Ray Brooks), schoolteacher Colin (Michael Crawford) and artist Tom (Donal Donnelly) vie for the affections of an out-of-towner named Nancy (Rita Tushingham). Lester himself made a quick cameo, and the film also offers “birds” a-plenty as Jane Birkin, Charlotte Rampling and Jacqueline Bisset can all be briefly seen. The Knack won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1965, and remains an altogether captivating comedy enhanced immeasurably by Barry’s freewheeling compositions. The Knack is a limited edition of 1,000 copies.

Quartet’s second release, Grace Quigley, is remembered today (if at all) as grande dame Katharine Hepburn’s final starring role on the silver screen. Director Anthony Harvey’s Quigley teamed the great Kate with Nick Nolte in the quirky story of an old woman who decides that waiting around to die just isn’t for her. Instead, she’ll hire a hit man to do the job! John Addison, Oscar winner for Tom Jones and acclaimed composer of the scores to A Bridge Too Far and Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain, was tapped to provide the music.  Quartet’s new compact disc marks the first soundtrack released for Grace Quigley, and any unheard Addison is always cause for celebration. Like The Knack, Grace is limited to 1,000 copies.  Both Quartet titles are available for order now from the label’s own website.

Last but certainly not least, Kritzerland offers Pirates, Roman Polanski’s 1986 action-comedy epic scored by legendary French composer Philippe Sarde. Pirates starred Walter Matthau (!) as Captain Red and Cris Campion as his first mate Frog; Matthau’s role had originally been intended for none other than Jack Nicholson when Polanski intended to shoot the film after the success of ChinatownPirates, a limited edition of 1,000, is due the second week in May, but pre-orders directly from Kritzerland average an arrival of four weeks early.

Hit the jump for the complete official press release on Pirates, plus pre-order information for all three titles, complete track listings and discographical information!

“You son of a double-eyed whore from the reeking gutters of Rotterdam!”

Roman Polanski had long wanted to make a pirate film; a grand, lush, fun pirate film like those he’d seen as a child.  He and collaborator Gerard Brach (with whom Polanski had collaborated on Repulsion, Cul-de-Sac, The Fearless Vampire Killers, What?, The Tenant, Tess, and others that would come later), wrote the script after Polanski had finished with Chinatown.  Originally slated to star Jack Nicholson and Polanski himself, the film would not be made until a decade later, this time with Walter Matthau in the lead.

Pirates premiered at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival, after which it opened in the United States to critical disdain and box-office apathy.  Grossing only two million dollars, the film was simply not what audiences of the day wanted and it disappeared quickly.  Even so, it did manage to pick up one Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design (Anthony Powell).   It vanished for a while, but, thanks to home video and cable showings, over the years people have come to appreciate its many pleasures, including Matthau’s terrific performance, the sometimes-mordant black humor, wonderful action scenes, gorgeous visuals (photography by Witold Sobocinski), and Polanski’s excellent and robust direction.  And, above all, the wonderful, colorful, lush, exciting, and altogether beautiful score of Philippe Sarde.

Polanski had begun what would be a fruitful collaboration with Sarde on The Tenant, which was followed by Sarde’s incandescent score for Tess (for which Sarde was nominated for an Academy Award) and then Pirates.  Born in 1945, Philippe Sarde began scoring films in 1970, and from then on became one of France’s busiest and best composers.  Right from the get-go the Sarde sound was instantly recognizable – his wonderful gift for memorable and melodic themes, his ability to do just about any genre, but in his own unique style.  His film scores throughout the 1970s were some of that decades’ best.  Soon thereafter, Hollywood discovered him, and he did many terrific scores for US films, such as Ghost Story, The Manhattan Project, Lovesick, Lord of the Flies, Music Box, along with an impressive list of French films and films from other countries.

About the scoring of the film, Polanski said, “I did not intend to make a spoof and therefore I did not ask Philippe to spoof the music, though we both wanted to make references to the period and the atmosphere of the old Hollywood action flicks.  I wanted a music that would underline certain actions and gags, and yet I didn’t want a ‘Mickey Mouse’ type of score.  I wanted to avoid a caricature.”  Sarde delivered exactly what Polanski wanted and an absolutely brilliant score.

Pirates was originally released on LP and then on CD by Varese Sarabande, and that CD is long out of print and has become a pricey collector’s item.  That release was oddly sequenced, as a quick perusal of the cue titles will tell you.  We were going to leave it that way until we actually arranged the cue titles so that they followed the film’s story, and once we heard that we knew that we wanted to present it as Sarde wrote it.  And interestingly, we later found out that’s exactly how the original LP presented the score – the CD mixed it all up, but if you look at the LP cue order you’ll see it’s all in film order, sans the music that was added for the CD.

The sound has been completely remastered, and additionally we’ve included two bonus cues: the main and end titles as presented in the film, taken from the beautiful-sounding foreign Blu-Ray release.

Matey, they don’t seem to write scores like Pirates anymore, so it’s a real treat to have Philippe Sarde’s great swashbuckling music back on CD, sounding better than ever with enough buckle and swash for a dozen films.

Pre-order links can be found below. Quartet’s The Knack and Grace Quigley retail for €16.95 plus shipping from Quartet’s own website, but they can be pre-ordered from other sources like Screen Archives, as well. Kritzerland’s Pirates is available for pre-order directly from the label for $19.98 plus shipping.

Philippe Sarde, Pirates: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Varese Sarabande VCD-47265, 1986 – reissued Kritzerland, 2011)

  1. Pirates
  2. Two Hungry Pirates, Adrift
  3. Captain Red, The Frog and The Shark
  4. Rescued-Yet-Captured
  5. Death of a Captain
  6. Mutiny
  7. Captain Red – Galleon Master
  8. Pirates Sneak Into Macaibo
  9. Dead Man’s Nag
  10. Dolores
  11. Don Alfonso Escapes
  12. Spanish Recapture the Neptune
  13. Captain Red’s Jailbreak
  14. Pirates Pursue the Neptune
  15. Pirates Aboard
  16. Red, the Frog and the Throne/Boomako and the Snake
  17. Captain Red Gains the Throne
  18. Setting Sail for New Adventures
  19. End Titles
  20. Main Titles (Film Version)

Track 20 previously unreleased.

John Barry, The Knack…and How to Get It: Original MGM Motion Picture Soundtrack (United Artists UAS-5129, 1965 – reissued Quartet Records QRSCE024, 2011)

  1. The Knack (Main Theme)
  2. Here Comes Nancy Now!
  3. Photo Strip
  4. Three on a Bed
  5. Blues and Out
  6. The Knack (Vocal by Johnny DeLittle)
  7. And How to Get It
  8. Something’s Up!
  9. Doors and Bikes and Things
  10. Ecstasy!
  11. The Knack (End Title)

John Addison, Grace Quigley: Original MGM Motion Picture Soundtrack (Quartet Records QRSCE025, 2011)

  1. Main Title
  2. Oscar*
  3. Mr. Argo Shot / Grace in the Car* / Seymour Flint
  4. Wish Me Luck
  5. The Proposal
  6. Act of Pity / You’re Late! / Mr. Jenkins*
  7. The Farewell Party*
  8. The Lovely Death of Mr. Jenkins
  9. The Geriatric
  10. Customers* / Rest Homes*
  11. None Sing Again* / The Plan*
  12. Bulletin Boards
  13. Putnam’s Short Cut
  14. Hidden Gun / The Killing of Mr. Putnam* / Emily’s First
  15. The Funeral Chase*
  16. Seymour Shot to Grace* / Pillow Ride / Beach Revisited* / Mum and Son
  17. End Credits
  18. Radio Lieder
  19. Radio Source
  20. The Lovely Death of Mr. Jenkins (alternate)
  21. The Geriatric (alternate)
  22. Rest Homes* (alternate – version 1)
  23. Rest Homes* (alternate – version 2)
  24. End Credits (alternate)
  25. Funeral Source

* indicates a track not used in the film.

Written by Joe Marchese

March 28, 2011 at 10:19

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

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