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Monday, December 11, 2006

CD REVIEW - Dead Ringer

Dead Ringer
Music by Andre Previn
Film Score Monthly Vol.9 No.15 (U.S.)
21 Tracks 58:24 mins

1964's Dead Ringer was not the first time that Bette Davis had played identical twins, having already starred in 1946's A Stolen Life. In both cases the surviving twin takes the identity of the other but, unlike her first outing, this time the suriving twin has actually murdered her sister. It is therefore a much darker story, with a suitable musical accompaniment from Andre Previn, featuring a dastardly main theme for harpsichord, with horns prominent - all, I have to say, very John Williamsish, particularly his late '60s/early '70s scores, which of course is quite interesting, and shows yet another influence on the great composer's early work.
The harpsichord is quite prominent throughout Previn's score, with variations on the main theme making ferquent appearances, and there is also a "plot" theme (no, nothing like Schifrin's famous M:I theme), which is quite sinister and also features harpsichord.
The other prominent theme is a quite glorious love theme in the finest Korngold traditions, which shows Previn too was influenced. This also crops up now and then and is always welcome.
Along the way there is some dramatic and quite anguished string writing, a suitably fateful and doom-laden finale, and a number of original source cues for two-piece jazz combo.
The first 13 tracks on the disc comprise the original LP programme, with the remaining cues a mix of dramatic score and the aforementioned source cues, along with one alternate track.
As always, there is a fine accompanying booklet, with stills from the film, and Jeff Eldridge's notes on the film and its score, together with the usual cue-by-cue guide which, rather than taking the cues in the order that they appear on the disc, discusses them in film order, thus allowing one to sequence your listening experience accordingly.
To purchase your copy, go to, where you can also preview some tracks beforehand.


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