The legendary American actor James “Jimmy” Stewart (1908-1997) could boast of career highlights in virtually every genre of cinema, from comedies to dramas, westerns to thrillers. Two of Stewart’s brightest comic moments are being recalled on a new two-for-one soundtrack release from the fine folks at Kritzerland. Henry Mancini’s score to 20th Century Fox’s Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, from 1962, has been paired with George Duning’s score to the same studio’s Dear Brigitte (1965) for the label’s latest soundtrack release, available now for pre-order.
Henry Mancini was one of the most famous musicians on the planet when he penned the score to Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation. A two-time Oscar winner and ten-time (!) Grammy winner, Mancini had sold over a million records with his jazzy scores for television’s Peter Gunn and Mr. Lucky and Hollywood’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, all in collaboration with director Blake Edwards. The assignment came in a busy year for the music man. 1962 also saw Mancini compose scores for Edwards’ thriller Experiment in Terror and drama The Days of Wine and Roses, both at Warner Bros., as well as Howard Hawks’ adventure Hatari! at Paramount. (The original soundtrack to Hatari! at long last was issued this year from the Intrada label.) Clearly, versatility was among Mancini’s many assets.
Mr. Hobbs, directed by Henry Koster and written by Nunnally Johnson, was based on Edward Streeter’s novel and starred Stewart as a comically beleaguered bank executive who finds his vacation anything but relaxing. Maureen O’Hara was cast as Stewart’s wife, Lauri Peters (later of The Sound of Music) played his daughter, and teen idol Fabian took the role of her boyfriend. Mancini’s short score (about 39 minutes in length) had a great amount of source music drawing on both jazz and the youthful sound of rock-and-roll; Johnny Mercer wrote the lyric to Mancini’s melody for teen novelty “Cream Puff,” sung in the film by Fabian and Peters.
Despite a felicitous soundtrack with Mancini in bright, melodic mode, no soundtrack to Mr. Hobbs was issued at the time of its release. The same went for Days of Wine and Roses. Both Experiment in Terror and Hatari! received re-recordings from Mancini on his home label, RCA Victor. Intrada premiered the original Hobbs score in 2003 as a Special Collection title. As that edition is long out-of-print, Kritzerland is bringing the title back as part of this Jimmy Stewart two-fer. It’s made some tweaks to the Intrada release, including a new remastering and the shifting of some source pieces to the bonus section to avoid interruption of Mancini’s dramatic scoring. Two demos from the Intrada CD have been retained.
Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation will be paired with Dear Brigitte on the new CD. Hit the jump for details, plus the full track listing!
Director Henry Koster had a long association with James Stewart, having directed him to a Best Actor Academy Award nomination in 1950’s Harvey. An Academy Award nominee himself for 1947’s The Bishop’s Wife, Koster also excelled in family comedies. He reunited with Stewart just three years after they made Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation for the film Dear Brigitte. This time around, Stewart starred as Prof. Robert Leaf, whose precocious son Erasmus (Billy Mumy, who would begin work on Lost in Space for Fox’s television division later in 1965) develops a crush on Brigitte Bardot – who else? Soon, the ardent Erasmus is invited to visit Bardot in France, where craziness expectedly ensues! In addition to Bardot as herself, the cast also included Glynis Johns (Mary Poppins, A Little Night Music), Alice Pearce (the first Mrs. Kravitz on television’s Bewitched), Ed Wynn, and Fabian once again!
George Duning (1908-2000) composed the score to Dear Brigitte. Though not nearly as renowned as Mancini, Duning was an accomplished musician with five Academy Award nominations under his belt (The Eddy Duchin Story, Picnic, From Here to Eternity, No Sad Songs for Me, Jolson Sings Again). In his long career, he composed over 300 scores including many for the original Star Trek series. Kritzerland’s release of Duning’s score for Dear Brigitte marks its first-ever appearance in any record format.
Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation/Dear Brigitte is available now for pre-order at Kritzerland. It’s a limited edition of 1,000 copies, and the price is $19.98 plus shipping and handling. It’s due to arrive the first week of September, but copies pre-ordered from the label arrive an average of four weeks early!
Henry Mancini and George Duning, Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation/Dear Brigitte (Kritzerland, 2012)
- Main Title/San Francisco
- The Captain
- Mad Prof/Disturbed Prof
- Magical Moment/Wise Dog
- Erasmus the Brain
- Is It a Trick?
- At the Bank/The Error/Pan Flips
- Puzzled Cap’n/Final
- Hey Dad
- Cap’n Lights Pipe/You’re Finished
- Number Eleven/Fund Building/Swank Café
- She Sank
- B.B.’s Letter
- On to B.B.’s
- Brigitte’s Gift/Erasmus Kissed
- Villain Upjohn/End Title
- End Title (Alternate)
- Main Title
- A Month Off
- Cream Puff
- Up His Nose
- Early to Rise
- Roger and Peggy
- Boompa/Night Night
- Something for Lauri
- Honest Joe/The Quiet Side
- Rudders and Sails
- All Clear/Red Cap
- Barn Swallow
- About Last Night
- Farewell to Vacation
- Cast and End Title
- B Cups and Braces
- Yacht Club Hop
- Side Winder
- Hobbs’ Bigtime Swing
- Cream Puff (Combo Demo)
- Mr. Hobbs’ Theme (Combo Demo)
- Pizza Heaven/Cream Puff (Vocal) - Fabian & Lauri Peters
Tracks 1-18 from Dear Brigitte, previously unreleased
Tracks 18-39 from Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, previously released on Intrada Special Collection Vol. 11