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Kritzerland’s Got the Action with “Butch and Sundance” and Vintage Dean Martin Comedy

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Butch and SundanceKritzerland has just announced its first releases for 2013, and these two rare soundtracks, both of which are making their CD debuts, couldn’t be more different: George Duning’s Who’s Got the Action? and Patrick Williams’ Butch and Sundance: The Early Days.

Almost ten years after the runaway success of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 20th Century Fox realized its hopes for a follow-up film with Butch and Sundance: The Early Days.  At the conclusion of the first film, though, raindrops weren’t just falling on the titular anti-heroes’ heads: Butch and Sundance were mowed down in a blaze of gunfire.  Hollywood’s solution, then, was to release a prequel film; in fact, some have suggested that Butch and Sundance was the first film to use the term “prequel.”  Director George Roy Hill didn’t return, and Richard Lester (A Hard Day’s Night, Robin and Marian) took the directorial reins.  Screenwriter William Goldman, who picked up an Oscar for his work on the original film, did return for the prequel as an executive producer and co-writer with Allan Burns (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant).  Joining Hill among the absent, however, was Burt Bacharach, who won two Oscars for his work on Butch Cassidy.  Burns enlisted frequent collaborator Patrick Williams to provide the score.  An accomplished composer and arranger, Williams’ credits included Mary Tyler Moore, The Bob Newhart Show, and the 1978 film Breaking Away, for which he received an Oscar nomination.  To fill the shoes of Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Tom Berenger and William Katt were enlisted.  Familiar faces like Peter Weller, John Schuck, Brian Dennehy and Christopher Lloyd rounded out the cast.  Williams wisely didn’t try to emulate Bacharach’s style for his score, but in the words of reissue producer Bruce Kimmel, he composed “an eclectic score – playful, beautiful, filled with adventure and bravado, tenderness, and gorgeous melodic themes. It works perfectly in the film, complementing the visuals, the comedy, and the drama, a real old-fashioned honest-to-goodness film score by a master composer.”

Williams recorded virtually all of his score for Butch and Sundance: The Early Days twice. Some cues remained exactly the same in both orchestration and writing, while others had slight variations in orchestration and timing.  Still other cues had very different musical material. Kritzerland’s expanded edition offers the entire score as used in the film (plus one unused cue), plus a bonus section.  The bonus tracks present the original versions of cues where they differed from the re-recorded cues.   Butch and Sundance: The Early Days is limited to 1,000 copies, and is set for release the last week of February, though pre-orders directly from the label usually arrive an average of four weeks’ early.

After the jump: Who’s Got the Action?  We’ve got the answer, plus track listings and pre-order links for both titles.

Who's Got the ActionWhen considering his rich legacy as an entertainer, the prolific film career of Dean Martin has often taken a backseat to that of his musical career.  Kritzerland could practically create a “Dino Series,” however, for the label has also recently released Andre Previn’s score to All in a Night’s Work (1962) and Franz Waxman’s for Career (1959).  These soundtracks are being joined by the world premiere release of the score for 1962’s Who’s Got the Action?, penned by George Duning (3:10 to Yuma, Star Trek).

Action was one of Dino’s most delightful Paramount romps.  He starred opposite Lana Turner and fronted a cast also including Walter Matthau and Paul Ford.  Martin’s Steve Flood is suspected of infidelity by his wife Melanie (Turner) but Melanie soon realizes that Steve has a different problem: gambling.  Soon enough, Steve and Melanie are caught in a web involving bookies, judges and gangsters; comic entanglements and some surprising revelations.  Producer Bruce Kimmel writes of the film, “No frothy and fizzy comedy can succeed without a frothy and fizzy score, and Who’s Got the Action? has a great one by a man who truly understood how to score a frothy and fizzy comedy – George Duning. Duning wrote instantly memorable themes and Who’s Got the Action? is full of them. Duning’s main theme uses a five-note motif that matches the syllables of ‘Who’s Got the Action?’ and it sets the tone for the rest of the score, which is quirky, lushly romantic, effervescent, and just plain memorable.”

Though Martin’s pop recording of the Duning/Jack Brooks title song couldn’t be included, this first-ever release of the score includes all of the music as it is heard in the film. The tracks are primarily in stereo, but five of the film’s twenty cues existed in mono only on the music stem and are therefore presented in mono.  As a bonus, Kritzerland has also appended a demo version of the title song, and a couple of classical cues used as source music.  (Trivia: While writing at Paramount’s music publishing arm, Famous Music, Burt Bacharach and Bob Hilliard also wrote an “exploitation song” for the film.  Their song “Who’s Got the Action?” was eventually recorded by Phil Colbert in 1965.)

Like Butch and Sundance, Who’s Got the Action? is limited to 1,000 units, and is scheduled for release the last week of February, though pre-orders directly from the label usually arrive an average of four weeks’ early.  You can order both titles below!

George Duning, Who’s Got the Action?: Music from the Motion Picture (Kritzerland KR-20024-3, 2013)

  1. Main Title
  2. Roza
  3. Good Morning, Mr. Flood
  4. Alimony Bridge
  5. Uncles Are Aunts/Soft Soap
  6. Saturday Knight
  7. Blue Eyes
  8. Bright Idea/Incense and Saki
  9. Japanese Record
  10. Passing the Scratch
  11. Clutch in Dutch
  12. Empty Spaces
  13. Maharajah Wins/Smooth Smooching
  14. Shaky Clutch/Bookie Blues
  15. Zoomar
  16. Hoodwink Bridge/The Final Faint
  17. Matinee Madness/No Excuse
  18. The Culprit
  19. Alibi/Bridal Brisket
  20. Bastille Day/Finale
  21. Who’s Got the Action? (Vocal – Demo)
  22. La Scala
  23. La Scala No. 1
  24. Piano Trio No. 7 in B Flat Major – Excerpt (Beethoven)
  25. Hungarian Dance No. 5 in F Sharp Minor (Brahms)

All tracks previously unreleased

Patrick Williams, Butch and Sundance: The Early Days (Kritzerland KR 20024-6, 2013)

  1. Main Title
  2. Lefores/Empty Rocks/Butch Goes Back
  3. Rustlers
  4. The Friendship Starts (Original Version – Unused)
  5. The Intruder
  6. Back in Business
  7. We Did It
  8. Have a Nice Day
  9. Ski Montage
  10. Butch Gets the Fever
  11. Spring Time Talk
  12. Sundance Bleeds/The Burning
  13. Mary’s Theme
  14. The Arrival
  15. The Parting
  16. O.C. Dies
  17. Mike’s Mission/The Search Continues/Mike Sings/Lefores Closes
  18. The Really Big Train Robbery – Part I
  19. The Really Big Train Robbery – Part II
  20. The Really Big Train Robbery – Part III
  21. The Final Victory (End Credits)
  22. Main Title – Irish Air
  23. Empty Rocks
  24. Sundance Finds the Handle (replaced by “We Did It”)
  25. Back in Business
  26. Back in Business (First Revised Version)
  27. A Tender Moment
  28. Mike’s Mission
  29. Too Late
  30. End Credits

Tracks 1-21 are original film score, Tracks 22-30 are bonus tracks
Portions previously released on Columbia (Japan) SX 7012, 1979

Written by Joe Marchese

January 22, 2013 at 09:54

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