on February 23, 2007
In the past 50 years, only a handful of film scores attained the status of being desired for both their rarity and the quality of the music.
One of those scores is John Green's magnum opus "Raintree County" (MGM-1957). MGM was hoping that "Raintree County" would stand beside "Gone With the Wind" in popularity and quality, but for various reasons it fell a bit short of that goal. Its story is by Ross Lockridge, a tortured man whose one contribution to American literature is this tale of a man who seeks an ideal -- a man of whom much is expected by many people. His hero, John Shawnessy, must endure heartache and loss, the Civil War and a commitment to what he feels is right before he can, through more tragedy, attain a peace of mind and get on with his life.
For whatever the studio's reason, it chose to hand the directorial responsibilities to Edward Dmytryk...a rather good director, if not a great one for this particular film. Montgomery Clift (a tragic figure whose auto accident during the filming left him disfigured and emotionally diminished the remainder of his life) was cast as John Shawnessy. Elizabeth Taylor was cast as Susannah, the ravishing beauty who captured Shawnessy's affections through seduction and deceit. Eva Marie Saint was cast as Nell, Johnny's true soulmate and love who was unable to save him from a bad marriage, but who stood by him and loved him through his tragedies.
All the MGM stops were pulled to make this a grand, authentic southern epic and it's a glorious thing to watch and wallow in, most of the way through.
Enhancing the film's qualities beyond all measure, and keeping it interesting when the interest might otherwise flag, is John Green's two-hour-plus score, featuring one of the screen's great themes and some of film's most dynamic and expressive music.
The film's original soundtrack had the distinction of being issued by RCA on two separate recordings: One was a two-LP gatefold in monaural sound of roughly an hour of the film's score. The other was a single highlights LP in "Stereo", the new sound technology of its time. As the film failed to capture public interest, neither did the soundtrack recordings. They disappeared from record stores and were cut out of RCA's catalog.
And yet....people did see the film. In small towns and cities, and in drive-ins. And some people did take notice of the music. And copies that could be found of the soundtrack were quickly snatched up wherever they could be found...and were treasured. Their value increased. And the film's reputation increased, as well, developing a niche fan base that could not ignore the ravishing beauty of Taylor and the fragile tragedy of Clift commingled in a tale of a doomed relationship.
In the 1970s, nostalgia for Hollywood movies and Hollywood icons became fashionable. Film soundtracks were being reissued. In 1976, for the first time, a soundtrack specialty company -- Entr'Acte Records -- issued a 2-LP soundtrack of "Raintree County" in full stereo. In the 1980s, home video exploded and "Raintree County" was one of many films suddenly available to the audiences who loved it and to newer audiences who fell in love with it. This was true of its music. When the CD revolution had taken over the music marketplace by the end of the 1980s, the stereo recording of "Raintree County" was issued on CD. A decade later, RCA's Spanish branch issued the original 2-LP recording on CD in monaural sound.
Now, in the 50th anniversary year of the film and its score, soundtrack specialty label Film Score Monthly and founder/producer Lukas Kendall have released the "ultimate" soundtrack recording of the complete score to this film, mastered from original studio elements, in full vibrant stereo, and the recording includes outtakes and alternate versions of cues. In addition, the original main title with song -- as sung by Nat King Cole over the opening credits -- is presented with the film score for the first time on a recording (courtesy of Capitol Records -- a major coup for Kendall and his impressive label, but then Kendall performs several miracles a year with his soundtrack releases).
Typical of FSM recordings is a generous, illustrated insert booklet with intelligent, informative notes by Ross Care, a composer and film music author who writes with authority and passion.
I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's tremendous film music -- explosive, passionate and lyrical. It's an engaging feast of Americana and 19th century romanticism mingling into a fantastic musical portrait of a dynamic story.
You will NOT be disappointed.
on July 19, 2008
A "desert island" soundtrack if there ever was one! I've had it in all of it's formats & this is THE definitive release. Beautifully remastered, with much previously unavailable music included (Yes, Nat Cole's title song is finally where it always should have been!). You'll find it difficult to believe that the sound is more than 50 years old - it that good! The liner notes are superb also.
I would be hard pressed to recommend a more beautiful & significant soundtrack ~ BUT THERE'S ONLY 3000 ~ DON'T HESITATE ~ GET YOURS BEFORE IT GONE! YOU'LL BE SO SORRY IF YOU MISS THIS MASTERPIECE ! ! !
on May 4, 2011
Finally, this is the complete score, limited edition to 3000 copies on 2-Disc's, which contains a informative 28-Page-Booklet.
Disc One beginns with a wonderful "Overture" and ends with Track 17 "First Act Finale" (Roadshow). Disc Time 74:02
Disc Two beginns with "Entr'Acte" end the official score ends with Track 7 "Susanna's Death/Jeemie's Raintree/The Song of Raintree County" with total Time 38:33.
Disc Two contains with Track 8 - 25 some Bonus cues (Film versions, alternate, alternate endings, chorus versions etc.) with a lenght of 33:48. Total disc time 70:25
What do you want more? What I can say more? it's a MUST HAVE IT! Its a wonderful orchestral score.
Crazy: a DVD or Blu-Ray isn't released yet.