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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Western > Soundtracks > All Fall Down/The Outrage (Limited CD)

All Fall Down/The Outrage   (Limited Edition CD Soundtrack)


Sound: B     All Fall Down Music: B     Outrage Music: B



In recent times, a strange thing keeps happening to Alex North.  Instead of being remembered for the great scores he did create, he is being remembered at least as often for the one that did not get used.  North was originally commissioned to do the music for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, but well before the film’s 1968 release, Kubrick informed him that his work would not be used!


Unhappy with this, North stopped midway and the music was never heard on the screen, though a CD was issued of that music conducted and recorded more recently.  North had done all the music used in Kubrick’s Spartacus, his 1960 film and only other film shot with 65mm negative, but many of those shocked by what Kubrick did cannot seem to name even that film.


That is why this single CD double feature of two exceptional North scores for All Fall Down (1962) and The Outrage (1964) is so nice to hear.  Issued earlier this year by the FSM label of the magazine Film Score Monthly (which can be ordered exclusively at www.filmscoremonthly.com while the 3,000 pressings last), this is the extremely belated debut of both scores stand-alone.  What’s worse, these films were only released on VHS, never issued on LaserDisc, and have yet to be issued on DVD!


No wonder more people cannot name North’s scores, though the most well known include Elia Kazan’s A Streetcar Named Desire (1954), the Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra (1963, another 65mm production), John Huston’s The Misfits (1963), Mike Nichols’ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), and Huston’s Prizzi’s Honor (1985).  Many have seen these films, but likely do not know who did the music.  Think for a minute how the scores for those films made them better/


With this music, North scores for two of America’s greatest filmmakers, the recently deceased John Frankenheimer and the late Martin Ritt.  Both deserve to be remembered far more than they have been, not unlike North.  The liner notes refer to All Fall Down as a film in the East of Eden mode, but it is important to remember that Kazan’s film was a CinemaScope, color picture, while Frankenheimer’s is monochrome and more intimate.  It is also several years later, as method actors have become more common, so it should be seen as the latter part of a cycle of such films instead of a carbon copy.  The liner notes are not implying this, but it is necessary to refute this just the same.


That score is mostly on the gentle side, with few moments of explicit power, but plenty under the surface.  The Outrage has the chore of being a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s groundbreaking Rashomon (1950, reviewed elsewhere on DVD on this site), so the music had to match the Western genre conversion of the film.  The desire to reject the film outright because it “dares” to remake the classic only 14 years (or maybe ever) after the original is wrong, as this was a most sincere attempt to do the much-imitated story.  We will have to wait for the DVD before addressing the film, but the music is only 14:29 in length and is not bad at all.  The only thing is that all the music is contained within one final track on the CD, with brief pauses, but offers a bit more range than All Fall Down due to its multiple points of view.


The PCM CD sound is good, thanks to the careful transfer to digital sound and the fine condition of the original score elements in stereo.  With this CD and hopefully more like it, North will take his rightful place among the film composing greats where he already is now, but to new generations of filmgoers unaware of his genius.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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