Bell, Book &
Candle/1,001 Arabian Nights (FSM
Sound: B Music:
In another great single CD soundtrack double feature, Film
Score Monthly.com’s FSM CD soundtrack series continues with music by George
Duning to two very notable late 1950s films.
One is Bell, Book & Candle, the other 1958 pairing of James
Stewart and Kim Novak in an interesting film about witchcraft and female
empowerment that makes for a decent flipside to their work in Alfred
Hitchcock’s Vertigo. The other
is the charming and interesting 1959 animated version of 1,001 Arabian
Nights with Mr Magoo.
The scores have some common denominators in what may be
mystical and potentially is, though the animated feature has its vocal moments
and is more fantasy oriented. This is a
great pairing of scores and some really enjoyable music. The former was the kind of film that made
Columbia Pictures go from a smaller studio to a major one, while the animated
feature was the first for the great UPA Studios, made of extremely talented
animators who went on strike against Walt Disney. The company they formed changed animation forever and this will
be of especially strong interest to animation buffs. Like the films, the music can be considered truly delightful and
is highly recommended.
The PCM 2.0 16bit/44.1kHz Stereo sound shows some of its
age in the source material’s background hiss, but some nice, articulate
soundstage has still been derived from the 3-track ½” soundmaster to Candle
and ¼” stereo album tape for Nights.
It is a pleasant surprise in both cases and DVD versions should sound no
worse. Duning seems to have been lucky
to have a good ear, good skills and the right producers and engineers working
with him, because FSM’s CD of his 1963 Toy In The Attic (also reviewed
elsewhere on this site) also had good sound fidelity. The booklet included has the usual excellent new liner notes,
classic documents, picture reproductions and information about each track. You can order, listen to select tracks and
more by visiting www.filmscoremonthly.com
and get more information on these and other great FSM CD titles. We’ll get to Duning’s The Devil At 4
O’clock FSM soundtrack next.
- Nicholas Sheffo