Valley Of The Kings/Men Of The Fighting Lady
(Limited Edition CD
Sound: B Music:
MGM was the biggest studio in Classical Hollywood, but
even they knew they had to occasionally dip into more commercial genres like
Adventure. Of course, these would not
be total B-movies and was also what they did as smaller companies at the time
(Universal, Columbia, Republic) did B-movies and chapter-play serials. Two such films are from 1954, Valley Of
The Kings and to some extent, Men Of The Fighting Lady. They both remarkably have scores by none
other than the great Miklós Rózsa.
The FSM label of Film Score Monthly Magazine has already
issued some of his scores, all limited editions at 3,000 copies like this one,
which can be ordered and examined at www.filmscoremonthly.com,
including some tracks you can download samples of. In this case, the Egyptian adventure Valley Of The Kings’
score comes right off of the 35mm magnetic sound film master, while Men Of
The Fighting Lady also comes from 35mm master sources and is in
stereo. One oddity is a bonus track in
between the two of the scores here and is the music Rózsa did for the trailer
to the 1950 MGM version of King Solomon’s Mines, a Stewart Granger vehicle
that literally has no music score.
Ironically, it is the best known of the three films here, but this CD
cannot be considered a soundtrack for that film, of course.
They are all good, solid, kinetic examples of film music
and work well even without their films, but shows how clever the composer could
be. All music makes their soundtrack
debuts here on this single disc.
The PCM CD-type 2.0 sound is very good for its age, not a
victim of stereo purgings of the MGM music vaults, where stereo originals were
disgustingly replaced with mono copies.
There is some strident points to Valley Of The Kings, but it
sounds good and this is a fine set of the kind of Hollywood music scoring for
exotic location films studios like MGM were so good at getting for their
films. The music may not be
“politically correct” to some, but Men Of The Fighting Lady is takes
place during The Korean War and has other interesting things going for it. It wants to be serious about The Cold War,
yet also be a thriller and have a sense of adventure. The King Solomon’s Mines segment is monophonic and lucky
to survive at all. We hope to review
all three films on DVD down the line, but strongly recommend this collectible
CD and its terrifically written and illustrated booklet while supplies last.
- Nicholas Sheffo