Frankly, my dear, the Kritzerland label has given us even more reasons to give a damn. On Monday morning, the label announced its latest releases: the first-ever CD release of the Original London Cast Recording of Gone with the Wind, the 1972 musical written by composer/lyricist Harold Rome (Wish You Were Here, Fanny, Pins and Needles) and librettist Horton Foote (To Kill a Mockingbird, Tender Mercies, The Trip to Bountiful), along with a two-on-one CD presenting Elmer Bernstein’s scores to Fear Strikes Out and The Tin Star, both from 1957.
Fear Strikes Out and The Tin Star are both 1957 Paramount pictures featuring scores by Bernstein and starring the pre-Psycho Anthony Perkins. Fear Strikes Out is the then-recent story of real-life baseball hero Jimmy Piersall (Perkins) and how Piersall overcame a nervous breakdown to enter the major league, signing with the Boston Red Sox in 1948 at age 18. It also marked the first film directed by Robert Mulligan, who later directed many classics including To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).
In The Tin Star, Perkins played a young and inexperienced sheriff opposite seasoned sheriff-turned-bounty-hunter Morgan Hickman, portrayed by the venerable Henry Fonda. This film was helmed by Anthony Mann, known for directing a string of successful westerns starring Jimmy Stewart. The Tin Star was an early western for Elmer Bernstein. He went on to become not only one of the most successful film score composers of all time, but one with a special place in his heart for the genre. Arguably his score to The Magnificent Seven is the most famous such score of all time, while others included The Shootist, The Sons of Katie Elder and the original True Grit. Bernstein’s trademark sound, rich in Americana, is recognizable on The Tin Star even in its embryonic state.
Neither of these Bernstein classics have ever appeared legitimately on CD before. Kritzerland’s release was mastered from the original tapes housed in the Paramount Pictures vaults, and the CD runs a packed 77-plus minutes. Both scores are in mono, and include never-before-heard unused cues or alternates.
Moving from screen to stage, those of you not familiar with the musical Gone with the Wind might be asking “Why?” And while noted critic Ken Mandelbaum asserted that “of all the musicals ever adapted to the musical stage, perhaps none cried out to be left alone as much as Gone with the Wind,” he correctly added that “[what] is surprising about the musical version of Gone with the Wind is that it was rather good.” And indeed, it was.
The cast album reissue, produced by Bruce Kimmel and remastered by James Nelson from EMI U.K.’s original album masters, presents the final stage score of Harold Rome, who began his Broadway career in 1940 and died in 1993. Rome’s score was an underrated, generally superb one and represented a bit of a stretch for the venerable composer, consisting of many lengthy musical sequences from which some melodic, lovely songs could be extracted. (One such song is entitled “Tomorrow is Another Day,” but Rome largely resisted simply aping lines from the novel and familiar film version.) Hit the jump for more on the story of Gone with the Wind, and full track listings and ordering information for both releases!
Gone with the Wind made its debut in Tokyo, Japan in January 1970 under the title Scarlett. A host of Broadway-honed American talents, including Rome and director/choreographer Joe Layton (Barnum), were brought on board by producers Kazuo Kikuta (who also wrote the Japanese libretto) and the Toho Company (the production company behind Godzilla!) to stage the musical at the city’s Imperial Theatre. After a successful stint in Japan, it was decided that the musical should next go on to London. It was less expensive and more critic-proof in London than New York, and it was also likely that British audiences didn’t feel as proprietary about the 1939 MGM film classic as American ones did. After all, Rome’s score was completely original and didn’t include Max Steiner’s sweeping “Tara’s Theme.” It was for the London production that acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote was enlisted to adapt Margaret Mitchell’s novel and the original Japanese libretto for English-speaking audiences. June Ritchie played Scarlett O’Hara while Harve Presnell portrayed Rhett Butler.
When the musical opened in May 1972 at Drury Lane, reviews were mixed, but the show eked out a respectable year-long run. The company recorded its production for EMI, and the decision was made to bring Gone with the Wind home to America. After plans fell through to stage the show in Atlanta, it was to begin a lengthy tour in California in the summer of 1973, produced by London impresario Harold Fielding under the banner of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Civic Light Operas. Lesley Ann Warren was signed to star as Scarlett, with Pernell Roberts her Rhett Butler. After the damning reviews, however, the 10-city, 44-week tour was scuttled and all notions of a Broadway berth abandoned. A new production opened in Dallas in 1976, but after that, Gone with the Wind disappeared, with its London Cast Recording out-of-print. (Not that others haven’t tried to musicalize Mitchell’s story since; a 2001 musical version was staged in Tokyo, while yet another short-lived musical adaptation played under Trevor Nunn’s direction in London in 2008. This London version wasn’t recorded and Rome’s score remained the superior one.)
Kritzerland’s reissue of Gone with the Wind is a limited edition of 1,000 copies, while The Tin Star/Fear Strikes Out is limited to 1,500. Both titles are due the third week of March, but pre-orders usually arrive an average of four weeks early. Both can be pre-ordered directly from the label for $19.98 each plus shipping and handling. The track listing and discographical information follow, along with pre-order links!
Elmer Bernstein, Fear Strikes Out/The Tin Star: Music from the Motion Pictures (rec. 1957 – released Kritzerland, 2011)
- Main Title
- A Rough Start
- We Won/Off to Work
- A Tragic Homecoming/Tragedy
- Signed by Boston/Jim Meets Mary/Scranton Wins
- Bridge to Proposal/Impossible Proposal/Telephone Tenderness
- Most Ardent Fan
- A Bundle of Nerves
- Shortstop Psychosis
- Got to Work/Temperamental Teammate
- Suspended/Don’t Let Me Down
- Piersall Collapses/Doctor Brown
- Therapy, Part 2
- Waiting/The Consultation
- Where Am I Today, Parts 1 and 2
- You’re Killing Me
- A New Life and Finale
- A Rough Start (Unused Alternate Version)
- The Tin Star and Prelude/A Stranger in Town (Dramatic Version)
- Bounty Hunter (Unused)
- Morg Meets Nona
- Kip’s Half-Injun
- Morg Saves Ben, Parts 1, 2 and 3 (Unused)
- The McGaffey Brothers (Unused)
- Good Indian
- An Ex-Sheriff
- New Patient
- Last Report
- Kip Follows Posse
- Morg Captures McGaffey, Parts 1, 2 and 3
- Bringing ‘Em Back Alive and Joyous Reunion (Unused)
- Ready for Action and Dead Silence (Unused)
All tracks previously unreleased. Tracks 1-19 from Fear Strikes Out; Tracks 20-34 from The Tin Star
Gone with the Wind: Original London Cast Recording (EMI/Columbia (U.K.) SCXA 9252, 1972 – reissued Kritzerland, 2011)
- Today’s the Day
- We Belong Together
- Two of a Kind
- Blissful Christmas/Home Again/Tomorrow is Another Day
- Lonely Stranger
- A Time for Love
- Which Way is Home
- How Often, How Often
- If Only
- A Southern Lady
- Marrying for Fun
- Blueberry Eyes
- Strange and Wonderful
- Little Wonders
- Bonnie Gone
- It Doesn’t Matter Now
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