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FSM continues its presentation of the music of Bronislau Kaper and releases its first Max Steiner scores with this Warner Bros. Records “two-fer”: Auntie Mame and Rome Adventure.
Auntie Mame (1958) began life as a bestselling novel by Patrick Dennis before treading the boards on Broadway for 639 hit performances. Extolling her mantra of “live, live, LIVE,” the irreverent escapades of everyone’s favorite madcap aunt from Beekman Place features a feast of comic vignettes that showcase the comic brio of its legendary leading lady, Rosalind Russell. “Auntie Mame” became a household term, and to quote the film’s theatrical trailer, “And, brother, what a household!”
Bronislau Kaper was a longtime member of the M-G-M music department but was loaned to Warner Bros. to score Auntie Mame. He provided a symphonic banquet as heartwarming and “swellegant” as Mame herself. The album is a re-recording of the score’s highlights conducted (as it was in the film) by three-time Oscar winner Ray Heindorf. The second half of the album (side two on the vinyl) features a quintet of easy-listening arrangements of Kaper’s most famous film themes.
In Rome Adventure (1962), Suzanne Pleshette (in her film debut) leaves her assistant librarian position in the States to travel to Italy—“where they really know what love’s about”—finding it in the arms of American art student Troy Donahue. Based on the novel by Irving Fineman, the film costars Angie Dickinson, Hampton Fancher, trumpeter Al Hirt and “Italy’s gift to America”—Rossano Brazzi. From Rome to Verona to Pisa, the film features lush cinematography of Italy’s incomparable countryside, all set to Max Steiner’s romantic score.
Rome Adventure reunited Steiner with A Summer Place and Parrish star Donahue and writer/director Delmer Daves. Like water from the Trevi Fountain, Steiner’s score springs forth from the composer’s seemingly endless well of melodic themes. The requisite accordion and mandolin give the music an Old World, Italian flavor. The film also features Emilio Pericoli’s hit recording of “Al di La,” which Steiner incorporated as the love theme for the film. “Side Two” of the album features easy-listening arrangements of six Neapolitan favorites which were taken, at the time, from an earlier Warner Bros. Records release.
This premiere CD release of both the Auntie Mame and Rome Adventure soundtrack albums is newly remastered from the original 1/4' and 1/2' stereo album tapes, respectively. Liner notes are by James Lochner.