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As the Globe Turns: Universal Adds Classic, Possibly Rare, Soundtrack Material to Blu-Ray Box Set

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In 1912, an ex-dry goods merchant and owner of the nascent Independent Moving Pictures (IMP) studio stood in a New York office with five other movie moguls and made history.

These six men, organized by IMP founder Carl Laemmle, were keen to merge their businesses with an eye toward the growing big business of moviemaking. As they struggled for a title for their venture, Laemmle allegedly saw a wagon zip by on the street below with a grandiose name: “Universal Pipe Fitters.” Turning back to the window, he announced the venture would be named Universal, an apt name for the magnitude of what they wanted to accomplish.

A century later, Universal is one of the biggest entertainment corporations in the world and the longest-running American film company. Dozens of their blockbuster films sit toward the top of the all-time box office lists, and their bi-coastal studio backlot/theme parks in Los Angeles and Orlando are prime vacation destinations. For film fans, Universal has been keen to celebrate their 100th anniversary this year, releasing not only stunning restorations of classic films on Blu-Ray (JAWS hit shops last week, with boxes devoted to Alfred Hitchcock and Universal Studios Monsters due in the next few months along with the hi-def debut of Second Disc favorite E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) but at least one classic soundtrack in the form of the premiere release of Henry Mancini’s original film score to the classic Charade.

On November 6, the studio will release their biggest box set yet – a collection of 25 of their most classic films with value-added bonus content. But soundtrack enthusiasts will want to keep an eye on this package for the possibility of exceptionally rare film music. We explain all after the jump.

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Johnny Mathis, Alfred Newman and Basil Poledouris Coming Soon From La-La Land

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Let’s hope all of you film score fans out there have been saving your pennies!  On Monday, Kritzerland will unveil its latest classic soundtrack release (watch this very space for that news!) and the very next day, La-La Land continues the musical bonanza with two unique offerings.

Jean Neguelsco’s 1958 film A Certain Smile starred Rosanno Brazzi (South Pacific) and Joan Fontaine (Rebecca).  Adding to the luster, the soundtrack to the 20th Century Fox drama about a middle-aged man’s affair with a young student was composed by the dean of film scoring, Alfred Newman.  La-La Land’s 2-CD restoration of A Certain Smile marks the label’s first major foray into the Golden Age in quite a while, and the folks there are promising future offerings from Dmitri Tiomkin and Franz Waxman, among others, will follow.  A Certain Smile has been issued with the cooperation of both 20th Century Fox and Sony Music; Disc 1 features the expanded film score derived, and restored, from 35mm film at Fox. Disc 2 is the original LP master, remastered from the original 1/2 tapes stored in New York at Sony Music.  It includes the memorable, Academy Award-nominated title track written by Paul Francis Webster and Sammy Fain, and performed in the film by the one and only Mr. Johnny Mathis. Nick Redman (who provided the notes for Kritzerland’s astounding reissue of Hugo Friedhofer’s score to One-Eyed Jacks) has produced the first disc while Didier C. Deutsch and Mark Wilder produced Disc 2.  Wilder (currently doing an exceptional job remastering the CTI catalogue) also handled the remastering chores for that disc, while Dan Hersch (a name familiar to Rhino aficionados) tackled Disc 1.   Julie Kirgo provides in depth notes on the score and the film itself in a 20-page booklet.  A Certain Smile is a limited edition of 2,500 units.

Hit the jump and you’ll find yourself spellboundRead the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 12, 2011 at 09:13