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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Soundtrack > Cimarron (1960, Limited CD)

Cimarron (1960, Limited Edition CD Soundtrack)


Sound: B     Music: B



The original Cimarron (RKO, 1931) is still one of the only Westerns to ever win the Best Picture Academy Award.  When M-G-M was trying to find huge productions to compete with television, they decided to remake the film.  At first, it was conceived as one of the ultra-rare MGM Camera 65/Ultra Panavision 70 productions with the Cinerama ultra-wide process with a whopping 2.76 X 1 aspect ration.  However, it eventually became a normal Panavision scope 2.35 X 1 production, though the production was dubbed CinemaScope as if it had used those older and by then out of date lenses.  That was good, because it did not do well at the box office.


As if the original held up so well, this still broke the rule that classics should not be remade.  Before Warner Bros. can issue either film on DVD, the FSM CD soundtrack label of Film Score Monthly Magazine has issued a fine limited edition of the music score by the great Franz Waxman.  This is the premiere of the music as a soundtrack 44 years after the film’s release and in some ways, the first time the music has been properly heard at all.  As explained in yet another great booklet included within the CD case, the multi-track magnetic stereo sound the film was released in degraded the music and often buried it under bombastic sound effects, something we are used to all the time in most of the bad films out today.  Old Hollywood had more respect for the customer then on that level.


For the 22 tracks here, including the final “outtakes suite” track, are from the original three-track soundmaster the music was recorded on.  Until this CD was released, this was practically a lost score, but FSM and their love of film music is astonishing and we have this fine music that might have saved the film somewhat if audiences could have only heard it!


Granted, fine music can only go so far in saving a lost cause, but Warner Bros. needs to use these tracks to do a necessary 5.1 remix that would flesh out Waxman’s work again and allow audiences for the first time ever to really be able to appreciate what Waxman was trying to do for the film.  The PCM 2.0 CD Stereo is fine and since the magnetic master survived as well as it did, it also happens not to have been played too much, so it sounds good.  That makes this released a vital CD soundtrack to have and experience, but there are only 3,000 copies being pressed, so you may want to go to www.filmscoremonthly.com for more details in their CD section for this and other highly collectible exclusives.  Track listings and downloadable samples are also available there.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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