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Friday, March 03, 2006

CD REVIEW - Bell, Book and Candle/1001 Arabian Nights

Bell, Book and Candle/1001 Arabian Nights
Music by George Duning
Film Score Monthly Vol.9 No.1 (U.S.)
27 tracks 73:05 mins

Two highly tuneful and enjoyable scores by the underrated George Duning, originally released on LP by Colpix. Despite however, claims to the contrary, this is not in fact a premiere CD release for Bell, Book and Candle, as the U.K. label Harkit Records released the same recording on CD a little over a year ago. I would say however that the sound quality here is an improvement on that release.
The witchcraft comedy Bell, Book and candle was released in 1958 and starred James Stewart, Kim Novak and Jack Lemmon and received a highly tuneful score, which is represented by the first 15 tracks on this CD. The score is based on a catchy main theme, which is in turn mischievous and romantic. It gets a number of workouts, with "The Spell" being a highlight, with its mysterious, low, wordless vocal. This cue continues into "Shep Hooked," where the orchestra blossoms romantically, before taking a mischievous turn. There's a striking and unusual electronic effect that was achieved by manipulating taped sounds that appears throughout the film, but is sadly only present in "Only Human and End Title" on the album. In addition to Duning's score proper, he composed a number of jazzy source cues, which utilised the services of the Candoli Brothers on trumpet The whole package makes for very enjoyable listening indeed.
1001 Arabian Nights was a 1959 animated feature, featuring the vocal talents of Jim Backus as the bumbling, near-sighted Mr. Magoo as Aladdin's uncle no less. The score is a tuneful mixture of Arabian-styled music, both light and more serious, and jazz, evident from the beginning in the "Main Title." There follows "Magoo's Blues," which Backus recites as much as sings. A gorgeously old-fashioned love theme is introduced in "Sultan's Parade and You Are My Dream," with Ned Washington's lyrics interpreted by mixed chorus. This is given a fine instrumental workout in "You Are My Dream-Reprise." A third, catchy song, "Three Little Maids from Damascus" is performed by the Clark Sisters and interestingly; the liner notes reveal that Peggy Clark is the mother of Doug Schwartx, the mastering engineer for this CD. "Dream Ballet" is an enjoyable cue, starting off briefly comedic, but then featuring variations on the love theme - I just can't get enough of it! "Crazy Carpet" follows, all comedic action and suspense, before the score concludes with a reprise of the main thematic material in the "End Title."
Both scores are in stereo and are of course accompanied by the usual informative booklet with its always-useful cue-by-cue guide.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:12 PM  

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