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Eye of the Devil (1966)
Music by Gary McFarland
Eye of the Devil Eye of the Devil
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: March 2008
Catalog #: Vol. 11, No. 1
# of Discs: 1

Released by Special Arrangement With Turner Classic Movies Music.

FSM kicks off its 11th year of “Classics” releases with a score as excellent as it is virtually unknown: Eye of the Devil (aka 13) by Gary McFarland.

Gary McFarland (1933-1971) was a jazz composer, arranger and performer whose light shined bright during his brief career in the 1960s; he died young in semi-mysterious circumstances. McFarland was lauded for his melodic gifts and imaginative jazz orchestrations; he possessed the affinity for mood and simplicity of expression that marks most great film composers—so it was no surprise when he tackled his first film score in 1966, for Eye of the Devil (which also goes by the title 13).

Eye of the Devil (1966) was a troubled horror film directed by J. Lee Thompson starring David Niven as the patriarch of a wine estate in rural France. When the fortunes of the vineyard go bad, Niven is summoned to die in ritualistic sacrifice—the destiny of all male heads of the family. This is discovered slowly by Deborah Kerr as the man’s sympathetic wife, and the film’s telling from her point of view allowed McFarland to write a beautiful, melancholy and expressive melody that aches with her loss and heartbreak. The theme is utterly captivating and would have been worthy of Silver Age greats like Barry, Mancini or Morricone—though it is crafted in McFarland’s own style.

The film features a component of witchcraft—David Hemmings and Sharon Tate co-star as a brother-and-sister warlock and witch—and McFarland uses haunting wordless vocals to express the mystery and horror of the European gothic setting. For the film’s climax—as the ritual suicide is carried out—McFarland creates a kind of “bolero of death” for the fateful procession; here, as in the rest of the score, the dynamic arrangements are informed by the best symphonic jazz of the era, not simply of film music.

FSM is well-aware that Eye of the Devil is a film score few people have heard of—let alone want to buy. Please sample the music clips as McFarland was a major talent whose career was tragically cut short (he scored only one subsequent film)—and this is a magnificent work.

After being announced on LP in 1967 but never released (a master was prepared for Verve Records—all of its music is included here, and more), Eye of the Devil comes to CD at last remixed and remastered from the original three-track 35mm stereo masters recorded in London. Liner notes are by John Bender and Lukas Kendall. Special thanks are due to McFarland archivist Douglas Payne.

Editor's note, 9/08: We made a booboo in the liner notes. Gary McFarland's middle name was Ronald, not Raymond, as incorrectly stated. Gary Ronald McFarland. Now we know!

Gary McFarland Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Gary McFarland (1933-1971) is a little known jazz composer, arranger and performer highly regarded by his dedicated fans. In the 1960s, he shook up the jazz world by infusing it with elements of pop, to delightful artistic results. FSM released his first film score (of only two), Eye of the Devil, showcasing his gift for melody and drama. He was destined for great things as a film composer but his life came to a tragic end in a bizarre case of methadone poisoning in a New York bar in 1971. IMDB

Comments (11):Log in or register to post your own comments
OK, I bit and bought this one because I liked the sample tracks on the web site and the fact that FSM thought many people might not want to buy it, but should maybe give it a try anyway. Well I did and want to say thank you Lukas for this one. It's nice to find such a different sounding score and buy outside my usual list of preferred composers. The score is an undiscovered gem...until now.

Mark, thanks for your nice feedback. To those wishing to learn more about Gary McFarland, see:

http://www.thisisgarymcfarland.com/

You can also hear Gary sing the theme from Eye of the Devil!

http://www.thisisgarymcfarland.com/mp3/track_03.mp3

Lukas Kendall

The guy who posted above also should have directed you to:

http://www.dougpayne.com/gary1.htm


You're right! I remembered Doug's site but didn't have the URL handy. Clearly www.dougpayne.com was beyond my ability to recall...thanks for adding.

Lukas

You're right! I remembered Doug's site but didn't have the URL handy. Clearly www.dougpayne.com was beyond my ability to recall...thanks for adding.

Lukas


Lukas, did Doug assist with the Eye of the Devil reissue? I'm still blown away that this came out - I never thought I'd ever hear it.


Lukas, did Doug assist with the Eye of the Devil reissue? I'm still blown away that this came out - I never thought I'd ever hear it.


?

Well - he *is* listed as a project consultant on the inside back cover of the booklet....

I always liked the harp in the first track - a great way to open a score.

fantastic score,,,,its really rather sad that with all the releases from "THE MASTERS" and other well known composers, this seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle,,,, lukas and co. did a daring thing releasing a score that most people never heard of ,let alone having ever seen the film, i thank them for it , and i really dont know what i can do to make more people pay attention to it. frustrating . and what makes it even more sad is that lukas , in this case, just does not care about the profits , it seems to me , but getting really good scores to us , no matter the outcome,, if i had one to recommend to anyone on this board to purchase , this would be it. a bow to lukas and co. for their continued efforts to give us the finest in film scores.

If this album is possible, Kenyon Hopkins and Les Baxter can't be far behind.

and what makes it even more sad is that lukas , in this case, just does not care about the profits , it seems to me , but getting really good scores to us , no matter the outcome,, if i had one to recommend to anyone on this board to purchase , this would be it. a bow to lukas and co. for their continued efforts to give us the finest in film scores.

Agreed. When Lukas kindly agreed to my suggestion to dedicate a future release to the memory of Greg (Gumdrops1) Twyman, he said that he had a suitable one in mind. When it turned out to be this one, I was absolutely delighted. Gummy would have adored this score - as do I.

When I first saw this CD, the cover really grabbed my attention. As I read the review, it mentioned that the score fell under the category of a jazz symphony, which didn't necessarily help me find it interesting, because I am not a big lover of jazz, but when the names Mancini and Barry were mentioned, I thought that the samples would be worth listening to. I started out with the first track, and I had to admit that the writing for solo harp was quite astounding, especially when it was combined with a bass guitar, giving it a light jazzy sound, compared to what I was thinking of. Following the harp cue, there was the orchestral cue within the same track, and I found it very beautiful, and not jazzy at all. Later I listened to the processional track, and while it didn't immediately grab my attention with the clanging chimes and tinkling celeste, when the choir came in, it sent shivers up my spine, but also really grabbed my attention. It matched immediately the kind of pictures I had in my head of what this film was like (I have never seen it, nor really have any intention to). After some more visits to the CD review, and some more listening to the samples, it didn't take me long to finally buy it. The highlights for me are the three tracks that are almost in a way, a three-movement suite with its continuation of the 7/4 beat. It was these three tracks and the track "The Grave in the Forest" which explained to me why it was called a jazz symphonic score. I only wish that the score was a lot longer, because I always find myself wanting more each time after I've finished the soundtrack. One thing which I was also happy to find out (on a technical detail) was that the score was recorded at CTS Studios, Bayswater (during the time the score was recorded, they had not moved to Wembley yet), and the reason for this is because it creates a more intimate feeling within the recording, and does not give you the impression that you're listening to the music within a concert hall. I am very happy that FSM released this recording, and recommend it to anyone who loves both music from the '60s, and creepy film music.

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