No More Wire Hangers! Henry Mancini’s “Mommie Dearest” Joins Christopher Komeda’s “Rosemary’s Baby” On CD (UPDATED)
Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and La-La Land Records is celebrating with a couple of releases celebrating some, ahem, very unusual mothers. No, the world premiere of the soundtrack to Psycho isn’t among the duo, but this pair just might be the next best thing. On May 8, the label will issue Henry Mancini’s score to 1981’s cult campfest Mommie Dearest and Christopher (Krzysztof) Komeda’s score to 1968’s horror classic Rosemary’s Baby, both from the vaults of Paramount Pictures.
Almost two years before the publication of Christina Crawford’s 1978 bestseller Mommie Dearest, and one year before Joan Crawford’s death, the legendary actress told her friend and future biographer Charlotte Chandler that her daughter Christina was “using my name strictly to make money.” She continued, “I suppose she doesn’t think that I’m going to leave her enough or that I’m going to disappear soon enough.” Referring to her adoption of Christina, she resignedly sighed, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Christina Crawford had announced plans for her tell-all book during Joan Crawford’s lifetime, and when the memoir finally hit stores following the actress’ death, readers couldn’t get enough of it. Naturally, Hollywood came calling, and the image of Joan Crawford was perhaps redefined forever thanks to Faye Dunaway’s go-for-broke performance in the sensationalistic film. Her New York Times obituary stated that “Miss Crawford was a quintessential superstar—an epitome of timeless glamour who personified for decades the dreams and disappointments of American women.” But Mommie Dearest, both the novel and the film, painted her as an abusive, violent and self-absorbed shrew prone to attacks over the presence of wire hangers in her daughter’s closet.
Though the film was not a critical success – Roger Ebert opined, “I can’t imagine who would want to subject themselves to this movie” – it fascinated the public, much as the book had. But one well-received aspect of director Frank Perry’s over-the-top adaptation was Henry Mancini’s lush score, recalling the glamorous Hollywood setting while staying true to the film’s more chilling (if rather over-dramatic) aspects. La-La Land’s 51-minute soundtrack album (the very first for Mommie Dearest) features the score as heard in the film plus outtakes, source cues and alternate tracks. Jeff Bond recounts the lurid story behind the movie in his new liner notes. Whether you believe Mommie Dearest is a vicious attack on a screen icon, a story that needed to be told, or simply a deliciously entertaining “popcorn” flick, Mancini’s melodic score stands on its own. La-La Land’s Mommie Dearest is a limited edition of 2,000 copies. This has been a good year for Mancini fans (and it’s only May), with this long-awaited title following Kritzerland’s recent, sold-out CD reissue of the maestro’s score to another Paramount Picture, The Molly Maguires!
Hit the jump to visit Rosemary’s Baby!
Director Roman Polanski’s adaptation of Ira Levin’s contemporary horror novel Rosemary’s Baby could hardly be more different than Mommie Dearest. In fact, Polanski and producer Robert Evans represented the New Hollywood that edged out the studio system that created stars such as Joan Crawford. For Rosemary’s Baby, Polanski assembled a starry cast led by Mia Farrow as Rosemary. She was supported by a blend of veterans and new faces including Academy Award winner Ruth Gordon, John Cassavetes, Maurice Evans, Patsy Kelly, Ralph Bellamy and Charles Grodin. Farrow portrayed Rosemary, a young wife in modern-day New York City who becomes caught in a web of occult worship that affects her, her husband and their child whom she carries.
The film, Polanski’s first American motion picture, was met with widespread critical acclaim. Variety noticed the “exhilarating milestones” it had reached, while Roger Ebert acknowledged that it was “much more than just a suspense story; the brilliance of the film comes more from Polanski’s direction, and from a series of genuinely inspired performances.” He also, accurately, described it as a “creepy film,” quite an understatement! Paramount and Universal Music have teamed with La-La Land for this expanded CD release of the score by Christopher Komeda. A pioneering figure on the Polish jazz scene, Komeda was a frequent collaborator of Polanski’s. The limited edition of 3,000 is likely the last word on the film’s score, and includes the original soundtrack album, the film score, source music and bonus tracks. Neil Bulk and Chris Malone have restored the film’s original mono tracks, and liner notes have been added by Scott Bettencourt and John Takis.
Both Mommie Dearest and Rosemary’s Baby are on sale now. Happy Mother’s Day!
Henry Mancini, Mommie Dearest: Music from the Paramount Motion Picture (La-La Land Records LLLCD 1209, 2012 – original film released 1981)
- Main Title
- Of Shoes and Socks
- My Darling Daughter
- A Lovely Day *
- On Your Mark
- The Little Star */Bye Bye Greg
- Spoiled Children
- Battle Axe
- A Test of Wills
- No Wire Hangers *
- Uncle Daddy/She’s Drunk/First Kiss
- Home Again *
- No More Pain *
- End Credits
- Birthday Party (Source)
- Isn’t It Romantic?/June in January (Source)
- I’m Sitting on Top of the World (Source)
- Christmas Music (Away in a Manger/Silent Night) (Source)
- Tangerine/To Each His Own (Source)
- Minuet in F (from “Water Music”) (Source)
- Winner: Ray Miland/Winner: Joan Crawford/Joan Crawford Playoff (Source)
- Spoiled Children (Alternate)
- Battle Axe (Alternate Mix)
* denotes track not used in film. All tracks previously unreleased.
Christopher Komeda, Rosemary’s Baby: Music from the Motion Picture (La-La Land Records LLCD 1210, 2012 – original film released 1968)
- Lullaby from “Rosemary’s Baby,” Part 1 - Mia Farrow
- The Coven
- Moment Musical
- Main Title (Vocal) - Mia Farrow
- Rosemary’s Party
- Through the Closet
- What Have You Done to Its Eyes
- Happy News
- Main Title
- Furnishing the Apartment
- The Pain/How to Prepare a Good Steak/The Ear
- Holiday Music
- After the Call to Hutch/Good Appetite
- Lullaby/Crib Sequence
- Book About Witchcraft/The Horrible Doctor/The Fragrance
- The Horrible Doctor #2/The Short Dream
- The Iron Bars/Elevator-Lift/Dr. Sapirstein and Syringe
- Path to Pit of Evil #1
- Path to Pit of Evil #2-3
- What Have You Done?
- End Title
- Moment Musical (Source)
- Bossa Nova (Source)
- TV Music (Source)
- Moment in Time (Source)
- Moment Musical Jazz (with Piano Solo) (Source)
- Lullaby from “Rosemary’s Baby” (Main Title film soundtrack excerpt)
- Lullaby from “Rosemary’s Baby,” Part 2 – Mia Farrow
Tracks 1-12 released as Dot Records DLP-25875, 1968. Portions of Tracks 13-35 released on Harkit Records HRKCD 8135 (U.K.), 2005. Track 36 released as Dot single B-side 45-17126, 1968.