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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Drama > War > World War II > Soundtracks > Never So Few/7 Women (Limited CD)

Never So Few/7 Women   (Limited Edition CD Soundtrack)


Never So Few Sound: B-     Music: B     7 Women Sound: B     Music: B


Hugo Friedhofer delivers one of his livelier scores for John Sturges’ WWII actioner Never So Few (1959), with a little help from Charles Wolcott, who both conducted the score and created two songs on his own for the film.  It is matched with one of Elmer Bernstein’s most interesting scores, John Ford’s final picture 7 Women (1966).  That one takes place in China circa 1935, linking both films via Asia.


The Sturges film is a Frank Sinatra vehicle with Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lawford, Dean Jones, Paul Hanreid, and Steve McQueen, as Sinatra leads his men uncompromisingly against the Nazis.  Ford’s film is oddly a Melodrama with Anne Bancroft, Sue Lyon, and Eddie Albert.  Both are not the most critically well received films, but make interesting curios.  This certainly extends to their music.


Friedhofer did his work for M-G-M after similar work for Fox on their films Solider of Fortune and Between Heaven and Hell (made 1955, and 1956 respectively), available together on a CD soundtrack from FSM, the same label that has put out this double score on one CD.  It is 18 tracks long and runs 42:18 in all.  In that time, it is always interesting and weaves its Asian influences in more subtly than Bernstein does with 7 Women.  That is not to take anything away from Bernstein.  As a matter of fact, his different reach for an Asian influence makes his music (12 tracks running 31:27) push his style into a hybrid that includes his style with an almost experimental sense of musical inclusion that still works hard to be narrative.


The PCM CD sound is stereo for both scores, but 7 Women has a sonic edge, being recorded seven years after Never So Few.  Both still sound fine, with no warping or “wow” trouble some of the soundtracks in our music heritage sadly suffer.  Some would try to write both scores off as politically incorrect, but that would be ignorant nonsense.  These are solid scores by two important composers, making their debut as soundtracks for the first time ever.  If anything, they offer an interesting study of how Hollywood was approaching the attraction of showing far off lands in color, stereophonic sound, and wide-screen images to compete with TV.


This disc is offered exclusively by the aforementioned FSM label of Film Score Monthly magazine, and can be ordered at www.filmscoremonthly.com while the limited number of 3,000 pressings lasts.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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