THE LEE HOLDRIDGE COLLECTION: VOLUME 3
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Dragon’s Domain Records is proud to release two more unique scores composed by Lee Holdridge (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, SPLASH) for a pair of high-profile television movies. Each film was based on the lives of real people, one battled the mob in gangster-run Chicago, and the other was the daughter of a major Mafia boss.
THE RETURN OF ELIOT NESS was the 1991 sequel to the classic THE UNTOUCHABLES (1959-1963) TV series, which fictionalized the true-life battle against organized crime in 1930s Chicago. Robert Stack returned in the role that made him famous as Ness is called out of retirement to solve the murder of one of his former associates. To capture the feel of the 1940s, Holdridge anchored his score within the jazz genre that was popular during that decade.
MAFIA PRINCESS was a 1986 telefilm adapted from Antoinette “Annette” Giancana’s biography. Susan Lucci played the lead with Tony Curtis as her father, Salvatore “Sam” Giancana. As film covered their tumultuous 40-year relationship, right up until Sam’s death in 1975, Holdridge sought inspiration from the many classic Italian folk tunes that the Giancana’s were sure to have listened to.
This third volume in Dragon’s Domain Records’ Lee Holdridge series has been mastered by James Nelson at Digital Outland from the original recordings, all under the supervision and approval the composer. Exclusive liner notes by author Randall D. Larson features new interview material with maestro Holdridge.
This CD set is a limited run of 500 units.
THE RETURN OF ELIOT NESS
1. Gang War In 1947, Chicago (3:11)
2. Ness Arrives / Madeline (3:30)
3. Cafe Stakeout / "I Want Ness Dead" (2:19)
4. Investigation Montage (1:37)
5. Bigger Than Capone / Lobby Hit (1:26)
6. Bobby Threatens Finnl (1:30)
7. Raid Montagel (3:37)
8. Finn Is Murdered / Madeline And Gil (1:57)
9. Ness Finds Bobby / Madeline Seduces Gil (3:36)
10. Bedroom Scene / “I’ve Got A Job To Finish” (2:20)
11. Molto Kills Madeline / Finale (3:12)
12. Hotel Lobby (1:23)
13. Radio Jazz (2:37)
14. Night Club Band (3:11)
15. Main Titles / Sam Arrives Home (1:52)
16. Sam Sneaks Into His Parents Apartment (1:09)
17. Sam’s Return (Unused) (0:23)
18. Praying At The Dinner Table (1:11)
19. Antoinette At The Convent (2:11)
20. Antoinette Arrives In Hollywood (1:34)
21. Mourning Mom / Antoinette’s Overdose (3:03)
22. Antoinette In Bed With Spiros / The Abortion (4:50)
23. Antoinette Opens Up / Dinner With Jimmy (4:00)
24. Sam’s Death / End Credits (3:48)
25. First Communion (2:31)
26. Smith's Speakeasy (4:25)
27. Night Club (3:01)
28. Tarantella Napoletana (2:41)
29. Wedding Dance (2:11)
30. Studio Chatter (0:14)
Total Time: 73:40
The Lee Holdridge Collection, Vol. 3 ****
The resume of composer Lee Holdridge is rich with film and television projects, but dominated by made-for-TV movies. Two soundtracks for the latter, both for movies revolving around underworld figures, have been paired for Dragon’s Domain’s The Lee Holdridge Collection, Vol. 3, and first up is 1991’s The Return of Eliot Ness, which saw Robert Stack reprising his role of Eliot Ness from the TV series The Untouchables.
The score’s main theme, introduced in “Gang War in 1947, Chicago,” is a brassy fanfare that channels George Gershwin with a hint of Ennio Morricone’s music from Brian De Palma’s 1987 Untouchables feature, interspersed with jazz stylings that end up typifying a good part of the score. The brief, menacing passage at the one-minute mark also bears stylistic similarities to Morricone.
Swirling string figures and rising horns build to the melody in “Ness Arrives,” while saxophone takes the lead in “Cafe Stakeout” and “Madeline.” “‘I Want Ness Dead’” sets the jazzy instrumentation towards sinister ends.
The fanfare leads to swinging jazz in “Investigation Montage,” with bass, muted trumpets and sax setting a slinky atmosphere. The jazz returns in an introspective fashion for “Bigger Than Capone/Lobby Hit.”
In “Bobby Threatens Finn,” muted horns provide an unusually subdued accompaniment to the conversation. The pace soon picks up in “Raid Montage,” which spotlights a lively combo of brass and low strings.
Electronics lend an impersonal edge to “Finn Is Murdered,” leading to ever more threatening brass renditions of the primary motif. Snare drums add to the melody as presented in “Madeline and Gil.”
Piano and alto sax abet the downbeat mood of “Ness Finds Bobby/Madeline Seduces Gil” before the main theme gradually enters. The melody reappears in “Bedroom Scene,” given an appropriately sensual take for piano. “‘I’ve Got a Job to Finish’” slows the motif down for French horn.
Subdued music leads to pounding chords as “Molto Kills Madeline,” after which English horn lends a funereal feeling to the main motif. “Finale” reprises the jazz combo scoring, ending things on an upbeat note.
In addition to the score proper, Holdridge provided a handful of source cues. “Hotel Lobby” sets a loungey piano against a muted cornet. Piano forms the backbone of “Radio Jazz,” assisted by bass and drum kit. Finally, “Night Club Band” recounts the fanfare on sax amidst a laid-back session.
Acting as a counterpart to The Return of Eliot Ness is the score for 1987’s Mafia Princess, a telefilm based on true events, and featuring All My Children’s Susan Lucci in the title role, with Tony Curtis as her mob boss father. The “Main Titles” lead off with a somber melody of strings and horns. Meanwhile, “Sam Arrives Home” floats along with a pseudo-Sicilian waltz version of the theme.
The clarinet and drums of “Sam Sneaks Into His Parents’ Apartment” make for an unexpectedly jaunty piece, while warm strings greet “Sam’s Return.” “Praying at the Dinner Table” features the main theme on soft piano.
Lucci’s Antoinette gets her own sweet melody, introduced in “Antoinette at the Convent,” for piano and flowing strings. One can’t help but imagine flappers dancing as the jazzy, Ragtime-influenced “Antoinette Arrives in Hollywood” plays out.
“Mourning Mom” receives tragic string work garnished with woodwinds, leading to “Antoinette’s Overdose,” where the ratio is flipped, prioritizing winds and heavy brass. “Antoinette in Bed With Spiros” reprises her melody on clarinet, while “The Abortion” is highlighted by a repeating bassoon motif overlaid with strings.
Antoinette’s theme sings out on romantic strings and plucked harp in “Antoinette Opens Up,” and on flute in “Dinner With Jimmy.” “Sam’s Death/End Credits” brings back the main motif once more, passing it throughout the orchestra.
As with The Return of Eliot Ness, the score program for Mafia Princess is followed by source pieces. “First Communion” commemorates the event with a liturgical organ and a soprano performing “Ave Maria.”
With its easygoing piano and bass, “Smith’s Speakeasy” is an attractive cue for jazz combo. “Night Club” continues the jazzy feeling, while “Tarantella Napoletana” provides an accordion cover of the Italian folk song.
“Wedding Dance” combines clarinet, concertina and guitar for a sweet tune. The album finally concludes with “Studio Chatter,” an outtake that captures a brief conversation from the recording sessions.
The Lee Holdridge Collection, Vol. 3 makes for a fine showcase of a pair of entertaining scores from the ever-underrated composer. —Tor Harbin