Soundtracks are a lot more than movie music...

...or so I'm ready to argue as a 30 year devotee of this sorely under appreciated genre.  So, in an effort to do my part, each week
I'll be making recommendations of soundtracks current and vintage, make a fuss over long awaited soundtrack scores finally getting
a well deserved release, and in general, make some noise about this often overlooked category.  Beyond my long experience as a
listener and as a pianist and songwriter, both of which I've put to use in writing a quarterly soundtrack column for the
Tribune, I can only offer my recommendations.  You'll discern my taste soon enough and upfront I'd like to make it clear that I'll
focus most heavily on SCORE soundtracks.  In the end, all criticism is subjective but if I can point a listener toward a little heard
soundtrack or strongly advise you to either ORDER IMMEDIATELY or SKIP ALTOGETHER, all the better.
Before he became one of the world's most renowned classical conductors, Andre Previn was a
musical prodigy, a serious jazz pianist, arranger, and composer of some of Hollywood's most
memorable, though sadly neglected scores. This may be due to the fact that the films in
question were either flops or less than big hits upon their initial release.

Film Score Monthly has released for the first time on CD an expanded edition of one of
them, the 1964 Bette Davis thriller
Dead Ringer.

The movie, filmed just after Davis' success with
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is enjoyable
claptrap, a story of murder, money and revenge in which Davis plays twin sisters (one
decadent, rich and evil, natch and the other put upon and REALLY bitter).  The cast includes
Karl Malden, Peter Lawford as a golf pro playboy and Jean Hagen in her last screen
appearance (she would die too soon from cancer).  Davis is guided through the lavish sets
(they include the Doheny mansion) by her old
Now, Voyager co-star Paul Henreid (whose
daughter Monika has a small part as a maid).

Previn, during the long breaks while working on scoring arrangements for
My Fair Lady (which
would bring him an Oscar) took on the job of scoring the film which was also filmed on the
Warner Bros. lot.  Previn's signature over-the-top sound--a wall of furious strings moving
rapidly up and down the scale, punctuated with huge brass swells and fronted by a solo
violin, piano (or sinister harpsichord in this case)--is greatly in evidence here. From the Main
Title on, no one but Previn could have written this outstanding score.  The breadth of the
score -- from the orchestral cues to the jazz selections (part of the film's plot) -- showcase
Previn's ease within any musical idiom.

The disc includes FSM's usual lavish jewel case booklet, extra music cues and best, bodes
well the promise of future Previn scores--
Inside Daisy Clover, which, like Dead Ringer, was
originally released on LP by Warner Bros. when the film came out in 1965 (following its
release he would hang around for one more film,
Valley of the Dolls in 1967).  An expanded
version of the
Clover score is something to dream about -- as is the never released in any
The Catered Affair from 1956.


Don't forget to check out previous soundtrack recommendations by visiting the

Next Recommendation:  TBA
Top: FMS' cover for their
expanded first time CD release
of the score and the composer,
Andre Previn, posing with
Fair Lady's
Audrey Hepburn, on
the cover of his equally
sublime (for jazz fans)
Previnesque takes on the
Lerner-Lowe score.  This 1956
album was re-released the
same year as the original
soundtrack (now long
out of print).