Tag Archives: Touch of Evil

Henry Mancini and the Joy of Work

2 Mar

Like so many other film nerds, I’ve been a huge fan of soundtracks all my life. I asked for Disney soundtracks as a very young child and the first album I bought with my own money was the score to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. An addiction began that day that unfortunately hasn’t ceased, though I am thankful for downloads rather than CDs since at a certain point the CD towers in my home, like so many other film nerds, became rather embarrassing. Just as embarrassing were times such as when a high school buddy was going through my LPs and pulled out the soundtrack to Carrie, which on the front cover features Sissy Spacek drenched in pig’s blood.

“Why the hell would you buy this?” he asked. I stammered through an explanation about liking the sole pop song on the album. I wouldn’t be embarrassed today. Great score, proud buy, I still have the LP which I play on my turnable even now. (A couple of friends, Stacey B in particular, are cringing for me now. At least someone gets embarrassed for me, since I am past it.)

ANYWAY, about a year after moving to Los Angeles, I was invited by a good friend, Cissy, to a concert at UCLA honoring film scores. I was thrilled. Not only did the benefit feature some big film stars introducing each piece, when possible the actual composer would conduct his own music.

It was a wonderful night. Besides seeing some huge movie stars so soon after moving to LA (Kathleen Turner in her heyday, Va Va Voom! Robert Redford, also pretty Va Va Voom, etc.) I made some discoveries. I heard for the first time two pieces of music that instantly became favorites of all-time: Alex North’s exquisite love theme from Spartacus and Miklos Rozsa’s stunning Madame Bovary Waltz

Then Henry Mancini walked onto the stage and changed my life.

Click for the rest.. and some amazing music!