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That Was “Laura”: Classic Soundtrack Arrives on CD as Film Debuts on Blu-ray

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Laura OSTGoodbye, Laura.  Goodbye, my love…

Director Otto Preminger’s 1944 film Laura remains one of the film noir dramas against which all others will be measured, the rare picture that transcended its troubled behind-the-scenes production to become an all-time classic.  All the elements came together, from the cast (Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Prince, Judith Anderson) to the screenplay by Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein, and Elizabeth Reinhardt (based on Vera Caspary’s novel) to, memorably, the score by David Raksin.   The Academy Award-winning film makes it Blu-ray debut today, February 5, from 20th Century Fox, and Kritzerland is marking the occasion with the first-ever release of the complete score to Laura.

Laura was one of the earliest scores penned by Philadelphia-born David Raksin, who began his film career assisting Charlie Chaplin with the music of Modern Times.  Raksin’s monothematic score was built around his haunting melody that, in 1945, became the song “Laura” with lyrics by Johnny Mercer.  “Laura” is said to be one of the most-recorded popular songs in history, with recordings having been made by everybody from Frank Sinatra to Seth MacFarlane (!).  Raksin found the perfect musical expression for the story of beautiful Laura Hunt (Tierney), whose murder is being investigated by detective Mark McPherson (Andrews).  Clifton Webb, as the foppish newspaper columnist Waldo Lydecker, has many of the film’s best bon mots: “I should be sincerely sorry to see my neighbor’s children devoured by wolves” or “I don’t use a pen; I write with a goose quill dipped in venom.”  Following numerous twists and turns in the plot, Webb utters the famous farewell, “Goodbye, Laura.  Goodbye, my love…”

Kritzerland’s edition differs from all past releases of the score to Laura.  Hit the jump for all of the details as well as for order links!

To coincide with the first-time Blu-ray release, Kritzerland is presenting David Raksin’s complete, original score to Laura on CD, conducted by the great Alfred Newman.  The most recent authorized CD issue, from Fox Music in 1993, presented the music of Laura as one 27-minute suite.  It lacked separate tracks and actually excluded some ten minutes of cues.  That suite was sourced from a reel-to-reel tape, but this new release has utilized the original elements.  In addition, the score is finally presented as separate cues.  As bonus tracks, Kritzerland has included the 27-minute suite plus test demos.

This remarkable excavation of a legendary score is limited to 1,000 units only.  CDs are scheduled to ship the second week in March, but pre-orders from the label usually ship one to five weeks prior to the announced date.  You can order the soundtrack to Laura, as well as the new Blu-ray, at the links below!

David Raksin, Laura: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1944) (Kritzerland, 2013) (Amazon link to original film on Blu-ray)

  1. Main Title
  2. The Phonograph
  3. The Café
  4. Waldo Walks Away
  5. Theatre Lobby
  6. Night
  7. The Café/Waldo’s Apartment
  8. Laura Leaves
  9. The Portrait
  10. Mark
  11. Apartment House
  12. Radio
  13. The Party
  14. Outside Waldo’s Door
  15. Waldo
  16. End Title
  17. Laura’s Theme – Test Demos
  18. The Laura Suite – Theme and Variations (originally included on Fox Music CD 07822 11006 2, 1993)

Written by Joe Marchese

February 5, 2013 at 10:19

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