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Number: VCLSRS2015

Composed by: Alex North

Music Composed by Alex North.

The release of any new Alex North CD is an event - but this disc is a doubly so. Not only does the latest release from Masters Film Music present the first-ever release of North’s 1955 score from "The Racers," but, as a particularly special bonus, the disc offers the long-awaited world premiere release of North’s remarkable "Daddy Long Legs" ballet. In addition to the two works found on this CD, 1955 saw North compose the monumentally popular "Unchained Melody," and pick up another Oscar nomination for his score for "The Rose Tattoo." "The Racers" is an obscurity for even Alex North’s most ardent fans. Starring Kirk Douglas and directed by Henry Hathaway, "The Racers" featured Douglas as Gino Borgesa, a successful but reckless driver whose goal is to become champion of the European racing circuit. The score features celebratory and vigorous themes for the races themselves, the composer’s famous Monte Carlo (which had been recorded and included on North’s North of Hollywood album), and some brilliantly dark and dramatic music for once of the film’s most tragic sequences. One of the composer’s finest love themes is heard in a variety of incarnations, including a wonderful vocal, performed here by the legendary Peggy Lee. "Daddy Longs Legs" was, unlike "The Racers,' a very successful film for Twentieth Century Fox. The film was Fred Astaire’s one and only picture for the studio and also starred a very young Leslie Caron. That Alex North was a prolific ballet composer with credentials reaching far and wide (Martha Graham and Anna Sokolow being among his choreographers) has been somewhat overshadowed by the tremendous fame he achieved with his film scores. Nevertheless, "Daddy Long Legs" provided the perfect opportunity to bring his genius as a ballet composer to the much larger audience of moviegoers. For "Daddy Long Legs," Alex North composed a ballet in three movements (Paris, Hong Kong and Rio), and an extraordinary work it is. Choreographed by Roland Petit, it is a spectacular and extravagant production. The stereo tapes for both scores weathered the years extremely well, but not entirely unscathed. Fortunately the damage was almost entirely confined to a little over a minute of "The Racers." Unfortunately, that minute is the first half of the Main Title.

1. Main Title (1:42)
2. Monte Carlo (1:09)
3. Much Too Close (1:03)
4. Roulette (2:26)
5. A Big Girl (1:44)
6. Grand Prix (:56)
7. Appartengo A Voi (1:38)
8. Monte Carlo Samba (1:58)
9. I Belong to You (2:57) Performed by Peggy Lee
10. Decision (7:51)
11. Truth (1:23)
12. I Belong to You (piano) (2:57)
13. Viendras Tu Ce Soir (2:40) Composed by Alfred Newman
14. Gino and Nicole (2:04)
15. 3 A.M. Blackjack (3:43)
16. I Need You (2:37)
17. End Title (:27)

18. Paris (4:02)
19. Hong Kong (3:21)
20. Rio (2:44)

THE RACERS - The CinemaScope process gets a rugged workout in Henry Hathaway's "The Racers." Kirk Douglas stars as an Italian bus driver who dreams of entering the Grand Prix as a world-famous race car driver. Being Kirk Douglas, he achieves his goal, racing in all the major events around the globe. Dedicated to the philosophy of "winning is the only thing", Douglas alienates his fellow racers and everyone else with whom he comes in contact. Only when he is on the verge of losing his sweetheart Bella Darvi does our hero put his priorities in order. Adapted from a novel by Hans Ruesch, "The Racers" was remade in a 60-minute version as Men Against Speed, an entry in the weekly TV anthology The 20th Century-Fox Hour. Also stars Lee J. Cobb, Bella Darvi, and Cesar Romero. 1955

DADDY LONG LEGS - This remake of the Jean Webster novel "Daddy Long Legs" was extensively revised to accommodate the talents of Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron. Fragments of the basic plot remain: American millionaire Astaire is the unknown benefactor of French orphan girl Caron, financing the girl's education on the proviso that his identity never be revealed to her. Moved by Caron's letters of thanks, Astaire's secretary Thelma Ritter advises Astaire to go to France to visit the "child". When he arrives, he finds that his ward has grown up rather nicely, and the two fall in love--though Caron never knows until the very end who Astaire really is. The old story has been updated to allow for an elaborate "cowboy" number and a couple of Eisenhower jokes. Highlights include a solo ballet by Caron and a wonderful Astaire routine involving a set of drums. Also stars Elizabeth Patterson (Mrs. Trumble from "I Love Lucy.") 1955

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