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Archive for June 25th, 2012

Jiminy Cricket! Two Leigh Harline Scores Paired On New CD

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Those who wished upon a star for more music from Leigh Harline are in luck.  The Academy Award-winning composer of “When You Wish Upon a Star,” from Walt Disney’s 1940 Pinocchio, had a distinguished career in Hollywood until his death in 1969 at age 62.  Kritzerland is celebrating Harline’s career with a new two-for-one CD of the great man’s scores.  The Wayward Bus is making its world premiere, while The Enemy Below is returning to print after an absence of many years.  Both titles are available for pre-order now from Kritzerland.

John Steinbeck’s 1947 novel of the same name provided the basis of Twentieth Century Fox’s 1957 film The Wayward Bus.  Although it’s often overlooked in favor of other works such as Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath, The Wayward Bus was quite successful upon its initial publication, and a strong candidate for cinematic treatment.  Director Victor Vicas helmed the ensemble picture featuring Joan Collins, Jayne Mansfield and Dan Dailey.  Collins portrayed Alice Chicoy, the wife of Johnny Chicoy (Rick Jason), driver of the wayward bus.  Bombshell Mansfield was dancer and party girl Camille Oakes and Dan Dailey played Ernest Horton, the salesman who takes an interest in her.  In reissue producer Bruce Kimmel’s words, “Harline’s score for The Wayward Bus is filled with the longing and yearning of its characters.  You can feel it immediately in the film’s main title music, and it continues in each successive cue – it really gets under the skin of the characters and drama, and it’s filled with plaintive melodies and colors.”

The same year, Fox released another motion picture with a Leigh Harline score.  Director Dick Powell (yes, that Dick Powell) was behind the camera for The Enemy Below, a World War II adventure based on D.A. Rayner’s novel, depicting the confrontation between an American destroyer and a German U-Boat.  Robert Mitchum and Curt Jurgens starred, and the cast also included Theodore Bikel and David Hedison.  Kimmel:  “The music for The Enemy Below is thrilling and memorable.  Harline’s scoring choices are interesting – he lets long dialogue sequences play without music, while scoring the action sequences, with his themes clearly defining the American and German boats and their maneuvers.  Once the climactic battle begins, Harline lets his music go pretty much non-stop, and it’s simply exhilarating battle music, the kind no one seems to know how to write anymore.”    Like The Wayward Bus, The Enemy Below was conducted by a famed member of the Newman family: Academy Award winner Lionel Newman, brother of Fox music director Alfred, and uncle of composers Randy, David and Thomas!

Hit the jump for more information, including the full track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 25, 2012 at 10:17