Top positive review
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Alfred Newman's orchestrations are the highlight
on December 12, 2002
This re-issue of the film soundtrack from FLOWER DRUM SONG coincides with the current Broadway revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein neglected masterpiece, which features an all-new book by M. BUTTERFLY's David Henry Hwang.
This recording is highlighted by wunderkind musical director Alfred Newman's orchestrations. I absolutely love the Overture/Main Title music, as well as the "Dream Ballet" which follows on from "Love Look Away" (surely one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's most heart-rending ballads).
However, although the film featured original Broadway stars Miyoshi Umeki, Juanita Hall, Jack Soo and Patrick Adiarte, it also featured a few OBVIOUSLY-DUBBED performers; Nancy Kwan (as sexy nightclub performer Linda Low) has an ill-fitting singing voice provided by B.J. Baker, and Reiko Sato (as the lovelorn Helen Chao) has a singing voice by the legendary Marilyn Horne (who was then a young up-and-comer).
There is also popular matinee idol James Shigeta, displaying his lovely, untrained singing with "You Are Beautiful" and joining Juanita Hall for the comical "Chop Suey". Miyoshi Umeki sounds more polished and confident here than on the original Broadway Cast recording. She is charming and lovely both on record and on film.
This recording also features a lovely cover version of "Love Look Away", delightfully sung by the late Rosemary Clooney.
A must-have recording.