EMMANUELLE 4/S.A.S. À SAN SALVADOR – Michel Magne
Original Review by Craig Lysy
The original Emmanuelle (1974) was adapted from the novel by Emanuelle Arsan. It proved to be a box office sensation, which spawned a franchise. Director Francis Leroi, well known for his work with erotica, took up the Opus 4 story line with an added twist. Sylvia (Sylvia Kristen) is desperately trying to escape from her former lover Marc, and so she goes to Brazil where renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Santamo transforms her into the beautiful Emmanuelle. Her new more youthful identity now played by Mia Nygren potentiates a profound sexual awakening, which is complicated by her memories of Marc. It suffices to say that the plot offers unexpected plot twists, which provide multiple opportunities to fully explore the characters.
Pierre Bachelet, Francis Lai and Serge Gainsbourg had respectively scored the first three films of the franchise. Michel Magne, well known for his neo-romantic style was a natural choice for the film. Like his predecessors, he infused his writing with a modern romanticism and provided a number of beautiful songs. You will notice immediately how Magne provides a rich musical palate, which spans from the chaotic, to the playful, to the sensual erotic.
We open with the song “Oh My Belle Emmanuelle” sung by David Rose. This lyrical romantic piece is emoted with the cadence of a slow dance with an inescapable 80’s sensibility. Next up is a score highlight “La Pampa”, a wonderful cue that graces us with a beautiful duet of guitars. I must say that this is a most complex and dichotomous cue, which provides both a light and care free ambiance but also an undercurrent of sadness, perfectly reflecting the conflicted Emmanuelle. The guitar work here is just exquisite! In “Vival-dit-Emmanuelle” we shift gears to a most unexpected and beautiful piece emoted in a classical Baroque style. The melodic line flows with the typical ornate and structured cadence of the Baroque era and ends with a wonderful flourish.
“Divina Emanuela” is a classic Brazilian infused song sung by Nazaré Pereira. Sensual strings, rhythmic samba maracas, animal sounds and exotic percussion carry the Latin melodic line as a dance that just proves irresistible! Ole! We shift dramatically with “Le pendule” into a tension cue propelled by a synth ostinato, pizzicato strings and twinkling piano runs, which dance with wild abandon. In “Fantasme d’Emmanuelle” we switch to jazz mode, opening with virtuoso soprano saxophone carrying the melodic line supported by animal calls, exotic jungle like drum percussion and rhythms. There is an alluring primal feline texture to this piece that is mesmerizing. “La bergerie” sustains the jazz ambiance with an alto saxophone now carrying the melodic line, now tinged with sadness. Strummed bass provides the rhythmic pacing as synth chords add texture and color.
“Bach-anal” features the famous lesbian love scene and is performed as a wordless song sung by Christiane Legrand. The animated and jazz infused melodic line is carried by funky electric piano, strummed bass, virtuoso traverse flute with organic percussion textures. Legrand’s wordless singing runs the scales to and fro providing playfulness and a wonderful lightness of being. This really is a fine example of how jazz and voice can achieve a beautiful synergy! “Brésil My Love” restores the tropical Brazilian ambiance with guitar supported by strummed bass, animal calls and a multiplicity of exotic organic percussive textures. What a fun cue!
“Fuite d’Emmanuelle” takes on a classic lyrical 80’s rock sound as violins flow over a steady drumbeat supported by plucked bass. The music flows like water over glass with a gentle modern beauty. “I Am Manuela” returns the Brazilian ambiance with a song sung by Brien Chelminski who I say must be a twin sister of Judy Collins! Her voice and phrasing are so similar as to be amazing. The song carried by guitar and drums clearly embodies an 80’s sensibility and as is said by the lyrics, “I need some time to have some fun.” Well, I did! “L’extase d’Emmanuelle” is a classic sumptuous romantic piece that features a beautiful lyrical interplay of lush strings and piano. This piece is gorgeous and a score highlight, which features Magne’s neo-romantic lyricism at its finest! Bravo! We conclude with “Prisoner Of Love”, which again embodies an 80’s sensibility in a song sung by David Rose. Rose carries the melodic line with support from piano, violins, alto saxophone and the steady unobtrusive rhythmic pacing of drum percussion. The song has a determined but genuine narrative that is all together pleasant and concludes the score with sense of satisfaction.
For S.A.S. à San Salvador, director Raul Coutard hired Enrique Gérard de Villiers to adapt his famous spy thriller novel for the screen. The story line involves hired thug Enrique Chacon who assassinates Catholic archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador. To avenge this despicable act the CIA recalls special agent Malko Linge (Miles O’Keeffe) out of retirement. Linge who now lives an unfulfilling life as a ruined prince with paramour the Countess Alexandra is eager to regain his former exciting life and so takes up the assignment with determination. The story is a classic hunter vs. prey thriller replete with exciting action, sweet girls and tough villains.
Director Coutard did not want a classic orchestral score and challenged Magne to support the film with the funky music of the 80’s. Magne, who had always had a fascination and inclination to write this type of music took up the challenge with relish. His eclectic score features two primary themes; the To Be My Love Theme, which as the title states is a love theme, and Malko’s Theme, which supports our hero. The themes juxta-oppose the duality of our hero, his humanity as a lover and his fierce lethalness as a vengeful killer. Both themes animate the film and appear in multiple guises.
We open with “S.A.S. à San Salvador” a classic funky 80’s song sung by David Rose. Supported by synthesizer, steady drum percussion, whistle, electric piano and vocal accompaniment the song immediately sets the tone of the film as Coutard had imagined. Latin drum rhythms open “Thème Cubain” and provide a warm tropical Caribbean ambiance. A solo muted trumpet and later a solo alto saxophone carry the melodic line and are supported by kindred brass, strummed bass and various exotic drums. There is a big band flavor to this piece as well as a jazz flavor, which makes for an interesting and fun listen.
The To Be My Love Theme is emoted with three variations of instruments carrying the melodic line; alto saxophone, guitar and voice. In cue 16 “To Be My Love” we are treated to a classic slow dance love song emoted by a solo alto saxophone. The piece is simple in construct with just strummed bass and a steady drum beat supporting the melodic line. The sax playing is very nicely done and I have to say I like this piece a lot. With cue 19 “To Be My Love” is carried by solo electric guitar. Supported by strummed bass, metallic twinkling accents and a steady drum beat the tempo is more upbeat and the mood more confident. Lastly, in cue 23 “To Be My Love” we hear the melody expressed as a song sung by David Rose. Supported by vocal accompaniment, strummed bass, synthesizer, electric guitar and a steady drumbeat, this version is the most passionate and expressive of the three incarnations.
Malko’s Theme is also emoted with three variations, but the variance is that of mood. In cue 17, “Thème Malko”, the mood is one of suspense. We open with dark strummed bass that plays against a steady synthetic heartbeat. The musical flow is more textural than thematic and is supported by an array of exotic percussion, eerie synthesizer and wailing electric guitar. In cue 18, “Thème Malko”, we open with metallic twinkling and a much more upbeat drum cadence. The mood is funky and animated with a distinctly jazz flavor. Alto saxophone, synthesizer, bass and a more complex drumbeat serve to make this a much more expressive and fuller statement of the theme. Lastly, in cue 21, “Grand Thème Malko”, a wailing synthesizer doubled by wordless human voices opens with an eerie repeating descending triplet coupled with stark percussion. Slowly the music begins to congeal and gain greater complexity with electric guitar and synthesizer textures joining until the melody breaks out on the keyboard of an electric piano. The ambiance is unrepentant funky jazz that flows with an animated complexity that is very enjoyable. This is jazz at its best!
“Musique Reception” continues the jazz ambiance of the score. Synthesizer, electric piano, bass, and various percussive accents all work to create a funky laid back ambiance. The music is complex, entertaining but not intrusive. You realize quickly with “Sex, Love And Money” that this is classic 80’s funk. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Funk arose from the African-American community as a synthesis of Soul Music, Jazz and Blues into a new rhythmic and danceable form of music. David Rose perfectly captures the urban expressive core of the song, which is driven by synthesizer, strummed bass, and a steady drum beat.
I must once again thank Cyril Durand-Roger and Laurent Lafarge of Music Box Records for yet again a most welcome restoration. Both these scores are world premier releases on CD and I cannot understate the value and contribution provided to film score collectors. The digital mastering is again superb with excellent clarity. Michel Magne was an unknown to me before his introduction with these two scores. I am most glad at the introduction! “Emmanuelle 4” features an eclectic mix of Neo-Baroque, jazz and Latin music that is rich, exotic, romantic and decidedly entertaining. The songs contribute very well to maintaining the mood and ambiance of the score. “S.A.S. À San Salvador” is also an eclectic score with a creative mix of Jazz, Funk and Caribbean music, which work synergistically to create an entertaining listening experience. Here too the inclusion of songs in the score works well in both setting and maintaining the score’s narrative flow. Folks, both these scores are intimate small ensemble efforts that provide you with a rich, exotic and complex listening experience. If you like good saxophone carried jazz, funky 80’s music, and neo-Baroque romanticism, these scores are for you. I found both these scores very entertaining and highly recommend them as worthy additions to your collection. I advise you that this is a limited pressing of only 1,000 copies.
Buy the Emmanuelle 4/S.A.S. À San Salvador soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store
- EMMANUELLE 4
- Oh My Belle Emmanuelle (performed by David Rose) (3:41)
- La Pampa (2:38)
- Vival-Dit-Emmanuelle (1:26)
- Divina Emanuela (performed by Nazaré Pereira) (3:15)
- Le Pendule (0:58)
- Fantasme d’Emmanuelle (2:09)
- La Bergerie (3:11)
- Bach-Anal (performed by Christiane Legrand) (3:32)
- Brésil My Love (1:54)
- Fuite d’Emmanuelle (3:24)
- I Am Manuela (performed by Brien Chelminski) (2:56)
- L’Extase d’Emmanuelle (1:46)
- Prisoner of Love (performed by David Rose) (4:04)
- S.A.S. À SAN SALVADOR
- S.A.S. À San Salvador (performed by David Rose) (3:40)
- Thème Cubain (2:55)
- To Be My Love (Instrumental Saxophone) (2:40)
- Thème Malko (Suspens) (2:02)
- Thème Malko (Piscine) (2:14)
- To Be My Love (Instrumental Guitare) (3:31)
- Musique Réception (3:24)
- Grand Thème Malko (5:20)
- Sex, Love and Money (performed by David Rose) (4:20)
- To Be My Love (performed by David Rose) (3:17)
Running Time: 69 minutes 11 seconds
Music Box Records MBR006 (1984/1983/2012)
Music composed and conducted by Michel Magne. Orchestrations by Sergio Renucci. Album produced by Cyril Durand-Roger and Laurent Lafarge.