The Second Disc

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The Hills of Yesterday: Henry Mancini, Charles Strouse Offer “Molly Maguires” Scores

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A victim of the blacklist, director Martin Ritt (The Front, The Great White Hope and Norma Rae) felt passionately about using film to explore relevant social issues.  So it would have been no surprise that he was taken with the story of the Molly Maguires, the Irish-American coal miners who formed a secret society (some might say, of terrorists) to fight their oppressive employers in 19th century Pennsylvania.  Ritt enlisted an all-star cast including Sean Connery (still in his James Bond period) and Richard Harris for his 1970 Paramount Pictures epic.  Initially signed to write the score was Charles Strouse, the theatrical composer of Bye Bye Birdie, Golden Boy and It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman (and later, Annie).  On the silver screen, Strouse had recently made a splash with Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and William Friedkin’s The Night They Raided Minsky’s (1968), so he seemed a reasonable choice to score Ritt’s film.  Reportedly, though, Strouse’s score didn’t sit well with test audiences, so Ritt turned to a more experienced film composer who could also turn out superlative work in a short period of time: Henry Mancini.

Mancini had a busy slate in 1970, also scoring Vittorio De Sica’s Sunflower and Blake Edwards’ Darling Lili, but he, of course, rose to the occasion.  He chose to employ unusual instrumentation including pennywhistle, ocarina, button accordion and Irish harp to color his rich melodies.  He even supplied a stirring song, “The Hills of Yesterday,” well-known to Scott Walker’s fans.  In 1992, producer Bruce Kimmel was instrumental in bringing Mancini’s Molly Maguires score to compact disc, supported by an enthusiastic Mancini.  The Bay Cities edition of the score (BCD-2039) has been out-of-print for years, commanding high prices on the secondhand market.  Fast forward twenty years, and Kimmel now heads Kritzerland, a label dedicated to reissuing classic soundtracks and original cast albums.  How better to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the original Molly Maguires CD than with a reissue?  And what could make this reissue even more special the second time around?  How about the world premiere release of the rejected score by Charles Strouse as a supplement to the Mancini score?

Kritzerland’s The Molly Maguiresfeatures the entire Mancini score, as recorded by the great composer, in newly mixed sound from the original master tapes.  It’s easy to see the importance of music to the film, which begins with a wordless, nearly 15-minute sequence set to the score.  Several cues omitted from the original soundtrack album make their first appearance here, and five bonus tracks have been appended: three unique album versions and two film versions.  Charles Strouse’s complete score, opposite in style and approach to Mancini’s, is also making its premiere in any form.  Producer Bruce Kimmel explains in the liner notes, “Sometimes a score just isn’t working for the film, even though the music itself might be excellent. And that’s what happened here – Strouse’s score just wasn’t working with the film.”   The new Molly Maguires is limited to 1,500 copies and is due the second week of March, but pre-orders from the label usually arrive an average of four weeks early.

But’s that not all.  Kritzerland is also delivering a two-for-one soundtrack by Albert Glasser.  Invasion USA and Tormented! are just two of the hundred-plus B-movies scored by Glasser, and both feature appropriately wild scores.  (Just check out the artwork, below!)  Adventures of Superman buffs should note that Invasion USA boasts performances by both Lois Lanes, Noel Neill and Phyllis Coates!  Kritzerland has remastered these never-before-available soundtracks from the late composer’s personal tapes, and the sparkling result will be released alongside The Molly Maguires.  Hit the jump for Kritzerland’s full press release on the Glasser duo, plus track listings and pre-order links for both titles!

INVASION USA/TORMENTED!

We’re pleased to present a deliriously wonderful double bill of Albert Glasser scores. Invasion USA was made in 1952, when the Commie scare was in full bloom, the film is a nightmare (literally) vision of WHAT COULD HAPPEN HERE. The film is indescribable in its weirdness and exists in a whole other movie universe. It is a completely unique and classic B-movie, featuring a great B-movie cast, including Gerald Mohr, Peggie Castle, and Dan O’Herlihy. The film also has the distinction of having both TV Lois Lanes in the same movie – Phyllis Coates and Noel Neill. Even William Schallert makes a brief, uncredited appearance.

Eight years later would come another wild, weird and wacky movie called Tormented, made by the wonderful Bert I. Gordon. It was a story of death and jazz and love and a nasty female ghost come back to haunt and torment. The cast included Richard Carlson, Juli Reding, Lugene Sanders, and the adorable Susan Gordon (Bert’s daughter). Also making an appearance is Joe Turkel, who did several films for Gordon and who would ultimately give his most memorable performance as bartender Lloyd in the Stanley Kubrick film The Shining. Naturally, the perfect person to score these films was Albert Glasser, and he delivered exactly what was expected of him and which no other composer could have delivered in quite the same way. For Invasion USA he created a blaring, driving, crazy-quilt of a score, with screaming, dissonant brass. One simply cannot imagine a more perfect score for the movie. For Tormented, since the film’s leading man is a jazz pianist, Glasser naturally wrote a jazzy score – but this is not your normal jazz, this is TORMENTED jazz – jagged and crazy and somehow perfectly capturing the visuals of the film.

The two scores were mastered from Mr. Glasser’s personal tapes. While there are occasional sound issues, our wonderful mastering engineer, James Nelson, has done Herculean work to make both scores sound as good as they’re ever going to.  Invasion USA/Tormented is a limited edition of 1,000 copies.

You’ll find pre-order links for both titles below!

Henry Mancini and Charles Strouse, The Molly Maguires: Music from the Motion Picture (Kritzerland, 2012)

  1. Theme from The Molly Maguires (New Day in 1876)
  2. The Mollys Strike
  3. Main Title
  4. Room and Board
  5. Sandwiches and Tea
  6. Work Montage
  7. Pennywhistle Jig
  8. A Hard Day’s Work
  9. On Your Knees
  10. Jamie and Mary
  11. A Trip to Town
  12. Strike Two/Strike Three
  13. The Hills of Yesterday
  14. There’s More
  15. The Mollys Strike Again
  16. A Suit for Grandpa
  17. Kehoe Lights Up/The Last Strike
  18. The End
  19. Fiddle and Fife (Film Version)
  20. A Brew with the Boys (Film Version)
  21. Sabotage
  22. Fuse
  23. Work in the Mine
  24. Bleak Street/To Find a Room/To Work
  25. The Long Walk
  26. Window Shopping
  27. Truant Picnic-ers
  28. The Last Rites
  29. The Company Store (Parts I and II)
  30. Arson
  31. End Title
  32. Fiddle and Fife (Album Version)
  33. A Brew with the Boys (Album Version)
  34. Pennywhistle Jig (Album Version)

Tracks 1-20, 32-34 composed, arranged and conducted by Henry Mancini; portions appeared on Paramount LP PAS-600, 1970
Tracks 21-31 composed by Charles Strouse, all tracks previously unreleased

Albert Glasser, Invasion USA/Tormented: Original Motion Picture Soundtracks (Kritzerland, 2012)

  1. Vince Meets Carla
  2. Mr. Ohman / Hypnotic Brandy / Bad News
  3. The Enemy is Here!
  4. Washington / On the Defense
  5. The President Speaks
  6. It Can’t Be Happening / Love and War 
  7. Vince Gives Blood
  8. Dam Attack
  9. Watery Death
  10. I Want You / Red Alert
  11. A-Bombs Over New York
  12. Fighting Back
  13. Carla and Vince Captured / You’re My Woman Now /Back to Reality 
  14. Be Prepared
  15. Main Titles
  16. Opening Narration / The End of Vi
  17. The Lighthouse
  18. Perfume by Arpege
  19. Footsteps by Vi
  20. Tormented by Vi
  21. Nightmare
  22. Vi’s Watch / Who’s in the Lighthouse?
  23. Vi’s Hand
  24. Mrs. Ellis Talks to the Dead
  25. The Photo
  26. Girl Talk
  27. Vi’s Head
  28. Sandy Sees Murder
  29. Wedding Jitters
  30. Vi at the Wedding

Tracks 1-14 from Invasion USA, 1952
Tracks 15-30 from Tormented, 1960

Written by Joe Marchese

January 30, 2012 at 10:50

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