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This is FSM's fifth CD release of Colpix Records LPs, this one featuring classic scores by Clifton Parker and Maurice Jarre, and it requires a bit of introduction.
Our first three CDs, The Devil at 4 O’Clock/The Victors, Lord Jim/The Long Ships and Bell, Book and Candle/1001 Arabian Nights were remastered from the original tapes held by Rhino Entertainment Company. However, Diamond Head/Gone With the Wave had to be mastered from vinyl when the surviving master tapes turned out to be monaural (for Diamond Head) or made from a record in the first place (for Gone With the Wave). The result was so well received that we have proceeded with this CD—from vinyl—of two of the most collectible soundtracks in the Colpix library, Damn the Defiant! and Behold a Pale Horse, for which the masters long ago disappeared.
Damn the Defiant! (1962) was a seafaring adventure offering a twist on the familiar story of Mutiny on the Bounty: here the sea captain, played by Alec Guinness, is the humanitarian, while the first officer, Lt. Scott-Padget (Dirk Bogarde) is a ruthless career opportunist—and borderline torturer—whom the captain is at pains to keep at bay. The film featured intriguing character conflicts as well as exciting action scenes.
Scoring Damn the Defiant! (known in England as H.M.S. Defiant) was British composer Clifton Parker (Sink the Bismarck!), who had a knack for adventure films and particularly those involving maritime subjects. Damn the Defiant! fell squarely in this tradition, and he provided a noble sense of British home and hearth being defended by those at sea. The film features fine, symphonic seafaring music and moments of action as well as warmth.
Behold a Pale Horse (1964) was a historical drama dealing with the repercussions of the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War. Gregory Peck starred as a Spanish exile and guerrilla leader who must decide whether to return to Spain and risk capture by corrupt Spanish police captain Anthony Quinn. Omar Sharif gives a fine performance as a priest of crucial importance to Peck's decision. The film was directed by Fred Zinnemann with an almost European neorealist sensibility.
Maurice Jarre provided a score for Behold a Pale Horse as intimate and restrained as Lawrence of Arabia was grand and epic. The orchestration is small, focused on idomatic Spanish guitar and solo instruments like harp, harpsichord and woodwinds. The music features Jarre's inimitable sense of melody and a praiseworthy, delicate sensibility.
Both Colpix LPs are presented in complete form, mastered from mint, stereo copies of the vinyl, with Behold a Pale Horse adding the two unique tracks from the monaural French Colpix EP that was released at the time of the film. Liner notes are by Lukas Kendall.