The Caine Mutiny

Retroist Scoreboard: The Caine Mutiny, A Thriller and the Tallahatchie Bridge

It’s the end of May, bills are due, the rent’s due…and there’s a whole new batch of classic soundtracks out there to make you wish the bills and the rent could take a hike for just a little while.

The ever-reliable Intrada has restored and released Max Steiner‘s classic score from the 1954 movie The Caine Mutiny, a soundtrack that has never before been released. An LP of dialogue highlights circulated briefly during the year of the movie’s release, but it contained no music – it has taken over six decades for this soundtrack to see the light of day, and The Caine Mutiny is hardly what I’d describe as an obscure movie.

The Caine Mutiny

Not only is the entire score represented on this CD, but Intrada remembered to include “I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me”, sung by May Wynn – not a single note of music has been left off.

The Caine Mutiny

[Via] Crackle UK

Moving away from The Caine Mutiny, Kritzerland Records is rolling out a classic title of its own, Michael Legrand‘s score from the 1976 cult classic Ode To Billy Joe. Just about everyone involved with the movie had the thankless task of having to retell and expand upon a story inspired by Bobbie Gentry’s hit 1967 single of the same name, which naturally cropped up in the movie as well.

[Via] Barstoneworth Town

As the composer of the movie score, Legrand had to meet the style of that song with his own music as well. The soundtrack was available on vinyl in 1976, and this is its first official CD release, limited to 1,000 copies.

Ode To Billy Joe

From time to time, I’ve mentioned limited edition releases, but the next one may well be the most limited release I’ve yet covered in the Retroist Scoreboard – the score from a 1977 Croatian miniseries about Nikola Tesla. Kronos Records is releasing only 300 copies worldwide of Alfi Kabiljo‘s score, which accompanied a dramatization of Tesla’s early life and his eventual emigration to the United States. As many are unlikely to be familiar with the series for which this music was composed, this is a real curiosity.

Nikola Tesla

Is that all? That is not all. The last title we’re covering this week will thrill you…especially if you’re a fan of vintage Jerry Goldsmith.

Thriller
Tadlow Records has released a brand new recording of highlights from Goldsmith’s scores from the early 1960s TV series Boris Karloff’s Thriller. With Nic Raine conducting the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, working from arrangements transcripted from the original written scores by Leigh Phillips, this is as close as we’re ever likely to get to the original scores. The Thriller episodes represented on the CD are “The Grim Reaper”, “Hay-Fork and Bill-Hook”, “Well of Doom”, “Mr. George”, “The Poisoner”, and “Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper”.

Great care was taken, in the new recordings, to match the arrangements and performances of the original 1960s recordings, and best of all, the reaction to this compilation of Thriller scores has been enthusiastic enough for Tadlow to begin preparations for a second volume.

That’s this week’s releases – something for everybody, especially vintage TV and movie music fans.

If your in the mood for more Humphrey Bogart, why not check out this behind the scenes shot from Casablanca?

Charlie Brown

Retroist Scoreboard 3-22-17: Charlie Brown vs. The Devil

Soundtrack fans, there are some classics both well-known and obscure out this week, music for everyone from the Devil to Snoopy. Surely somewhere, in that vast spectrum, you’ll hear something you like.

Intrada has managed to squeeze onto a single CD two scores by the late, great Leonard Rosenman (Rebel Without A Cause, A Man Called Horse, Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, Lord Of The Rings, Star Trek IV, Robocop 2), but the difference in subject matter is a bit jarring. The scores in question are from the 1975 film Race With The Devil and 1982’s romantic drama Making Love (!). Intrada points out that fans of Rosenman’s music from his two entries on the original Planet Of The Apes film cycle will enjoy Race With The Devil. If you don’t get whiplash from the transition in tone, this one’s for you. Rosenman is film music royalty who often doesn’t get his due, despite a stellar high-profile resume.

For those who don’t feel like dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight, Kritzerland Records has a real treat – complete score from 1969’s A Boy Named Charlie Brown, composed by Vince Guaraldi and John Scott Trotter with songs by Rod McKuen. Though there has been an LP release for this movie, it was a dialogue-heavy “story album”, and this CD is the first-ever release of the music without that dialogue. Only 1,000 copies are being pressed, so you may need to fly a little bit faster than Woodstock.
Charlie Brown

For fans of modern reboots of their childhood, Varese Sarabande has has Brian Tyler’s score from the new Power Rangers . Tyler’s music has graced major franchises from the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies to Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: Age Of Ultron… it’s safe to say he’s on the go-to shortlist in Hollywood for “big-screen epic”.

And now, to further your soundtrack collecting education, here’s another chunk of the glossary. When is a soundtrack not just an official release of the original recordings? Well…there are some grey areas. And some of them are expensive.

Until next week, music lovers…

The Retroist Scoreboard Glossary, part 3: rarities & oddities
Bootleg – when a soundtrack is not commercially available on CD, it’s not uncommon for someone to perceive a demand that has gone unfulfilled…and fill it. For many years, soundtracks released only on LP (i.e. Tron, The Black Hole, Silent Running) were bootlegged on CD. Bootlegs should be considered, if not an absolute no-no, then an absolute last resort: proceeds from bootleg sales line the pockets of individuals who happened to own an old LP, with none of the proceeds going to the composers, the studios, or the musicians who brought the music life with their performances. Keeping an eye on the bootleg market, however, has provided the soundtrack labels with something of an indicator for which releases are desired: the three examples above have all since received official reissues, two of them vastly expanded. In this collector’s opinion, if an official reissue of a title is released, even if you’ve bought a bootleg along the way, it’s only proper to buy the official reissue. (In many cases, the sound quality will be vastly superior to the bootleg.)

Composer Promo – in the days before digital music could be embedded into a web site, composers seeking future work would ship out composer promo CDs to producers, directors, and studios’ heads of music. These were not intended for public distribution (but hold that thought for a moment), and as such were not officially licensed by the studios in question. To defray the costs of having custom CDs pressed, composers would sometimes quietly look the other way while the pressing plant sold a very, very limited number of copies directly into the soundtrack collectors’ market (and would likely deny all knowledge if a studio lawyer came calling). In the 1990s, one such operation, Super Tracks, was particularly brazen about selling composer promos of titles such as Krull and Galaxy Quest, eventually disappearing in one legal dust-up too many; studio lawyers often regarded composer promos as no better than bootlegs. A close cousin of composer promos is the private-label release, intentionally created for sale to collectors. With the advent of streaming audio from composers’ professional web sites, actual composer promo CDs and their attendant legal issues have all but vanished.

Private Label Release – some composers have decided to cut out the middle man and have small runs of their scores pressed for sale directly to fans and collectors (such as John Scott’s marvelous score from The Final Countdown, or the many soundtracks released by the late Joel Goldsmith’s Free Clyde label, named after his dog). These may be subject to the same licensing and quality issues as composer promos, and can suddenly go “out of print” for that reason, but are intended from the outset for public sale. For some lesser-known composers and their even-lesser-known scores, this may be the only way to obtain the material. In some rare cases (i.e. Dennis McCarthy’s score from the PC game Star Trek: Borg), a private label release will quietly go out of print and get a fully licensed official CD release on one of the soundtrack labels.

Rerecording – a from-the-ground-up reconstruction and new recording of a score, usually using the original sheet music and the composer’s original notes, along with extensive notation on the part of whoever is behind the new recording. This is a dirty word for some collectors, as what they’re getting is not the original recording, and may differ in terms of tempo/timing, performance or instrument quality (up to and including recreating orchestral recordings entirely with synthesizers – see also the wide spread of opinions about including dialogue in soundtrack releases, and magnify that controversy by a thousand). One thing to keep in mind: there are, sadly, many cases where original session recordings have vanished or have been damaged beyond the ability to restore them, meaning that rerecordings are the only way we can listen to those scores now (example: John Barry’s Raise The Titanic!).