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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Soundtrack > Ride The High Country/Mail Order Bride (Limited CD)

Ride The High Country/Mail Order Bride (Limited Edition CD)


Sound: B†††† Music: B/B-



George Bassman is a fine composer and has been lost to history, especially the dark age of the Hollywood Witch Hunts for Communists in the late 1940s and into the 1950s that went so well and far beyond what it was supposed to do that it destroyed several generations of the best and brightest talents in filmmaking.It also helped bring down Classical Hollywood, though not sited as often as the 1948 Supreme Court decision for the studios to divest of their theater chains, the arrival of television, and never getting it back together after the strain of World War II.In listening to this new limited edition CD of two of his most prominent scores, Ride The High Country (an early Sam Peckinpah film) and a carbon copy of that film, Mail Order Bride.


They are good scores and to Bassmanís credit, he tries to do interesting variations on between the two.They were also filled with a certain edge, having come from a man who had been Blacklisted in 1947 after key work on classics like The Wizard Of Oz, The Clock and the 1946 Lana Turner The Postman Always Rings Twice.To hear his music again is not unlike the series of Jewish composers from the Holocaust era who were lost, but whose music survives, a silenced artist speaking again.


Ride The High Country falls somewhere between the Classic Hollywood idea of a Western and something more naturalistic.Bassmanís music is broken down into 16 tracks in this case, and they are all good.It is not as compatible as Jerry Fieldingís scores would be later with his films, but still has the strength to back the film.Mail Order Bride wanted to copy the film with more of a comic sense and commercial longing, so it is odd Bassmanís music is longer.Either way, his later scores would be rejected, as the studio system he worked in faded away.These were his last works.With The Western itself changing and fading away in another 15 years, the match up is uncanny.


The PCM 2.0 CD sound is an acceptable transfer from the original three-track magnetic 35mm master material and is simple stereo at best.They were made at a point when Hollywood started to cut back on using stereo sound as generously as they had in the mid-to-late 1950s, when competing against TV seemed more possible.At the time of this posting, we do not know what sound the films were issued in, though Bride was issued in three-strip dye-transfer Technicolor under the Metrocolor name.I should note that Robert Armbruster conducted a good number of the latter Bride tracks.This key release is limited to 3,000 production copies, so be sure to go to www.filmscoremonthly.com to see more details about this and many other exclusives form their FSM soundtrack label.



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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