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Monday, January 28, 2008


High Noon
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Screen Archives SAE-CRS-018 (US)
33 Tracks 61:43 mins

Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Screen Archives SAE-CRS-017 (US)
31 Tracks 57:14 mins

More than fifty years after the film's release, Screen Archives Entertainment has done us all a huge favour in releasing Dimitri Tiomkin's original tracks for the classic 1952 western High Noon, which features a very commendable performance by an ailing Gary Cooper, but really owes its success as much as anything to Tiomkin's music, which drove the narrative and which rightfully earned the composer Oscars for both score and song. For it is the title song that dominates the score, written with regular collaborator Ned Washington and sung in the film by veteran cowboy star and singer Tex Ritter, the composer basing almost the entire score on that number, manipulating it instrumentally to provide all the tension and drama that the film may have been lacking, with Ritter reprising it vocally on a couple of occasions as well.
Thankfully, the composer kept a complete set of the score recordings and these acetates provided the materials for Chelsea Rialto Studios to work with, resulting in very, very good sound quality.
Accompanying the disc is the label's usual detailed booklet, which features stills from the film, fascinating behind-the-scenes shots, extensive notes on the film and score, plus the invaluable cue-by-cue guide to the music.
This simply is a must-have release for all film music historians and admirers alike. Now, if it were only possible for the label to release Gunfight at the OK Corral, another great Tiomkin score with a song as narrative, this time featuring the vocal talents of Frankie Laine, who of course had the commercial hit with "High Noon," I would really be in film score heaven.

1950's D.O.A. is largely considered to be a classic of the film noir school and stars Edmond O'Brien as a man doomed to slow death by poison, who recounts to the police the events leading up to his impending demise. Dimitri Tiomkin is known largely for his brash and busy music, often overblown and melodramatic and this score is no exception, with plenty of loud, brassy dramatics, but also sporting a gorgeous love theme that is also played to the hilt, and some tuneful source music to boot.
Again, drawn from the composer's private collection, Chelsea Rialto have done their best, but the sound isn't quite so perfect as High Noon, with a little surface noise here and there, but it's still remarkable and a must for all Tiomkin fans.
The accompanying booklet is of the same high standard as all the label's releases, with plenty of stills and behind-the-scenes shots again, detailed notes on the film and score and cue-by-cue guide.
For further information, samples and to order your copies of these important historical recordings, go to


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