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Name: VARESE CLUB
Number: OOPVCL08051039

F.I.S.T. (FIST) & SLOW DANCING IN THE BIG CITY (CD)
Composed by: Bill Conti

SEALED - ONLY 1 AVAILABLE

Johnny Kovac, a character that seemed loosely based on Teamsters chief Jimmy Hoffa. Norman Jewison, a five-time Academy Award nominee (and director of 1967 Best Picture In the Heat of the Night), claims he had signed Stallone before "Rocky" made the struggling actor/writer an overnight star. Jewison had wanted to make a labor-related film since the early '60s, but could never synchronize the right property with sufficient financing until the "F.I.S.T." script came his way.

Jewison sought to create an atmosphere of period authenticity for the film, with Dubuque, Iowa standing in for the early Cleveland of the film's first half. He wanted Bill Conti's scoring efforts on "F.I.S.T." to echo those sensibilities; a big orchestra producing largely period sounds.

"The director, Norman Jewison, wanted the movie to feel like it was the kind of movie made in the 40s that had a big orchestra and a lot of music. But (he emphasized) it was still the story of oppression and that the theme had to reflect on one’s striving really hard. But the main view was to try to recreate those movies that we had done in the 40s."

Conti rose to Jewison's challenge, and then some. Performed with graceful, yet energetic dignity by the London Symphony Orchestra, in a stunning recording made for the soundtrack album, the composer’s cues for "F.I.S.T." bristle with a sort of Hollywood Golden Age bravado, yet come often imbued with the composer’s own, distinctly modern sensibilities.

As a very special bonus for this CD we add another of Conti’s 1978 scores, "Slow Dancing In The Big City." Director John G. Avildsen’s follow-up to his "Rocky" phenom was a decided left-turn, if one that still revolved around underdog themes. It cast Paul Sorvino as gruff New York newspaperman Lou Friedlander, columnist in the Jimmy Breslin mold, whose tough heart melts when he falls in love with young ballerina Sarah Gantz.

Aside from its gorgeously fragile title music and effusively romantic evocations, like the tender, piano seasoned "Rooftop Dancing" and "The Ovation," "Slow Dancing" afforded Conti the opportunity to indulge his talents in everything from Latin flavored jazz (the frenetic "T.C. Salsa") to the lengthy, classically rooted dance centerpiece Balletto.

With so few of his scores ever released as soundtracks, Conti’s career is ripe for re-discovery. For our part we revisit "F.I.S.T." and "Slow Dancing In the Big City," a pair of long lost scores from 1978 representing some of Bill Conti’s earliest and best work.

F.I.S.T.

1. Main Title (Theme from F.I.S.T.) (2:42)
2. F.I.S.T. Is Formed (1:58)
3. Preparing To Strike (1:51)
4. Torching The Tent (1:42)
5. My Friend Abe (1:45)
6. Convention and Election (1:58)
7. Kissing In The Closet (3:06)
8. The Big Strike (2:01)
9. Funeral For Mike (1:40)
10. Enlistment Drive (1:48)
11. Johnny Goes To Washington (2:08)
12. Doyle’s Men (1:16)
13. Lights Out (1:43)
14. End Title (4:05)

SLOW DANCING IN THE BIG CITY

15. Slow Dancing In The Big City (3:02)
16. Good Night (1:29)
17. You Can’t Dance Again (2:24)
18. Alone In Lincoln Center (2:28)
19. Rooftop Dancing (2:14)
20. T.C. Salsa (3:48)
21. Balletto (7:04)
22. The Ovation (4:31)
23. Blue Evening Vocal by Michael Dees (J. Bishop / G. Jenkins) (5:01)

F.I.S.T. - "F.I.S.T." is author Norman Jewison's chronicle of an innocent and idealistic young man corrupted by power and success as seen through the rise of the United States labor movement. Sylvester Stallone plays a Jimmy Hoffa-inspired figure who rises through the union ranks during turbulent labor times. The film begins in 1937 during the burgeoning of the labor movement. Johnny Kovak (Sylvester Stallone) works on the dock unloading trucks for Win Talbot's (Henry Wilcoxon) trucking company. He turns to organizing the truckers for union representative Mike Monahan (Richard Herd). When Monahan is killed in a fight by strong-arm men hired by the company, Johnny becomes involved with Vince Doyle (Kevin Conway), the local gangster. After an angry response by the union, culminating in a massive riot, Johnny firmly aligns himself with Doyle, and the mob gets its meathooks further into the union. Thanks to the infusion of mob support, the union grows rich and powerful, along with Johnny. By the end of the 1950s, Johnny has so much power that he even manages to blackmail international union leader Max Graham (Peter Boyle) out of his job. Johnny is sitting on top of the world - that is, until crusading United States senator Andrew Madison (Rod Steiger) targets Johnny's union for a federal investigation. 1978

SLOW DANCING IN THE BIG CITY - This sentimental tearjerker is also a slice of New York life melodrama directed by John G. Avildsen as his followup to the career-high smash success of Rocky (1976). Paul Sorvino stars as Lou Friedlander, a Manhattan newspaper columnist who is instantly smitten by Sarah Gantz (Anne Ditchburn, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her debut performance). A ballerina who's just moved into Lou's apartment building after a break-up with her boyfriend, Sarah soon gets the news that she is terminally ill and should quit her strenuous dancing career. Despite the medical advice, she continues anyway, and Lou begins writing a piece for his employer about her valiant struggle. As he assembles the article, he and Sarah begin to fall in love. At the same time, Lou is also nurturing a story about an orphaned Hispanic kid who's a junkie but is managing to rise above the harshness of life on the city's ghetto streets. The Friedlander character was reportedly inspired by and loosely modeled upon writer Jimmy Breslin. 1978

  
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