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Moonfleet (1955)
Music by Miklos Rozsa
Moonfleet Moonfleet
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: December 2003
Catalog #: Vol. 6, No. 20
# of Discs: 1

Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music

The mid-1950s were Miklós Rózsa's "historical" years, during which he provided superb scores for M-G-M's costume dramas and adventures including All the Brothers Were Valiant (1953), Knights of the Round Table (1953, FSMCD Vol. 6, No. 7), Tribute to a Bad Man (1956, FSMCD Vol. 5, No. 19), Diane (1956) and Lust for Life (1956, FSMCD Vol. 5, No.1). The studio's 1955 Moonfleet was in many ways a routine swashbuckler starring Stewart Granger, but also a unique film directed by the legendary German expressionist, Fritz Lang.

Moonfleet—set in 1757 Dorsetshire—follows an orphaned boy (Jon Whitely), who is placed in the custody of a cultured rogue (Granger) only to find his would-be caretaker in league with smugglers. Man and boy form an unlikely bond in pursuit of a legendary diamond from the boy's family, and eventually the scoundrel is rehabilitated in his concern for the youth, though not until after a treacherous journey dotted by character actors such as George Sanders, Joan Greenwood, John Hoyt, Jack Elam and Alan Napier.

The real star, however, was behind the camera: Lang turned the generic tale into an impressive series of visual strokes, from gothic backdrops to ghoulish imagery. The director had departed the picture by the time his "old friend" Miklós Rózsa arrived to do the music (Rózsa reported to producer John Houseman), but Rózsa responded with a melodic score driven by a soaring seascape evoking the British Isles, one of his loveliest themes. As was typical for Rózsa, he also provided a wealth of secondary themes—for the film's menacing smugglers, the mysterious bonds between man and boy, the frequent moments of shock and fright, and more—and setpieces for dynamic action as well as haunting reflection.

FSM's premiere CD of Moonfleet features the complete score in stereo from the original 35mm master elements. The program features a chronological assembly of the complete underscore (46:48) followed by alternate score cues (including four alternate endings) and source cues (30:22). Liner notes are by Jeff Bond and Lukas Kendall.

Miklos Rozsa Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Hungarian-born Miklós Rózsa (1907-1995) is a titan of film music. Responsible for such classic scores as Spellbound, Ben-Hur, King of Kings, El Cid and many others—from biblical epics to 1940s films noir to historical dramas—his signature style is one of the most pleasing and dramatic in film. He was under contract to M-G-M from 1948 to 1962 and FSM has released a great deal of this classic music; also available are his latter-period scores such as The Green Berets and Time After Time.IMDB

Comments (5):Log in or register to post your own comments
Some time after the message that this score has nearly sold out, I picked it up and I have just finished listening to it. What a gorgeous and wonderful score this is. It has an absolutely gorgeous main theme and it's just all around colourful and evocative music and typically Miklós Rózsa. I love it!

I agree

Although SODOM AND GOMORRAH and EL CID are some of my favorites, the mid-1950s yielded the Rozsa music I find most satisfactory. LUST FOR LIFE, MOONFLEET, & VALLEY OF THE KINGS are all 'Top 5' with me, with MOONFLEET being my No.1.

I agree

Although SODOM AND GOMORRAH and EL CID are some of my favorites, the mid-1950s yielded the Rozsa music I find most satisfactory. LUST FOR LIFE, MOONFLEET, & VALLEY OF THE KINGS are all 'Top 5' with me, with MOONFLEET being my No.1.[/endquote]

My Rózsa collection and knowledge of his oeuvre is still in its infancy, so I cannot make much of a statement about Moonfleet's position within his vast oeuvre, but comments like this help me to further my knowledge. What I can positively say though is that there is a passion in his music that I really like and Moonfleet has lots of it.

It is nice to see that you put Lust for Life within your top 5, because that one is at the top of my Rózsa wish list.

It`s the only FSM Rozsa release I don`t have. Just listened to the fantastic samples. No idea how I could miss that one. Great score.

It's an interesting little movie too...

Track List
Instruments/Musicians
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
Miklos Rozsa

Violin:
Sam Fiedler, Sam Freed, Jr., Werner L. Gebauer, Sidney Greene, Mort Herbert, Arnold T. Jurasky, Bernard Kundell, Joy Lyle (Sharp), Arthur Maebe, Sr., Lisa Minghetti, Irving Prager, Lou Raderman, Albert Saparoff, Byron Williams

Viola:
Cecil Figelski, Allan Harshman, Virginia Majewski, Reuben Marcus

Cello:
Alexander Borisoff, Julian Kahn, Edgar Lustgarten, Michel Penha

Bass:
George F. Boujie, Louis Previati, Arthur Shapiro

Flute:
Arthur Gleghorn

Oboe:
Philip Memoli

Clarinet:
Gus Bivona, Mort B. Friedman, Alex Gershunoff, Don Lodice (Logiudice), Hugo Raimondi, Andrew Young

Bassoon:
Charles A. Gould

French Horn:
John W. "Jack" Cave, Vincent DeRubertis, Herman Lebow

Trumpet:
Uan Rasey, Joe Triscari, James C. Zito

Trombone:
Nick DiMaio, Herb Taylor, Simon Zentner

Piano:
Max Rabinowitsh, Milton Raskin

Guitar:
Laurindo Almeida, Jose Barroso, Vicente Gomez, Jack Marshall

Harp:
Catherine Gotthoffer (Johnk)

Drums:
Frank L. Carlson, Mel Pedesky, D. V. Seber

Orchestra Manager:
James C. Whelan

© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.