“THE BELLS AND THE BANJOS”
Kritzerland is proud to offer a limited edition soundtrack – the world premiere release of two classic Elmer Bernstein scores on one CD:
LOVE WITH THE PROPER STRANGER
A GIRL NAMED TAMIKO
At long last, two of Elmer Bernstein’s most beautiful scores come to CD. Written during a period when he was creating one brilliant score after another, Love With The Proper Stranger and A Girl Named Tamiko rank with his all-time best.
Love With The Proper Stranger was released by Paramount Pictures in 1963, and reunited Bernstein with director Robert Mulligan, for whom he’d just scored the classic To Kill A Mockingbird, and, earlier, The Rat Race and Fear Strikes Out. Starring Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen, Love With The Proper Stranger was a hit with audiences and critics – its story was fairly adult for 1963, with its frank treatment of a girl who’s had a one-night stand and ended up pregnant. It walks a fine line between comedy and drama, from a harrowing scene with a back-alley doctor, to Wood and McQueen’s awkward attempts to start a relationship from this rocky beginning. The stars are absolute perfection, Mulligan directs simply and beautifully, and Arnold Schulman’s screenplay is wonderfully written.
But it’s the score by Bernstein that takes the film to a whole other level, just as his score for To Kill A Mockingbird took that film to a whole other level. His music is achingly beautiful, filled with longing and loneliness and the stirrings of romance. His approach to scoring the film was unique – the only actual score cues occur in scenes in which Wood and McQueen appear together – that approach brings focus to their relationship and it works perfectly. It’s prime Bernstein, and one of his finest scores.
A Girl Named Tamiko came out in 1962 and was also released by Paramount Pictures. John Sturges was Tamiko’s director; he and Bernstein had already worked together on the classic The Magnificent Seven, and the following year Bernstein would score another Sturges classic, The Great Escape. A Girl Named Tamiko was another film with subject matter that was quite adult for its day. Laurence Harvey stars as a disillusioned and bitter half Chinese/half Russian photographer living in Japan and doing everything he can to get a visa to live in the United States. To that end he begins a relationship with a woman he feels can help him achieve his goal (played intensely by Martha Hyer in a terrific performance), but becomes involved with a young highborn Japanese woman named Tamiko (played by France Nuyen) and much drama ensues. The Japanese scenery is gorgeously photographed and the supporting players are top notch and include Miyoshi Umeki, Gary Merrill, and Michael Wilding.
For this film, Bernstein created one of his most memorable themes, lush and beautiful, and the rest of the score, some of it tinged with an Oriental flavor, is just fantastic. It’s a richly varied score, with many terrific and memorable themes and even though the film may not be remembered today, the score remains a highlight in the Bernstein canon.
The two scores were transferred from the original three-track session tapes and both are presented here in beautiful stereo sound. Both scores are complete and include cues that did not end up in the film. The CD runs a very full seventy-eight minutes.
This release is limited to 1500 copies only. The price is $19.98 plus shipping.
CDs will ship by the last week of December – however, preorders placed directly through Kritzerland usually ship one to five weeks earlier (we’ve been averaging four weeks early).