This 2-disc release of Herrmann's first score for Harryhausen is a lavish delight. Firstly, both discs are presented in full stereophonic sound - the full-bodied monaural descriptor being entirely wrong for the disc-1 complete score. This presentation utilizes the same remastered music stems that the Sony blu-ray disc offers, and is sonically splendid. The second disc is the original soundtrack album re-recording, all stereo except one track, and it's the familiar version that's been a collector's item for many years. The soundtrack album was conducted by Muir Mathieson, and contrary to Herrmann's opinion of it, it's a robust presentation of the original score. A masterpiece, right up there with the likes of Moross' THE BIG COUNTRY, North's SPARTACUS, Rosza's EL CID, and Jarre's LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.
The least popular of Alfred Hitchcock's late-'50s thrillers – perhaps because it is really a comedy – The Trouble with Harry also has the least well-known of the scores that Bernard Herrmann wrote for Hitchcock's movies. All of that is a shame, because – in keeping with the comedic nature of the movie – Herrmann assumed a lighthearted and upbeat, ironic mask that led to some of the most gorgeous and hauntingly beautiful music of his career; the composer himself clearly felt a fondness for it, as he revived it in 1968 as the basis for his "A Portrait of Hitch." The reed and horn passages are playful and ironic, and the signature string part, bridging the small-town innocence of the movie's setting, is one of the finest things that Herrmann conceived. It all makes for delightful listening, and is some of the best programmatic music to come out of Hollywood in the 1950s.
In 1990, Varèse Sarabande released a CD of the only score album that had ever represented this historic collaboration, but this was a studio recording done concurrently with the film's theatrical release. In 1998, conductor William T. Stromberg recorded a 71:00 album of music from The Egyptian with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. In 2001, Film Score Monthly released a 72:00 CD of the music that had survived from the original film sessions. Now, finally, and for the very first time, we are thrilled to present the complete score from The Egyptian, adding more than 30:00 of previously-believed-lost music plus a selection of never -before-heard alternate cue variations. Taking advantage of both new mixing technologies and also a newly discovered source for the original music masters, we now have an Egyptian for the ages.
This is the movie that gave us the phrase "Klaatu barada nikto!" As befits the film that kicked off the Atomic Age's obsession with flying saucers and giant robots, Bernard Herrmann's score is the last word in 1950s sci-fi. Although many of its elements have become cliches over the years, the original has lost none of its power. Thanks to the many eerie, theremin-drenched passages, it's almost impossible to hear that instrument without thinking about guys in space suits. Other great moments: tinkling space pianos, ominous robot monster chords, and weird, plangent orchestrations. One of Herrmann's most visionary and influential scores.