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Number: KR200235

Composed by: Elmer Bernstein

Sample Tracks
Name Number
Seal/Main Title/Arrival 01
Wet Reception 02
Popsicles 03
Peggy is Cynical 09
Help from Nellie/New Sax’s/Decision 10
The Letter 11
Play All Tracks

The Rat Race began life in 1949 as a Broadway play by Garson Kanin. Eleven years later, Paramount Pictures brought The Rat Race to the screen, starring Debbie Reynolds as a down-on-her-luck model and dancer, and Tony Curtis as a new to New York aspiring musician. The great supporting cast included Jack Oakie, Kay Medford, Norman Fell, and a very young Don Rickles. As with the Broadway play, several notable musicians were also in the cast – reprising his Broadway role was Joe Bushkin, and Gerry Mulligan and Sam Butera also appeared. The film was directed by Robert Mulligan (it was his second film, after Fear Strikes Out – also for Paramount), and the screenplay was by Kanin. Curtis and Reynolds deliver star performances – it’s one of Reynolds’ best performances, and the large supporting cast is wonderful (especially Rickles, who is really effective as a sleazeball). The photography of Robert Burks (at that time, Alfred Hitchcock’s regular cameraman) is stunning and Mulligan’s direction is terrific – he would, of course, go on to direct To Kill a Mockingbird just three years later.

As much of a leading character as those played by Curtis and Reynolds is the incredibly dynamic score by Elmer Bernstein. Right from the get-go, his electric, jazzy, and spectacular theme grabs you and never lets go. That theme recurs throughout the score – pulsing with the teeming life of the city, with wailing brass and insistent rhythms. Some cues keep the big-band jazzy feeling, while others are mournful and tender, as the story requires. It is, simply put, one of Bernstein’s best. Nobody did this kind of score better than Elmer Bernstein – it’s just filled with memorable melodies and stunningly gorgeous music. 1960 was a great year for Bernstein, what with The Rat Race and then one of his all-time masterpieces, The Magnificent Seven. The theme from The Rat Race enjoyed some popularity and radio play when it was recorded by cast member Sam Butera and the Witnesses.

This is the world premiere release of The Rat Race original soundtrack recording. There was an LP release of the Sam Butera version of the theme – an album called “Sam Butera and the Witnesses play the Music from The Rat Race,” but it was just the theme; the rest of the album was filled with standards. The original tapes, housed in Paramount’s vaults, were in excellent condition and we present Bernstein’s score in its entirety in stereo. In the bonus section we’ve included some mono source cues (all by Bernstein) and a couple of demos.

1. Seal/Main Title/Arrival
2. Wet Reception
3. Popsicles
4. Evicted/Platonic Propositions
5. Telephone Man Leaves
6. Bedtime
7. Spaghetti and Wine
8. Betrayed
9. Peggy is Cynical
10. Help from Nellie/New Sax’s/Decision
11. The Letter
12. Strip (part 1)
13. Strip (parts 2 & 3)
14. Police Station/Conclusion

15. Telephone Man Blues
16. Peggy’s Blues
17. Milwaukee
18. Fur Blues
19. Fur Cat
20. Peggy’s Blues
21. Betrayed (alternate)
22. Decision (alternate)
23. New York Theme (demo 1)
24. Love Theme (demo 2)

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