This score garnered friedhofer an Oscar nomiantion and it was ceratinly a worthy contender. This and the main title from his THE SUN ALSO RISES are two of the most arresting title themes in all of film music. Simply spectacular.
I promised myself a break from the FSM Board, but every time someone mentions ABOVE AND BEYOND I just have to jump in and say that it's absolute perfection, and anybody who hasn't got it yet is a nincompoop.
There were a number of great melodists (if that's a word) among the golden age composers, but for me Friedhofer's themes were the most dazzlingly complex and yet beautiful of them all. They just seem to unfold as you listen. ABOVE & BEYOND, BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, THE SUN ALSO RISES and THE BARBARIAN & THE GEISHA are each amazing themes in their own ways. I've never tired of hearing these across the years. It's a shame the SOLDIER OF FORTUNE tapes were in such degraded condition, because the music we hear on the FSM disc is quite good despite the sound problems. I pretty much buy any Friedhofer release that appears, and have seldom been disappointed. (I guess THIS EARTH IS MINE would rank as the least distinguished of Hugo's scores I've heard.)
I'm not so sure about the film. It seems to give more weight to the couple's marital problems than to the infinitely more challenging subject of the bomb. There are films (GWTW most famous among them) that can make a personal drama seem compelling against a large historical canvas, but this was not one of them. Also, I believe much of the music was never used in the film. I discovered some good music from the FSM release, but I was very disappointed when I finally caught up with the movie.
Since there's a Fourth of July FSM sale going on, I wanted to plug this astounding Friedhofer score. I pulled it out to listen to over Memorial Day and this great music compelled me to finally watch the Robert Taylor/Eleanor Parker (shining in the somewhat thankless role of the befuddled and distraught wife) tale of the pilot of the Enola Gay. It's a fine, fine film, to which Friedhofer's score adds immeasurably. Very sad the stereo masters didn't survive (I would love to hear a re-recording of at least the stirring main theme), but it still sounds great in mono.
If you don't have ABOVE AND BEYOND by Hugo Friedhofer, this is a great opportunity to pick it up!
I just happened upon this revived thread and totally agree that this is a superlative Friedhofer score. If you don't have it, grab it now. The movie was so well done and features probably my favorite actor in films from the late 40s, 50s and 60s, James Whitmore. I just love everything he did.