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The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973)
Music by Michel Legrand, John Williams
The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $14.96
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: March 2002
Catalog #: Vol. 5, No. 4
# of Discs: 1

Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music.

In 1973 The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing made headlines more for its behind-the-scenes shenanigans than its artistic accomplishment. A beautifully shot western and love story starring Burt Reynolds and Sarah Miles, both leads were called to testify in court after the mysterious death (later ruled a suicide) of Miles's manager/boyfriend on location. Later, Reynolds suffered a hernia while filming a fight scene and had to be hospitalized, leaving director Richard C. Sarafian and M-G-M scrambling to the make the film's release date.

The backstage drama even extended to the film's scoring. Composer Michel Legrand had been hired by the original director, Brian Hutton, and wrote and recorded an unusual, meditative score—his first for a western—featuring Indian chants (performed by Legrand himself) and ethnic instrumentation. The filmmakers quickly decided to go in a different direction, and hired John Williams, then proving himself as the brightest of his generation of composers but still a few years away from international fame—who had one week to write and record his score.

Despite the rushed schedule, Williams succeeded with a cross between the symphonic, Coplandesque Americana of The Cowboys (1972) and the quirky, pop-based riffs of The Missouri Breaks (1976), featuring a memorable main theme in his inimitible "blue note" style (The Reivers, Rosewood). The score is a lost gem from Williams's pre-Jaws but post-comedy career, during which he was a master at providing sparse but effective—and always melodic—scores for delicate dramas such as Cinderella Libety, The Paper Chase and The Sugarland Express, with larger symphonic refrains in the classic Williams style.

FSM's CD features Williams's complete, previously unreleased score for The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, including deleted and alternate cues. It also features Legrand's complete recorded score, including a six-minute jazz improvisation on his main theme—not only previously unreleased, but previously unheard. The all-stereo CD is a priceless and rare opportunity to hear two distinguished composers' take on the same cinematic subject matter. Liner notes are by John Williams webmaster Jeff Eldridge.

Michel Legrand Scores on FSM
About the Composer

French composer Michel Legrand (b. 1932) is a heralded composer, songwriter and performer whose film projects range from seminal "new wave" films of the 1950s and '60s to Hollywood projects like The Thomas Crown Affair and Ice Station Zebra, capable of everything from traditional symphonic scores to offbeat pop and classical approaches. He was particularly tuned into the pop Zeitgeist in the late 1960s and early '70s, and often performed (piano and voice) on his soundtracks. He continues to stay active as a composer and performer for film, records and concerts. IMDB

John Williams Scores on FSM
About the Composer

John Williams (b. 1932) is not only the composer of most of the biggest blockbusters of all time—including Star Wars, E.T., Jaws, the Indiana Jones films, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park and many more, many of them directed by Steven Spielberg—but he has transcended film music to become the world's most famous living composer, and an American institution. His popular symphonic scores are so iconic that they often overshadow the fact that he has been equally proficient at sophisticated, adult fare (Schindler's List, Images) and had a successful career in composing (for television and often comedy features), arranging and performing well before he even met Steven Spielberg. FSM, like most labels, will release everything it can of Williams's music, and has concentrated (for reasons of availability) on his early years as "Johnny" Williams when he was doing sterling work on relatively little-known television and films—always with an amazing attention to melody and detail. In fact, his early works are fascinating for the ways in which they foreshadow his later, world-renowned efforts. IMDB

Comments (14):Log in or register to post your own comments
Love this disc: two super little scores. I actually love both treatments, as different as they are. JW's has the bright-eyed energy of his "Sugarland"-era jazzy Americana; Legrand's has an infectious, sweet and almost minimalist charm. Is the movie worth watching?

Love this disc: two super little scores. I actually love both treatments, as different as they are. JW's has the bright-eyed energy of his "Sugarland"-era jazzy Americana; Legrand's has an infectious, sweet and almost minimalist charm. Is the movie worth watching?[/endquote]

No. I worked on that turkey. Not only is it not worth watching, but during location filming in Arizona, Sarah Miles' boyfriend was found dead in an Arizona motel room. It was ruled a suicide, but some felt he was murdered after he beat up Sarah Miles because he thought she was having an affair with co-star Burt Reynolds. It ended up tainting the entire production.

At the time the film was being made, MGM was being run by Jim "smiling cobra' Aubrey who I later learned from someone who worked for him was hired specifically to destroy MGM. If that's true he did an excellent job.

The whole time I worked there which was from 1968 to 1973 I could see how one MGM feature after another was tampered with with by Aubrey. There wasn't a director working there at the time who had anything nice to say about him. Sam Peckinpah threatened to kill him.

The original score for "Cat Dancing" was composed by Michel Legrand, but was dumped. I never got to hear any of it to be able to comment on it. I heard two stories. One was he recorded samples in Paris an then shipped them to the studio. The other story was he recorded the entire score there using a dupe of the work print that was shipped to him.

What Williams composed is the one bright spots of the entire movie. I believe back then Williams was writing his best scores. I love "The Reivers." Williams was more inventive back then. Then after "Star Wars" he seemed to get stuck in a rut while Jerry Goldsmith continued to compose very compelling score that varied so much in style from film to film that he was called a 'chameleon composer' by some in the business.

Thanks for the insight, Ed. Pretty interesting.

Incidentally, if you've not heard Legrand's score, you can check out the samples of that and JW's sweet music here:

http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/cds/detail.cfm/CDID/223/

The movie's a turkey? Say it ain't so! I recently picked it up on sale from the Warner Archive print on demand service but haven't watched it yet ...


Ed, from the best documentation we had, Legrand recorded his score in Culver City. Williams's recorded his only a week later -- the replacement was that rushed. We put this in the liner notes.

Lukas

The movie's a turkey? Say it ain't so! I recently picked it up on sale from the Warner Archive print on demand service but haven't watched it yet ...[/endquote]

Well, compared to today's abysmal crud, it's a masterpiece!

All kidding aside, it's OK. I'm jaded because of my involvement.

I tried to watch it when Encore's Western Channel ran it. I couldn't look at more than a few minutes before switching it off.

I saw several movies made at MGM during Aubrey's reign as either being ruined by his tampering or bad to begin with because he purposely green-lighted bad scripts.

Just as Aubrey was hired by Kirk Kirkorian in 1969, Fred Zinnemann's project, "Man's Fate" was cancelled. Zinnemann had put a lot of effort into developing it. Aubrey shelved it just a week before it was to begin principle photography. The reason given was it was too costly. The real reason was the genuine possibility it would have been a successful film. Zinneman never did get it made, but he went on to direct "The Day of the Jackal" for Universal which was both a critical as well as financial hit.

One day we had to run "Cat Dancing" for Aubrey. The film's director Dick Sarafian was barred from the lot. Aubrey walked into the big theater on the MGM lot and right before we started he asked the film editor if he had tossed out one of the reels as ordered. That was a trick Aubrey came up with to ensure a movie would bomb. He'd randomly have a reel removed thus confusing the audience.

As I remember it, no reel was removed. He looked at the film and when it finished he smiled saying "ship the piece of s--- just as is" and left.

The one film Aubrey left alone was David Lean's "Ryan's Daughter." I also worked on that one. Lean was very powerful. No one fooled with him. But I suspect Aubrey having read the script realized the movie would bomb so he left it alone.

After we ran the 70mm answer print for Lean, he thanks all of us and left. Just as the door to the theater closed, one of the color timers said, "That's the worst pile of crap I've ever seen."

The film was a mess. It was miscast with both Sarah Miles and Robert Mitchum looking like they'd rather have been anywhere than working on that film. Trevor Howard spent most of the time in an Irish pub getting sloshed. But the film was gorgeous to look at. To this day I've never seen better photography using 65mm. It was so sharp and grain free that at times it appeared as if I was looking through a window at real life.

The score by Jarre was dreadful. Sometimes it sounded like circus music. But since the whole movie looked as is Bozo the Clown had made it, I guess it was appropriate.

One thing Lean and cinematographer Freddie Young came up with was using a 'clear screen' in front of the lens when filming the huge waves breaking on the Irish coastline. The clear screen had been developed to mount outside the windows on the bridge of a ship. A circular piece of glass rotated rapidly tossing off the sea spray.

Here it is being used by Lean mounted in front of the lens of the Super Panavision camera:

Ed, from the best documentation we had, Legrand recorded his score in Culver City. Williams's recorded his only a week later -- the replacement was that rushed. We put this in the liner notes.

Lukas[/endquote]

Thanks. I had a feeling that's what happened.

It's amazing how Williams came up with such a good score in so little time. I guess for some composers, pressure seems not to diminish their creativity. I read that Miklos Rozsa had little time to compose his magnificent score for "Knights of the Round Table."

Ed, from the best documentation we had, Legrand recorded his score in Culver City. Williams's recorded his only a week later -- the replacement was that rushed. We put this in the liner notes.

Lukas[/endquote]

Thanks. I had a feeling that's what happened.

It's amazing how Williams came up with such a good score in so little time. I guess for some composers, pressure seems not to diminish their creativity. I read that Miklos Rozsa had little time to compose his magnificent score for "Knights of the Round Table."[/endquote]

By the way, when I tried to play the sample of Legrand's main title, it wouldn't work. I tried playing it through several programs including iTunes.


By the way, when I tried to play the sample of Legrand's main title, it wouldn't work. I tried playing it through several programs including iTunes.[/endquote]

Click the number part, instead of the title, to get a normal Mp3 file.

To play the antiquated Real Media file (which for FSM titles lets you listen to more, but less tracks), you need a special player. I for one wouldn't recommend the official player, but instead to DL Meida Player Classic at http://mpc-hc.sourceforge.net/ and then the Real Alternative plugin at http://www.free-codecs.com/download/real_alternative.htm


The whole time I worked there which was from 1968 to 1973 I could see how one MGM feature after another was tampered with with by Aubrey. There wasn't a director working there at the time who had anything nice to say about him. Sam Peckinpah threatened to kill him.
[/endquote]

Blake Edwards had a particularly rough time with Aubrey, with both "The Wild Rovers" and "The Carey Treatment" being re-cut by Aubrey. "The Carey Treatment' also marked the feature film debut for Aubrey's actress daughter Skye Aubrey. I don't think she ever acted in another feature film.

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Track List
Instruments/Musicians
Click on each musician name for more credits
For more specific musician lists for the scores on this album, go here:
The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing: Legrand Score
The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing: Williams Score

Leader (Conductor):
Michel Legrand, John T. Williams

Violin:
Israel Baker, Israel Baker, Arnold Belnick, Harry Bluestone, Harry Bluestone, Shirley A. Cornell, Bonnie J. Douglas (Shure), Irving Geller, James Getzoff, Debbie Sue Grossman, Mort Herbert, Anatol Kaminsky, George Kast, Jacob Krachmalnick, Jacob Krachmalnick, Marvin Limonick, Marvin Limonick, Alfred Lustgarten, Alexander Murray, Erno Neufeld, Irma W. Neumann, Stanley Plummer, Nathan Ross, Ralph Schaeffer, Paul C. Shure, Marshall Sosson, Albert Steinberg, Marcia Van Dyke, Charles Veal, Jr., Gerald Vinci, Gerald Vinci, Dorothy M. Wade (Sushel)

Viola:
Myer Bello, Myer Bello, Rollice Dale, Allan Harshman, Allan Harshman, Myra Kestenbaum, Louis Kievman, Alex Neiman, Alex Neiman, David Schwartz

Cello:
Ron Cooper, Marie Fera, Dennis Karmazyn, Raphael "Ray" Kramer, Raphael "Ray" Kramer, Edgar Lustgarten, Edgar Lustgarten, Kurt Reher, Kurt Reher, Frederick R. Seykora

Bass:
Raymond M. "Ray" Brown, Charles L. Domanico, Abraham Luboff, Abraham Luboff, Peter A. Mercurio, Joseph Mondragon

Flute:
Louise M. DiTullio (Dissman), Luella Howard, Harry Klee, Ronald Langinger (aka Ronny Lang), Ted Nash, C. E. "Bud" Shank, Sheridon W. Stokes

Recorder:
Thomas W. Scott, Arthur C. Smith

Oboe:
William Criss, Arnold Koblentz

Clarinet:
Dominick Fera

French Horn:
James A. Decker, Vincent N. DeRosa, Arthur Maebe, Jr., Gale H. Robinson, Henry Sigismonti

Trumpet:
John Audino, Marion "Buddy" Childers, Chase E. Craig, Malcolm Boyd McNab

Trombone:
Francis L. "Joe" Howard, Richard "Dick" Nash

Keyboards:
Ralph E. Grierson, Ralph E. Grierson, Lincoln Mayorga, Ray Sherman

Guitar:
Michael J. Anthony, Dennis Budimir, Larry E. Carlton, Alton R. "Al" Hendrickson, Neil Levang, Allen Reuss, Howard Roberts, Thomas "Tommy" Tedesco, Alfred Viola

Fender (electric) Bass:
Charles W. Rainey

Sitar:
Eddie Khan, William Plummer

Harp:
Catherine Gotthoffer (Johnk), Dorothy S. Remsen, Anne Stockton (Mason)

Cymbalom:
Kenneth E. Watson

Harmonica:
Tommy Morgan

Percussion:
Dale L. Anderson, Larry Bunker, Larry Bunker, Richard Cornell, Frank J. Flynn, Joe Porcaro, Emil Radocchia (Richards), Harold L. "Hal" Rees, Kenneth E. Watson, Jerry D. Williams

Orchestra Manager:
Martin Berman, Meyer (Mike) Rubin

© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.