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

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Music by Carlo Rustichelli
Digitmovies CDDM123 (Italy)
36 Tracks 73:20 mins

It has been some months since I had the pleasure of reviewing a Digitmovies release, and I was sorry to hear of the problems they have had in getting product to their reviewers, problems that I hope are now firmly behind them. I may never know what other gems I may have missed on reviewing for you, but at least I now have a half a dozen titles to bring to your attention, and I thought a good place to start was with this 1959 score by one of Italy's most renowned film composers Carlo Rustichelli.
I first must say however that the overall sound quality of this release is not up to the label's usual standards, simply because the original masters have long since disappeared and the only tapes available have deteriorated considerably over time. It is however a score well worth preserving, in any form, and it's great to finally have the music available for this Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia film, with Victor Mature in the title role of the legendary Carthagian general, famous for leading his conquering army, elephants and all over the Alps. Interestingly, the film also features early appearances by a pair of actors who were to become a popular teaming in much later films, known then by the names of Terence Hill and Bud Spencer.
Rustichelli's score has no track titles, so I will guide you only by their number on the disc, which commences with the stirring main title march, which is taken at a sprightly tempo. This theme is to appear in variations throughout the subsequent score; including a slow, trudging version in track 2; and a sturdy, triumphant variation for male choir in track 4; receiving also an impressive and boisterous variant, including brassy fanfare and drums, in track 11, which is further developed in track 14. Another, all-conquering march is introduced in track 22, representing the opposing Roman forces. The score also features a good deal of dramatic, brassy and exciting action writing, as one would expect, and a little suspense here and there; but in between there are quieter and even pastoral moments, some on the subdued, melancholy side, but many featuring a very nice love theme for Hannibal and Sylvia, often voiced by either strings or alto sax, which makes its first appearance in track 6.
The finale opens with a brief, subdued quote of the love theme, before the march enters, again initially subdued, but building to its full glory.
Following the main programme, four very interesting unused alternate tracks close the disc, including an almost Elmer Bernsteinish, western-styled variation on the main theme, complete with typical Hollywood Indian drums; a light and comedic variation on the same theme, with a thinly disguised "The Girl I Left Behind Me" at its opening; a pacy exotic dance variation on the love theme; and a suite of battle music.
As always, the disc is accompanied by a colourful booklet, with stills and artwork from the film, principal cast and credits, and Claudio Fuiano & Stefan Schlegel's introductory notes.
Go to for details of all this enterprising label's releases.


Post a Comment

<< Home