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Monday, March 10, 2008


Dark of the Sun
Music by Jacques Loussier
Film Score Monthly Vol.10 No.18 (US)
27 Tracks 67:03 mins

Jack Cardiff's 1968 film is an action-adventure, set against the troubles in Congo in 1964, and stars Rod Taylor, Jim Brown and Yvette Mimieux. The film was apparently considered too violent in its original form and appeared in a much cut version. It is sad that, in these days of director's cut DVDs, the original version is yet to surface, as I imagine it would be considered rather tame by today's standards.
As a result of these cuts, obviously much of the music score, as originally conceived, was similarly lost, and originally score exercepts totalling less than 30 minutes were released, most recently by Chapter III Records, coupled with Ennio Morricone's LP program for Guns for San Sebastian (also now available in expanded form from FSM). This much expanded release more than doubles that playing time, featuring the complete score, less one lost track, and includes alternative cues, an album edit of the main theme and native source cues, all in improved sound.
Jacques Loussier is mostly known outside his native France for his jazz performances, but he in fact wrote many a score for French TV productions, work which brought him to the attention of the film's director. Loussier didn't work much in Hollywood subsequently, but continued to score French productions through the subsequent decades. His music for Dark of the Sun is jazz-influenced as one would expect, and very much of the '60s; moving often to a kind of "ticking" motif, presented in varying tempos, depending on the occasion, which can become a little irritating after a while, but propels the music well enough, and the questing "Main Theme," which starts quite low-key, opens out melodically on strings.
The subsequent score is anything but standard Hollywood fare, and is quite quirky at times. It features a morose theme for the Mimieux character, and a number of source cues. It is at its best in exciting action moments, like "The Mercenaries," as well as when the main theme is reprised, sometimes quite delicately on flute.
As always, the accompanying booklet is packed with stills and artwork from the film, together with detailed notes and cue-by cue guide, courtesy of Didier C. Deutsch, Alexander Kaplan and Lukas Kendall.
Go to for more details, sound samples and to purchase your copy.


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