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Dragon Seed (1944)
Music by Herbert Stothart
Dragon Seed Dragon Seed
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $24.95
Limited #: 1000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: July 2010
Catalog #: Vol. 13, No. 10
# of Discs: 2

Dragon Seed (1944) was based on the 1942 novel of the same name by Pearl S. Buck. Like her Pulitzer Prize-winning The Good Earth (filmed by M-G-M in 1937), it is set in the turbulent world of China just before and during World War II and—like its predecessor—tells a story of family and personal tragedy set against an epic background of political struggle and armed conflict. M-G-M lavished an impressive and expensive physical production on the film, budgeted at an unprecedented three million dollars. Katharine Hepburn headed the A-list cast.

The studio similarly drew on top-drawer talent by assigning its finest musical dramatist, Herbert Stothart, to score the film. Stothart had already scored The Good Earth, and for Dragon Seed he created another strong, effective score rife with Asian color and lavish themes—including authentic folk tunes and national anthems. Stothart made extensive use of pentatonic scales and what were then considered “orientalisms,” but stamped the music with his own blend of lyricism and dramatic pulse that is sometimes tender, sometimes explosive, and always apt.

Due to the existence of dual microphone perspectives, FSM has been able to mix nearly all of Dragon Seed in genuine stereo. The sound quality utterly belies its age (over 65 years old). This 2CD set contains not only Stothart’s complete score, but numerous bonus tracks, including the trailer music and an alternate English-language version of the main title. The edition, limited to 1,000 copies, includes notes by Frank K. DeWald and Alexander Kaplan, numerous film stills and publicity materials in a 20-page booklet designed by FSM’s Joe Sikoryak.

Dragon Seed joins Random Harvest/The Yearling (FSMCD Vol. 9 No. 13) and Northwest Passage (FSMCD Vol. 12 No. 18) in FSM’s growing catalog of scores by this under-appreciated film music titan. Golden Age fans will rejoice and listeners unfamiliar with Stothart’s legacy are ripe for a major discovery.

Herbert Stothart Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Herbert Stothart (1885-1949) was the primary dramatic composer of the M-G-M music department for the 1930s and '40s, scoring such classics as Mutiny on the Bounty, The Wizard of Oz and Random Harvest. Given that he passed away right before the advent of widescreen films with stereophonic sound and magnetic film recording, very few of his scores have been released on CD—something FSM intends to change.IMDB

Comments (77):Log in or register to post your own comments
DRAGON SEED: 1944 Katharine Hepburn Classic nearly all in Stereo!!

Film Score Monthly presents 2CD 1000 edition release by Herbert Stothart

http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/14239/DRAGON-SEED/

I'm not familiar with this score, but I know plenty of golden agers who are gonna be awfully happy today. Congrats, FSM!

Due to the existence of dual microphone perspectives, FSM has been able to mix nearly all of Dragon Seed in genuine stereo. The sound quality utterly belies its age (over 65 years old).

Clever. It seems that the release hiatus is officially over.

Wow -- most limited FSM title, EVER. I guess Lukas has finally had to give in (thanks to the economy, I am sure) and regularly release titles limited to the numbers all the other labels have been doing for a while now (though I'm sure he'll still regularly release more of most titles than the other labels would put out). I think for this score it is a good decision. It looks interesting but of course I won't be able to afford it any time soon when I can't even afford the titles by my favorite composers (a group which Stothart definitely is far from joining) [EDIT: I just listened to the sound clips and was pretty impressed overall. This could probably be my new favorite Stothart score.)

I'll definitely be listening to the sound clips and will one day buy it when I can afford it, just as I will every single FSM title (the only label I will do this for, because of Lukas's perfectionism for every single title).

On another note, great job on the artwork, Joe!

Yavar

P.S. Funny note...when I saw this on the forum my brain read it as "Demon Seed" because of all the Fielding talk lately...I thought someone was just commenting on it as a result. :)

Ordered! And who knows -- maybe listening to this score might motivate me to finally sit through the damn picture!!

Wow! Who'd a thunk it!

As Lukas said, it's not a title you'd think of when guessing what Herbert Stothart score it might be.

I'm looking forward to sinking my teeth into this one!

Oh my gosh. What a wonderful release -- in stereo! -- really speechless for the moment.

Ordered! And who knows -- maybe listening to this score might motivate me to finally sit through the damn picture!![/endquote]

I challenge you NOT to speak in similies and metaphors the rest of the day after hearing Kate and co. doing it for two and a half hours!


One of Stothart's best scores. When Lukas said that it would be a double CD, this score is the first one I thought of because I remembered it being quite lengthy. Although the film itself is not a classic like some of the others for which Stothart provided the underscore, the music really is very characteristic of his style and IMO quite outstanding. This is going to be my new favorite FSM Golden Age score.

DRAGON SEED: 1944 Katherine Hepburn Classic nearly all in Stereo!!

Film Score Monthly presents 2CD 1000 edition release by Herbert Stothart

http://www.screenarchives.com/title_detail.cfm/ID/14239/DRAGON-SEED/[/endquote]

That's Katharine!

(But cool release!)

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