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

Thursday, December 24, 2009


First up, let me wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. Now on with the latest:-

Music by John Dankworth
Harkit Records HRKCD 8027
11 Tracks 32:52 mins

The swinging '60s were rife with spy movies, some straight, some more light-hearted, but most of them containing good, catchy jazz-pop music; whether it be for the likes of Flint, Matt Helm and those Men from U.N.C.L.E. in the States, or for the numerous Italian offerings. Some of them even spanned the oceans, like Sebastian, with its largely British cast and music by American Jerry Goldsmith, and 1967's Fathom, looking to cash in on the popularity of the statuesque beauty Raquel Welch, supported by well-loved British faces like Ronald Fraser, Richard Briers and Clive Revill, as well as fellow American Anthony Franciosa.
The music for the film was provided by John Dankworth, who had provided similar fare for the previous year's Modesty Blaise, another genre entry. Dankworth's score favours the lounge-style approach, largely favoured by the Italians, and his very catchy main theme gets a good many outings and variations throughout the course of the score, which was previously available on LP, but here receives a straight transfer to CD for its premiere in that format. And, whilst this makes for quite a brief listening experience (around 30-35 minutes was the normal running time for albums of the period), the score never outstays its welcome as a result.
Dankworth's main theme gets an initially dreamy performance, complete with wordless vocalists in the opening track, "Fathom's Theme," seguing into a lovely, airy strings variation, as Miss Welch skydives onto the screen. The uptempo mover "Jump to the Villa" follows, reminding one more of the kind of travelling music John Barry was coming up for in the Bond franchise, or maybe Barry Gray in the Gerry Anderson series.
"Bossa Palma Nova" does what it says on the tin, with wordless vocals again leading the way in a source cue that could have come from any number of Italian movies of the time. "Horseback Ride" moves along easily and comes pretty close to a theme from Thunderbirds. "Bullring" is the most dramatic track so far; a mix of tension and rather jazzy sax-lead action, reminding somewhat of Edwin Astley's work. The dreamy opening choral version of the main theme returns for "Fathom's Arrival," but this time with lyrics, before becoming an easy-going piece of jazzy travelling music. The main theme goes from a dark arrangement for "Tango Sinister," to a much lighter, easy-going version for "The Merriwether Affair," though even this has sinister undertones.
The conflict of "Chorale to a Scuba-Diver" finds wordless choir starting out subdued and barely audible before increasing in volume to accompany the action, which continues into "Vacation Chase," before giving way to more easy-going fare; with the final cue, "Happy Landings" bringing any conflict to a climax, with the main theme returning gloriously to close, including a final reprise of the lyrics.
Accompanying the disc is the usual splendid and colourful booklet from Harkit, with detailed notes on the film and a profile of its composer, in English and Japanese.
Order your copy of this delightful album from, where you can first hear samples if you need persuading further.


Post a Comment

<< Home