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Monday, February 04, 2008

CD REVIEW - THE INTRUDER (and other music by Herman Stein)

The Intruder (and other music by Herman Stein)
Monstrous Movie Music MMM-1956 (US)
45 Tracks 52:09 mins

The Monstrous Movie Music label has long been renowned for its fine re-recordings of music from the fantasy/horror genre of the '40s, '50s and '60s. Now, it has released its first two archival recordings, The Blob (and other creepy sounds) and The Intruder (and other music by Herman Stein). I'll be reviewing the former shortly but, in the meantime, I'm concentrating on the Herman Stein compilation, which features the complete score for 1961's The Intruder, starring a young William Shatner in a tale of rascism in a small town. Composed for an unusual orchestral combination, which omits violins and has high notes played by violas, trumpets and woodwinds, the kind of set-up Bernard Herrmann might have chosen, Stein's score, rather than echo that great composer, actually reminds me more of Mikos Rozsa in its dramatic moments, with a touch of the Star Trek original series music thrown in. Within the 28-minute score, is included three source jazz pieces, played by a small combo, including the likes of Benny Carter and Buddy Collette, with some of this jazz influence trickling into the score to give it a Rebel Without a Cause feel.
Also on this disc is Stein's complete score (of just under 7 minutes) for the 1951 industrial short Career for Two, a much lighter, breezy and whimsical score, which shows a completely different side to the composer.
Rounding out the CD are a few "miscellaneous pieces" including a new premiere recording, featuring pianist Brian Farrell, of Suite for Mario, written in 1949, whilst the composer was studying with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco; as well as some unused score tracks, written in the '50s, and the Pumpernickel Polka, heard in 1954's Magnificent Obsession, which was of course otherwise scored by Frank Skinner.
As with all the label's releases, the illustrated accompanying foldout booklet is crammed with information on the films and their composer, together with an invaluable cue-by-cue guide. For further details, to listen to samples, and to ultimately order your copy, visit


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