2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
J. Kent Layton
- Publié sur Amazon.com
The 1979 film SOS Titanic is one of those rare gems for Titanic buffs. While it wasn't perfect, it certainly had much to offer in relating the story of the lost liner and the people who were aboard her. The original, lengthier version of the film was truly epic in the fresh way it told the story (starting with black-and-white period footage and narration of the general story, followed by the opening credits, before moving directly to the rescue of survivors; it then told the story of the voyage and disaster through a flashback). The later release, put out on commercial DVD for a short time, was stunning in its sound and picture quality; however, the film was hacked to bits and lost most of its more interesting moments.
No matter which version you saw, one thing was sure to stand out: the music! Howard Blake wrote a fantastic score for the film, one which really caught my attention when I was younger. Perhaps most fascinating - in those pre-James Cameron's Titanic years - was the film's fantastic use of period music to help move things along during the voyage. Whether it was the Irish music from Third Class or the finest musical finery of First Class, the songs selected told a story, and it was fantastic! However, the score and the period music were forever lost - or so it seemed.
As a Titanic researcher and author, and one who collects recordings period music as it would have been played aboard the liner's maiden voyage, as well as a film score aficionado, I had a three-fold interest in seeing the score (and the period music recordings used in the film) released. In my recent volume, "On A Sea of Glass: The Life & Loss of the RMS Titanic", I even made sure to include a full list of the period music contained in this film, in the hopes of helping stir interest in a release. My personal hopes were low, but then I found this!
Thirty tracks, all in very nice quality considering the age of the recordings, and a fantastic mix of authentic period music and the score - it's (almost) all here! The album is laid out almost chronologically for the film (depending on which version you watch), and is almost perfect. Below are some details:
1) "SOS Titanic Main Theme" - (Howard Blake) The original music for the period-footage intro and opening credits, employing the introducing the extremely effective main theme which will be re-used in variations throughout the film.
2) Hearts of Oak / Men of Harlech - (Period music) The music that the band on shore is playing when Beesley and Lee Goodwin board the ship.
3) Waltz From Eugene Onegin (Period music, Tchaikovsky) The music that the ship's band is playing on the Grand Staircase while Bruce Ismay talks to his wife and kids, and to Mr. & Mrs. John Jacob Astor (who, incidentally, did not really board the ship until Cherbourg, France, that evening).
4) Rule, Britannia! (Period music) - The music the shore-based band plays as the liner casts off. A stirring rendition of the famous tune.
5) Queenstown Harbour (Jig) (Period music, Irish traditional) - This is the music played as the tender steams out to the Titanic at Queenstown; here we are introduced to many of the Irish characters who we will see throughout the film. At the time of this writing, I believe that the title here is incorrect as given on the CD, and that the piece in question is actually the "Father O'Flynn Jig", a traditional Irish piece.
6) She Moved Through the Fair (Period music, Irish traditional) - This is a great Irish piece. The only problem is, I believe it doesn't actually appear in the film. Based on its location in the CD track list, and what the piece sounds like, I think I know what happened here, but I have to watch the movie again to make sure. It *sounds* very much like the tune being played when Beesley spies the "Irish Beauty" (not kidding, that was the credit name given to the character played by Antoinette O'Reilly, and who eventually began a relationship with Martin Gallagher's character) coming off the tender. However, I do not believe that this is the piece played in that scene. I actually believe that it was track 12 of this CD, entitled "Connemara Waltz" (more on that piece later) which was played during this scene. I do not remember hearing "She Moved Through the Fair" in the movie at all.
7) Roses From the South (Period music, Strauss) - Dinner music in First Class during Margaret Brown's conversation with the Astors and the entrance of the Countess, etc.
8) Madame Bonaparte (Jig) (Period music, Irish traditional) - This is the Irish piece played in the Third Class General Room when the boys are commenting on the lack of interaction with the ladies, and the lack of interesting ladies to interact with.
9) Mr. Moon-ManTurn off the Light (Period music, 1911, Fred Barnes / R. P. Weston, from the musical "Little Miss Fix-It") - The correct title of this song is, "Turn Off Your Light, Mr. Moon Man". It was recorded by Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth (celebrities of the period). This piece is used in the film when the people are dancing after dinner (I believe the scene was set in the Cafe Parisien), and when Margaret Brown (she was not then known as "Molly" as is so often quipped in the film; that only came later) is talking with her friend Emma Bucknell. The vocal portion heard in the scene is retained in this recording - a nice touch!!!
10) Elite Syncopations (Period music, 1902, Scott Joplin) - A classic rag as it would have been played by the bandsmen aboard the Titanic. The placement on the CD is incorrect; it was actually played in by the Grand Staircase when the passengers are preparing to evacuate the ship, donning lifebelts, etc., after the ship hits the iceberg.
11) I'm Bidding You A Long Farewell (Period music, Irish traditional) - The actual correct name of this piece is "The Irish Emigrant", and it is a traditional Irish piece. It was sung in the General Room scene leading up to the Gallagher / Irish Beauty dance. The vocal portions are retained as heard in the film - excellent touch!!!
12) Connemara Waltz (??) - Here I stumble into the real mystery music of the film. Was it an authentic period Irish tune, or one written by Blake for the scene? I have corresponded with the composer, and he recalled it was an authentic Irish piece. I have been unable to find the piece independentely through traditional Irish music sites / music buffs. There is a piece called the "Queen of Connemara Waltz", but that does not sound like this tune. Additionally, this track is actually played when Beesley spots the Irish Beauty disembarking the tender in Queenstown (where "She Moved Through The Fair" sits now). The version played in this spot of the film - the dance between Martin Gallagher and "The Irish Beauty" is different, much longer, and is the recording I have been looking for of all recordings. I desperately wish that recording was on this disc, and this is, in my estimation, the only true flaw of the release. Perhaps if the disc is pressed a second time for continued release, this correction can be made? (If so, please comment on this review).
13) Every Little Movement (Period music, 1910, Karl Hoschna / Otto Harbach for the musical "Madame Sherry") - This is the piece which Irene Harris is singing along to as she descends the Grand Staircase for dinner, slips and falls, breaking her arm. (This event, little known, actually happened to Mrs. Harris on the voyage.)
14) I'm Falling In Love With Someone (Period music, 1910, Victor Herbert for the musical "The Naughty Marietta") - One of the highlights of the CD for me. In the film, it is played as First Class passengers such as the Astors dance into the night - interspersed with chaotic score music as the scene cuts back and forth between scenes of dancing and scenes of icebergs. Fortunately, this track contains only the period music, which I have never been able to find in a similar recording elsewhere.
15) Isn't It Grand, Boys? (Period music, Irish traditional) - The Third Class passengers sing along in the General Room on the night of April 14, shortly before the ship hits the iceberg. No words of the group singing along are retained in this track (I miss it a bit, but by the same token the "b----y" word used in the chorus might prove offensive to some in Britain and Ireland.)
16) Titanic Waltz (Howard Blake) - This is actually a piece composed by Howard Blake for the scene where Beesley and Ms. Goodwin have their walk on deck. The music plays from within the ship while they talk, and is very faint. It truly sounds like an authentic period piece... Blake did a fantastic job on this.
17) The Hit (Howard Blake) - Titanic strikes the iceberg in this particularly hair-raising piece. It competes with "Hard a'Starboard!" by James Horner from Titanic in quality for a truly frightening scene (even if you know it's coming from the start, you would do anything to prevent it from happening by this point in the movie). The only thing I noticed is that there is a very, very loud tinkling sound (not sure of the instrument) that overpowers the main tune a bit on this recording, and which I do not remember being quite so loud in the film version.
18) SOS to the Carpathia (Howard Blake) - Fantastic music as the Titanic sends its wireless distress calls.
19) SOS Come Quickly (Howard Blake) - More action music for the sinking scenes; I believe this is correctly placed and has to do with Thomas Cottam on the Carpathia telling Captain Rostron that Titanic is saying 'Please hurry, old man...'
20) Abandon Ship (Howard Blake) - More original score for the sinking sequences. I can't remember exactly where it went; it's been a few months since I watched the movie last, but I know it's in there.
21) Bethena (Period music, 1905, Scott Joplin) - A fantastic waltz by ragtime composer Scott Joplin. This particular version is played in the scene where Martin Gallagher and the men from Third Class part with The Irish Beauty and the Irish girls in the First Class Dining Saloon. A nearly perfect rendition of the piece.
22) Beesley's Jump (Howard Blake) - Fantastic music surrounding Beesley's jump into Boat No. 13.
23) Day of Judgement (Howard Blake) - As chaos mounts, Murdoch pulls a revolver and fires into the air to keep passengers from rushing a collapsible lifeboat.
24) God of Mercy (Autumn) (Period hymn) - A recording of the hymn Autumn which, it was felt by historians for a time, might have been the last piece played by the band as the ship sank. The research does not indicate at this time that it is the correct piece for the scene, however, it was played in the movie and appears as it did in the film.
25) The Sinking of the Titanic (Howard Blake) - Titanic founders.
26) Survivors (Howard Blake) - I believe that this piece was played in the beginning portions of the long version of the film, when the Carpathia officers first spy the lifeboats approaching in the water.
27) Desolation (Howard Blake) - A very sad piece of music as people perish in the icy sea.
28) 'There Is No God' (Boarding the Carpathia) (Howard Blake) - Dazed widows refuse soup from a helpful Carpathia passenger, while Mrs. Astor claims that 'God went down with the Titanic.'
29) SOS Titanic End Titles (Howard Blake) - An extremely effective reprise of the main theme over the ending credits, with icebergs on camera.
30) Bethena (Bonus Track) (Period music, 1905, Scott Joplin) - A different recording of Joplin's waltz Bethena, this one is piano solo. The piano is grossly out of tune, adding character and sadness to the piece. I actually am almost certain that this track was played as the Third Class passengers break through the gate from Third Class (on the outer decks) and Mr. & Mrs. Harris say farewell at the edge of the deck. Why it's placed here as a 'bonus' track is not certain. However, I am very glad it is on the disc, as it is the piece that inspired me to take piano lessons nearly twenty years ago. Although the entire piece isn't played the main theme is repeated several times in some very nice variations.
This is a nearly-perfect release... Beyond the missing version of the "Connemara Waltz" from the dance scene in the General Room, there is only the spurious "She Moved Through The Fair" track, there is only one other omission I can think of: the "Irish Washerwoman" piece from the General Room accompanying the rat chase and leading to the sighting of the iceberg. If those few little things were fixed, this would be the ideal soundtrack to the film. I am very pleased to add this disc to my collection, and I have been wearing it out playing it for the past few days.
KUDOS to Howard Blake for putting such a nice release together, and to the company for making it available to the public!