How Green Was My Valley;Stormy Weather;Laura/Jane Eyre;The Day The Earth Stood Still;The Robe;Star!
One sign that film soundtracks are being taken more seriously by listeners and the music industry: The good old stuff is finally finding its way to CD in cleaned-up, digitally remastered versions. Twentieth Century Fox Film Scores has just released the first six titles in its Classic Series line, most in glorious mono and all but one taken directly from the soundtracks. Close your eyes, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. * HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941) Alfred Newman adapted folk melodies with openhearted lyricism for this John Ford drama about Welsh miners. B
* STORMY WEATHER (1943) Although the groundbreaking black musical sounds pretty stiff now, there’s plenty of swing left when Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, and the Tramp Band do their thing. B
* LAURA/Jane Eyre (1944/1943) A nice twofer: You get David Raksin’s classic Laura theme-maybe the most famous movie music ever-in a 27-minute suite version, plus one of Bernard Herrmann’s stark early scores. A/B+
* The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) One of the finest sci-fi movies is graced with one of Herrmann’s most daring scores, featuring electric violins, theremins, and other really weird stuff. Incredibly ahead of its time. A+
* The Robe (1953) The movie, a lumbering biblical epic, hasn’t stood the test of time, but Alfred Newman’s melodies still sound gorgeous. B+
* Star! (1968) Julie Andrews, as stage star Gertrude Lawrence, sings and dances through a history of British musical theater. The movie was a notorious flop; the CD reminds you why. C- -Ty Burr