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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

CD REVIEW - The Long, Long Trailer/Forever, Darling

The Long, Long Trailer/Forever, Darling
Music by Adolph Deutsch/Music by Bronislau Kaper
Film Score Monthly Vol.10 No.3 (US)
31 Tracks 79:46 mins

Today's younger generation will have little or no idea just how popular American comedienne Lucille Ball was in the '50s and early '60s, initially with her husband Desi Arnaz, and then on her own after their breakup. They were literally the queen and prince consort of the small screen, both in America and in here too, where I remember the show always being on when I was very young. With their success on TV, Lucy turned her attention back to the silver screen, where she had failed to make an impression in numerous films of the '30s and '40s.
The couple's first foray was in 1954 for The Long, Long Trailer, which saw them as a honeymoon couple hitting the open road. The score was provided by Adolph Deutsch, a London-born composer in Hollywood who, though he did manage to score a couple of classics in his time (The maltese Falcon and High Sierra), never really ascended to composer royalty. His score for The Long, Long Trailer is quite sparse and features several source cues for the scenes before and immediately following the wedding ceremony, all of them very enjoyable, featuring various band combinations. But the heart of the score is provided by the wonderfully carefree song "Breezin' Along With The Breeze," written in 1926 byHaven Gillespie, Seymour Simons and Richard Whiting. After the opening triumphant instrumental version in the "Main Title," Deutsch sprinkles variations on the song throughout his underscore, which is suitably slapsticky when required, but also quite romantic; and Lucy and Desi get to sing it as their road trip begins.
Desi also gets to sing over the longest musical sequence in the film, that surrounding Lucy's efforts to cook in the trailer.
For 1956's Forever, Darling, in which James Mason appears as an angel attempting to save our couple's marriage, a composer at the top of his game was assigned. Bronislau Kaper was coming off of his delightful score for The Glass Slipper, with The Swan yet to follow. Not only was he a conummate composer, but also a writer of great song tunes and "Forever, Darling," with lyrics by the great Sammy Cahn, whose witty performances on the Michael Parkinson chat show used to delight me in the '70s. It's one of those songs that once heard stays with you for an age, and is first heard over the "Main Title," sung by The Ames Brothers. Again, Kaper weaves the song throughout his subsequent underscore, which also has more than its share of slapsticky and romantic moments. But there is also a quite eerie, shimmering theme for Mason's appearances, and with his intentions not initially clear to Lucy's character, the music takes on quite menacing proportions. An interesting track is where the couple go to the cinema and witness a film where Mason is lead actor (apparently his angelic image is created by Lucy's mind - he may well appear as Brad Pitt or George Clooney should there be a modern-day remake!). As quite a departure from the rest of his score, Kaper provides a suitably exotic and adventurous score for the African-set movie. The Ames Brothers return at the end of the score to put their satisfying stamp on affairs.
Four bonus tracks at the end of the disc present firstly, a sparkling "Outtakes Suite" from Forever, Darling, mostly featuring the song in instrumental variations, but The Ames Brothers do again briefly appear. Then there is the single version of the song, performed by Desi and His Orchestra, together with the "B" side, the optimistic and enjoyable "The Straw Hat Song;" and finally, a full orchestral version of the "Breezin' Along With The Breeze" sequence featuring Lucy and Desi, as opposed to the more scaled down version that appears earlier in the disc.
As always, there is a colourful accompanying booklet, with plenty of stills from the films, together with album producer Lukas Kendall's notes and cue-by-cue guide.
I have to admit that when I first heard that this disc was to be released, I thought it a strange choice, but my doubts were soon put aside on playing it. These are delightful scores indeed and well worth preserving, so full marks again to Lukas and his associates for putting them out there.
For further information and to listen to sound clips, go to


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