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Swashbuckling Sounds

When Nick Glennie-Smith composed the music for Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Man in the Iron Mask,” it was before the actor became simply Leo.

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Now “Iron Mask” is getting a “Titanic” boost from DiCaprio’s presence, earning a respectable $43.8 million so far, despite mediocre reviews. Glennie-Smith, however, doubts that his score will likewise be lifted in “Titanic”‘s giant wake: “I think “Titanic”‘s soundtrack sales [6.1 million copies and 11 weeks at number one] will be proven the exception rather than the rule.”

The “Iron Mask” album is selling an average amount for a soundtrack: 4,700 copies in its first two weeks, according to SoundScan. (John Williams’ score for “Amistad” sold 7,000 in the same amount of time, while Jerry Goldsmith’s “L.A. Confidential” sold just 600.) “It doesn’t seem that the ‘Titanic’ soundtrack has really sent people running to buy ‘Iron Mask,'” says “Billboard” columnist Cathy Appelfeld Olson.

Nonetheless, Glennie-Smith, who has written the scores for “The Rock” and “Home Alone 3,” got a taste of “Titanic”‘s reflective power when he attended the New York premiere of “Iron Mask.” “It was very Leonardo-driven,” he says about the event, which drew throngs of screaming teenaged girls. At the post-screening party at the New York Public Library, Glennie-Smith didn’t get to hobnob with the man who swashbuckled to his music, since DiCaprio was kept in a special VIP section. “Security was tight,” the composer recalls, “so it was a question of mingling in a less godlike portion of the building, while those with more famous faces were elsewhere.”

Famous faces are nothing new to Glennie-Smith, 46, who spent the bulk of the ’80s playing on the albums of such hitmakers as Paul McCartney, Tina Turner and Phil Collins. Now, he has largely abandoned session playing to concentrate on soundtracks. His next project: “The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride,” a straight-to-video sequel to the 1994 animated smash (the soundtrack of which sold 10 million copies). Who knows? Maybe he’ll get into Simba’s den at the premiere party.