Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Sunday, June 11, 2006

CD REVIEW - The Wrong Man

The Wrong Man
Music by Bernard Herrmann
Film Score Monthly Vol.9 No.7
28 Tracks 41:30 mins

I have to say right from the outset, if I haven't already said it before, that although I rightly consider Bernard Herrmann one of the finest composers of film scores who ever lived, I just find much of his music, whilst perfectly supporting the images it was composed for, dull and boring on record. This is certainly the case here with this neglected entry in his fruitful collaboration with director Alfred Hitchcock.
Mind you, the film was a strange choice for the director, who also approached it in an untypical naturalistic way, with Herrmann obviously urged to do follow the same approach with the score.
Henry Fonda's wrongly accused character is a double bass player in a club, which affords the composer the opportunity to write a couple of source dance cues, that cleverly double up as underscore, and the quirky "Prelude" is probably the most accessible music on the disc. The character's double bass in fact becomes something of an extra player in the score, as much of the gloomy music that makes up the first half of the CD finds bass a constant element, supporting the composer's brass, flutes and woodwinds (in typical fashion, Herrmann chooses to omit strings altogether from his score - save for the bass). Things do improve a little with the lyrical "Bob" and the addition of harp gives later cues some motion. As the story winds down, Herrmann uses oboe to voice the tragic unhinging of Fonda's character Manny's wife Rose, culminating with the "Finale," though this does manage to end on an optimistic note just to send the audience home happy.
The film's trailer music is included in a couple of bonus tracks, added at the end of the disc, with the package being completed with the usual detailed booklet, featuring Christopher Husted's detailed notes on the film and its music, together with a cue-by-cue guide.
It's good that this overlooked score in the Hitchcock/Herrmann partnership is finally available, but if you're expecting another Psycho, North By Northwest or Vertigo, you'll be in for a disappointment.


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