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Boy On A Dolphin



Boy On A Dolphin (1957)

Hugo Friedhofer 

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by a soundtrack collector (October 12, 2008)
Hugo Friedhofer was one of the most brilliant composers and orchestrators whose career spanned the earliest years of film scoring in the 1930's through the near death of the symphonic film score in the late 1960's. Unfortunately he did not live to see the reemergence of orchestral film scores in the late 1970's thanks to younger composers like Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams who were inspired by Friedhofer, David Raksin, Alex North and Friedhofer's mentor, Alfred Newman, all of whom, unlike most of the other golden age film composers, were American born. Friedhofer's score for the 1946 film classic, "The Best Years of Our Lives", is still regarded as one of the finest symphonic works of the 20th Century.

The 1957 romantic adventure film, "Boy on A Dolphin" is remembered today mainly as the American film debut of Sophia Loren, for its gorgeous location Cinemascope colour cinematography of the Greek Islands and by film score enthusiasts for its fantastic hybrid score by Hugo Friedhofer, the gorgeous main theme and title song of which he based on a song by Greek composer, Takis Morekis, with new English Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. This theme is interwoven throughout the score along with a stunning piece entitled "Nocturnal Sea", featuring the ethereal wordless vocalise of the great Marni Nixon. The title song is sung at the beginning and end of the album by Mary Kaye, one of the finest vocalists of the time (although Kaye's vocals were replaced in the finished film by the inferior Julie London, who was more famous and recorded a single of the tune).

"Boy on A Dolphin", like most Cinemascope films of the 1950's, was recorded in 3 track stereo on 35mm magnetic film but the soundtrack album was mixed and released by Decca Records (DL-8580) in monaural only. Although the entire score for the film clocks in at about 55 minutes, only about 40 minutes of the score was included on the Decca LP, which has been out of print for over 40 years. This new Intrada CD presents Friedhofer's superbly atmospheric score in its entirety and for the first time, in genuine stereo, mastered from the original 35mm multi track recording. Also included is a demo version of the title song by an unnamed male singer. Missing is the Sophia Loren & Panegyris vocal of the original Greek language version of the title song performed in the film. While it is great to finally hear Friedhofer's score in stereo and complete, time has not been kind to the original soundtrack materials used for this CD. The deterioration of the soundtrack masters, which can be clearly heard as pitch fluctuations in the music, is regrettable but not intrusive enough to sway anyone from purchasing this CD. One could argue that the music should have been assembled for a better musical presentation rather than the fragmented cues slavishly tied to the order which the music appeared in the film but this is true of most soundtrack releases today. Fortunately, the long musical passages Friedhofer composed for "Boy on A Dolphin" prevent this CD from sounding like a mere souvenir of the film and preserve its musical integrity apart from the film. Even if you have the briefly available superior sounding Japanese CD (MVCM 171) of the monaural Decca soundtrack album, this new Intrada CD is a must-have for anyone who appreciates this classic film score by Hugo Friedhofer, one of the true originals in film music composition.

Reviews on other sites:
Golden Scores 
suggested by:
Robert DiMucci (Intrada release) 
suggested by:
Mark R. Hasan

Film Music: A Neglected Art 
suggested by:
Thomas Kiefner

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