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BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S – Henry Mancini

September 4, 2017 1 comment

100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Hollywood producers Martin Jurow and Richard Shepherd saw opportunity beckoning with Truman Capote’s controversial 1958 novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and convinced Paramount Studios to purchase the film rights. They hired George Axelrod to write a screenplay that “softened” Capote’s edgy narrative, and Blake Edwards was given the director reigns. Edwards assembled a fine cast, which included Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, George Peppard as Paul Varjak, Patricia Neal as Emily Eustace, Buddy Ebsen as Doc Golightly, Martin Balsam as O. J. Berman, and Mickey Rooney as Holly’s landlord Mr. Yunioshi. For the 1950’s, this truly sordid story broke all the sensibilities of the day – Holly was a foul-mouthed, bisexual, social-climbing and gold-digging prostitute, who has had an abortion and smokes marijuana! The fact that the story’s narrator was gay only added to the controversy. Jurow and Shepherd knew the story as written would never fly, so they chose not to make a modern and edgy social drama. They astutely recast the story’s narrative into a more conventional, and emotionally accessible direction – a romantic comedy. Well, Holly’s love affair with struggling writer Paul succeeded on all counts and won audience hearts worldwide. The film was also a critical success, earning five Academy Award Nominations, winning two for best Original Song and Best Score. Read more…

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THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE – Henry Mancini

July 14, 2016 2 comments

greatmousedetectiveTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Looking back from the vantage point we have now, thirty years into the future, it’s difficult to picture just how much trouble Walt Disney’s animated feature film department was in during the 1980s. A world away from their heyday of Snow White, Bambi, and Cinderella, Disney’s output in the late 1970s and early 1980s comprised some of their most forgettable works, ranging from The Rescuers in 1977 to The Fox and the Hound in 1981, The Black Cauldron in 1985, and Oliver & Company in 1988 – a year before everything changed with the release of The Little Mermaid in 1989. Released right in the middle of this lackluster phase, The Great Mouse Detective was Disney’s attempt to capture the essence of Sherlock Holmes in an animated film. Based on the popular children’s books by Eve Titus, the film is set in a version of Victorian England populated by anthropomorphic mice and rats, and follows the adventures of the famous detective Basil of Baker Street, who is hired by a young mouse named Olivia to investigate the disappearance of her toymaker father, who has been kidnapped by the evil Professor Ratigan as part of a fiendish plot involving robot clones and the Queen of England. The film was directed by Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, David Michener, and John Musker, and features the voice talents of Barrie Ingham and Vincent Price, among others. Read more…

SANTA CLAUS: THE MOVIE – Henry Mancini

December 3, 2015 Leave a comment

santaclausTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The winter of 1985 saw the release of one of the strangest holiday films of all time: Santa Claus: The Movie, which purportedly told the ‘real’ story of the origin of the Santa Claus legend. However, instead of actually going into the history of the Turkish bishop Saint Nicholas, the Sinterklaas story from traditional Dutch folklore, and how the two were blended with elements of Norse and Pagan mythology, and Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem ‘The Night Before Christmas,’ to create the contemporary Christmas icon – a movie I would actually like to see, for real! – the film invents an original story about a kind-hearted 14th century woodcutter and his wife, who are caught in a blizzard while delivering toys to local children. Magically transported to the North Pole, the woodcutter and his wife are greeted by elves, who convince the man that it is his destiny to deliver toys to the children of the world every Christmas Eve, which the elves will make in their large workshops. At the same time, the film also tells a contemporary story set in modern day New York, in which Patch – one of Santa’s elves – decides to strike out on his own and set up his own toy-making business, but unwittingly joins forces with an unscrupulous millionaire who wants to “take over” Christmas for himself. Read more…

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S – Henry Mancini

October 5, 2015 Leave a comment

breakfastattiffanysMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Hollywood producers Martin Jurow and Richard Shepherd saw opportunity beckoning with Truman Capote’s controversial 1958 novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and convinced Paramount Studios to purchase the film rights. They hired George Axelrod to write a screenplay that “softened” Capote’s edgy narrative, and Blake Edwards was given the director reigns. Edwards assembled a fine cast, which included Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, George Peppard as Paul Varjak, Patricia Neal as Emily Eustace, Buddy Ebsen as Doc Golightly, Martin Balsam as O. J. Berman, and Mickey Rooney as Holly’s landlord Mr. Yunioshi. For the 1950’s, this truly sordid story broke all the sensibilities of the day – Holly was a foul-mouthed, bisexual, social-climbing and gold-digging prostitute, who has had an abortion and smokes marijuana! The fact that the story’s narrator was gay only added to the controversy. Jurow and Shepherd knew the story as written would never fly, so they chose not to make a modern and edgy social drama. They astutely recast the story’s narrative into a more conventional, and emotionally accessible direction – a romantic comedy. Well, Holly’s love affair with struggling writer Paul succeeded on all counts and won audience hearts worldwide. The film was also a critical success, earning five Academy Award Nominations, winning two for best Original Song and Best Score. Read more…

LIFEFORCE – Henry Mancini

July 2, 2015 Leave a comment

lifeforceTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

What do you think of when you think of the music of Henry Mancini? The gentle romance of Breakfast at Tiffany’s? The effortlessly cool jazz of Peter Gunn or The Pink Panther? The forbidden passion of The Thorn Birds? The playful “Baby Elephant Walk” from Hatari? I’d bet my bottom dollar that most people would come up with those classics long before they thought of an epic orchestral sci-fi horror score, but that’s exactly what Mancini wrote for Lifeforce, a British-American production directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by the notorious Yoram Globus and Menahem Golan for Cannon Films. The film is a loose adaptation of Colin Wilson’s 1976 novel The Space Vampires, and stars Steve Railsback as the head of a multi-national space exploration team sent to investigate Halley’s Comet as it makes one of it’s regular 75-year passes past Earth. The team finds a space craft concealed inside the comet’s corona, and inside the space craft they find the preserved bodies of three seemingly humanoid aliens in suspended animation, including one incredibly beautiful female. However, when the space exploration team’s ship returns home, Mission Control in London finds it empty, save for the three aliens, which soon awake and begin draining ‘life force’ energies from every human they encounter. The film co-starred Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Patrick Stewart, and Mathilda May, who spends almost the entire film completely naked; despite this obvious selling point, the film was a disaster, recouping less than half of its $25 million budget, and receiving terrible reviews from most critics of the time. Read more…

SUNFLOWER – Henry Mancini

February 19, 2014 1 comment

sunflowerMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Renowned producer Carlo Ponti and acclaimed actor-director Vittorio de Sica hired screenwriter Cesare Zavattini to create, in the finest traditions of Italian cinema, a tragic love story. For this grand effort they recruited the two iconic Italian actors of the day to play the principles; Sophia Loren (Giovanna) and Marcello Mastroianni (Antonio). After many incarnations and disputes between Ponti and De Sica, a final screenplay was finally achieved. It reveals the story of two lovers caught up and swept away by the unforeseeable and irresistible currents of history. Sunflower, known in its original Italian as I Girasoli, is set in a small town in the southern Calabria region of Italy in the waning months of World War II. Read more…