The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for July 30th, 2012

Henry Mancini’s “Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation” Reissued with Premiere of George Duning’s “Dear Brigitte”

with one comment

The legendary American actor James “Jimmy” Stewart (1908-1997) could boast of career highlights in virtually every genre of cinema, from comedies to dramas, westerns to thrillers.  Two of Stewart’s brightest comic moments are being recalled on a new two-for-one soundtrack release from the fine folks at Kritzerland.  Henry Mancini’s score to 20th Century Fox’s Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, from 1962, has been paired with George Duning’s score to the same studio’s Dear Brigitte (1965) for the label’s latest soundtrack release, available now for pre-order.

Henry Mancini was one of the most famous musicians on the planet when he penned the score to Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation.  A two-time Oscar winner and ten-time (!) Grammy winner, Mancini had sold over a million records with his jazzy scores for television’s Peter Gunn and Mr. Lucky and Hollywood’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, all in collaboration with director Blake Edwards.  The assignment came in a busy year for the music man.  1962 also saw Mancini compose scores for Edwards’ thriller Experiment in Terror and drama The Days of Wine and Roses, both at Warner Bros., as well as Howard Hawks’ adventure Hatari! at Paramount.  (The original soundtrack to Hatari! at long last was issued this year from the Intrada label.)  Clearly, versatility was among Mancini’s many assets.

Mr. Hobbs, directed by Henry Koster and written by Nunnally Johnson, was based on Edward Streeter’s novel and starred Stewart as a comically beleaguered bank executive who finds his vacation anything but relaxing.  Maureen O’Hara was cast as Stewart’s wife, Lauri Peters (later of The Sound of Music) played his daughter, and teen idol Fabian took the role of her boyfriend.  Mancini’s short score (about 39 minutes in length) had a great amount of source music drawing on both jazz and the youthful sound of rock-and-roll; Johnny Mercer wrote the lyric to Mancini’s melody for teen novelty “Cream Puff,” sung in the film by Fabian and Peters.

Despite a felicitous soundtrack with Mancini in bright, melodic mode, no soundtrack to Mr. Hobbs was issued at the time of its release.  The same went for Days of Wine and Roses.  Both Experiment in Terror and Hatari! received re-recordings from Mancini on his home label, RCA Victor.  Intrada premiered the original Hobbs score in 2003 as a Special Collection title.  As that edition is long out-of-print, Kritzerland is bringing the title back as part of this Jimmy Stewart two-fer.  It’s made some tweaks to the Intrada release, including a new remastering and the shifting of some source pieces to the bonus section to avoid interruption of Mancini’s dramatic scoring.  Two demos from the Intrada CD have been retained.

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation will be paired with Dear Brigitte on the new CD.  Hit the jump for details, plus the full track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 30, 2012 at 10:13