The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Baby Elephant Walking: Henry Mancini’s “Charade,” “Hatari!” Soundtracks Premiere on CD

leave a comment »

Around these parts, we know that good things do come to those who wait.  The old adage has been proven again, yet it might this time be amended to great things do come to those who wait.  For the Intrada label has just announced the first-time-ever release of Henry Mancini’s original score tracks for Charade (1963) and Hatari! (1962). Why is this such a big deal?  Most of Mancini’s original film scores from his prime period have never seen the light of day; instead the prolific recording artist, composer and conductor opted to re-record his music for heavily truncated album presentations on his home label of RCA.  The re-recordings have become the only way to acquire many of Mancini’s most beloved themes, but however fantastic those albums are (and they are!), they were also heavily re-arranged for a record-buying audience in a “pop” style.  Consequently, Mancini’s gifts as a dramatic composer have often been overlooked.  I lamented in July 2010, “Soundtrack buffs still await the release of many of Mancini’s most famous scores as actually heard in the films, such as The Pink Panther or Charade, but record company contracts make such releases unlikely.”  Well, Intrada has teamed with Sony Music (the successor to RCA Victor, the company which owns the soundtrack rights to these films and released the re-recordings), Universal Pictures (Charade) and Paramount Pictures (Hatari!) to make these long-coveted soundtracks finally available.

Hit the jump to explore both releases, including track listings and order links!

The release of the soundtrack to 1963’s Charade is a doubly exciting one, as it also marks the launch of Intrada’s co-branded celebration of Universal Pictures’ 100th anniversary.  Mancini delivered one of his most beloved scores for Stanley Donen’s film which so deftly blends comedy, romance and suspense.  Donen (Singin’ in the Rain) teamed with screenwriter Peter Stone (1776) for the crime caper starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn at their most glamorous.  The classy, Hitchcock-esque romp through scenic French locales also starred Walter Matthau, James Coburn and George Kennedy, but Mancini’s jazzy score was an equally key character.  The title song became a standard (“When we played our charade…”) but the composer’s other cues are equally memorable.  This complete, action-packed 77-minute release features all of the variations on that famous theme plus all of the suspenseful, romantic and chilling cues left unrecorded for the RCA album.  Both Sony and Universal made this release possible.  Praised by The New York Times’ Bosley Crowther for its sudden twists, shocking gags, eccentric arrangements and occasionally bright and brittle lines,” Charade picked up the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award for Stone’s screenplay as well as an Oscar nomination for Mancini and Johnny Mercer’s title song, and Golden Globe nominations for Grant and Hepburn.

Released one year earlier than Charade, 1962’s Hatari! (or, Swahili for Danger!) introduced another famous Mancini composition, the insidiously memorable instrumental “Baby Elephant Walk.”  The Howard Hawks-directed, African-set adventure starred John Wayne opposite Elsa Martinelli and Red Buttons, and the composer took every advantage of the far-off setting to create an exotic mélange of action and adventure.  Mancini’s exciting cues gave equal attention not just to those baby elephants, but to giraffes, leopards, buffalo, crocodiles, rhinos and wildebeest!  Presented mainly in stereo from the original Paramount Pictures elements, the complete original soundtrack to Hatari! runs approximately one hour in length.  The film could never be made today as it was in 1962; the animals pursued in the movie were wild, untrained and live, and it’s been said that the escaped rhino actually had to be recaptured by the cast members!  The Academy Awards recognized Hatari! with a nomination for Best Cinematography.  It’s somewhat shocking that Mancini’s music was overlooked, but he took home the award for Best Song for his work on another movie: Days of Wine and Roses!

It’s been a good year to be a Henry Mancini fan, with Kritzerland’s The Molly Maguires and La-La Land’s Mommie Dearest both essential additions to any collection.  Now, these two latest titles certainly qualify in that category as well, and hopefully they augur for future releases.  (The Pink Panther and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, anyone?)  Both Charade and Hatari! are available now from Intrada, and can be ordered below!

Henry Mancini, Charade: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Intrada MAF-7121, 2012)

  1. Charade Logo 0:25
  2. Main Title 2:25
  3. Mégève 3:14
  4. Latin Snowfall 2:13
  5. Positive Identification 2:09
  6. Empty Room 2:35
  7. Bye Bye Charlie 3:49
  8. Punch And Judy 2:00
  9. Mambo Parisienne 2:15
  10. Orange Tamouré 1:30
  11. Mean Cat 2:42
  12. Confide In Me 3:35
  13. Don’t Trust Him 3:35
  14. Bistro 3:24
  15. Street (Bistro #2) 2:07
  16. Hook Fight 5:26
  17. Fatherly Talk 1:48
  18. Poor Dead Herman 2:33
  19. Notre Dame and Drip-Dry Waltz 4:33
  20. Bateau Mouche 3:02
  21. Charade 2:09
  22. Gideon Goes Down 1:21
  23. Carousel Medley 5:17
  24. Stamps 1:17
  25. Metro Chase 2:25
  26. Son Of Metro Chase 3:04
  27. Game Over 1:37
  28. True Identity and Finale 3:54

Henry Mancini, Hatari!: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Intrada, Special Collection Vol. 200, 2012)

  1. The Sounds Of Hatari 4:17
  2. Main Title 2:35
  3. Safari Bar Piano Blues 1:24
  4. Giraffe Country 1:34
  5. Just For Tonight (Instrumental) 2:10
  6. Paraphrase I 1:40
  7. Night Side 2:35
  8. Dallas Has A Plan 1:31
  9. Trip To Masai Wells 1:06
  10. Indian Comes Home 0:58
  11. Just For Tonight (Solo Piano) 2:24
  12. Swift Animal Chase 0:49
  13. Dead Elephant 0:37
  14. Night Side (Record Player) 2:19
  15. Leopard and Buffalo 1:51
  16. The Crocodile 1:08
  17. Your Father’s Feathers 1:50
  18. Baby Elephant Walk (Short) 1:57
  19. Crocodile, Go Home! 1:10
  20. Big Band Bwana 1:46
  21. Paraphrase II 1:26
  22. Wildebeest Hunt 2:36
  23. Brandy Sniffer 2:09
  24. Ice Bucket Blues 1:42
  25. Monkey Suits 2:04
  26. Baby Elephant Walk (Long) 3:14
  27. Elephant Scare 0:49
  28. More Rhino 0:53
  29. Burnt Fingers 2:59
  30. Search For Dallas 4:23
  31. Just For Tonight (Chorus) 2:10
  32. Finale 0:19

Written by Joe Marchese

May 29, 2012 at 13:32

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: