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

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

CD REVIEW - The Razor's Edge

The Razor's Edge
Music by Alfred Newman
Screen Archives SAE-CRS-015 (U.S.)
28 Tracks 63:37 mins

This latest offering in a wonderful series of archival recordings from Screen Archives is Alfred Newman's score for the 1944 drama The Razor's Edge.
I am very partial to the Alfred Newman sound of this period, achieved with the help of an extremely talented orchestra at Twentieth Cenury-Fox, and if you like Newman's score for the likes of The Song of Bernadette, one of my personal favourites, you're sure to enjoy his original scoring for this handsome production, based on the book by W. Somerset Maugham, and starring Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney and Anne Baxter.
The score opens with Newman's handsome "Main Title" theme, which is to feature strongly, along with another theme in the two lengthy tracks "Larry Travels to the East" and "The Mountain Road." This is music that is inspirational and spirtual and is very much the heart of the score. The other theme of note is the somewhat doomed love theme for the Power and Tierney characters, Larry and Isabel, which crops up from time to time, particularly passionate in "Night Clubbing" and going through the gamut of emotions in the concluding "After Elliott's Death" and "Finale."
Whilst Newman's score is indeed excellent, you should however be aware that there is a good deal of source music on this CD, required for the various party, cafe and restaurant scenes. Some of this music consists of arrangements of popular songs of the time, and there are original pieces by Newman, including some nice waltz music. Even director Edmund Goulding chips in with a few numbers. Goulding, like Charles Chaplin, was what is known as a "hummer," coming up with very worthy melodies, which were then arranged by their respective composers. It's all very listenable, but sometimes Newman's original scoring has to share track time with this music, so if it's just the score you're interested in you may find it a little frustrating having to search some tracks for it.
Excellent though the CD is, with fine stereo sound for its age, the accompanying booklet is almost worth the price alone. Lavishly illustrated, its 36 pages tell you just about everything you could want to know about the film and its music, the excellent notes being penned by Rudy Behlmer and Jon Burlingame, and there is even a cue-by-cue guide. I can't wait to see what the label's next rescued gem from the Golden Age of Hollywood will be.


Post a Comment

<< Home