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On Dangerous Ground (1952)
Music by Bernard Herrmann
On Dangerous Ground On Dangerous Ground
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: November 2003
Catalog #: Vol. 6, No. 18
# of Discs: 1

Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music

Bernard Herrmann's career has no shortage of landmarks: Citizen Kane, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Vertigo, Psycho, Taxi Driver—plus music for concert, television and radio. One of his greatest achievements is On Dangerous Ground (1952), a film noir produced by John Houseman and directed by Nicholas Ray, for which Herrmann wrote perhaps his quintessential score: furious chase music on the one hand, and heartfelt warmth on the other.

On Dangerous Ground stars Robert Ryan as a hard-boiled cop—with a habit of brutalizing suspect—sent from the big city to the snowbound countryside, where he must capture a dangerous murderer and rapist. Ryan becomes involved with a sympathetic blind woman, played by Ida Lupino, but when the blind woman turns out to be the murderer's sister, Ryan finds his ruthless pursuit at odds with his burgeoning emotions.

Ryan's character is expressed by drivingly rhythmic music with simple, triadic harmony and the conspicuous presence of a steel plate in the percussion section—and the eventual appearance of eight virtuoso horns in the climactic "Death Hunt." Lupino's placid, sensitive character is evoked by a heartfelt, lyrical solos of the unusual string instrument, the viola d'amore, played by Virginia Majewski—much more The Ghost and Mrs. Muir than Psycho.

This CD features Herrmann's complete masterwork in chronological order. Unfortunately, master tapes to RKO productions are long since destroyed, and this CD has been mastered from acetate discs in the Bernard Herrmann collection at the University of California at Santa Barbara. IMPORTANT: Although these discs have been transferred and denoised by specialists, the sound quality is entirely in mono. Many of the most important cues have been mastered from 16" 33 1/3 rpm discs in excellent sound (including the "Prelude" and major chase cues), but the remainder of the cues exist only on 12" 33 1/3 rpm discs with a great deal of surface noise. We have made every effort to improve the sound quality without distorting the music.

Liner notes are by Christopher Husted.

Bernard Herrmann Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975) started his film career with Citizen Kane, finished with Taxi Driver, and in-between scored famous projects for Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho, Vertigo), Ray Harryhausen and a host of others—to say nothing of the transcendent beauty of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir or the pioneering timbres of The Day the Earth Stood Still. He practically invented “psychological” film scoring and the use of orchestral color to achieve dramatic ends; his music for radio and television is brilliant despite (or perhaps because of) his limited resources. He was a genius and cast a long shadow on music for film. P.S. Check out On Dangerous Ground. IMDB

Comments (13):Log in or register to post your own comments
Really - no comments on such a great soundtrack. Since November 2003! Nothing!? Okay so the source material was not the greatest - I love this Bernard Herrmann classic.

Yes,a gem of a score only marred by poor quality acetates and its the best what FSM could do but still grateful for it. I would champion a full fledge COMPLETE re-recording of this score. Granted a suite exists from Silva Screen records and that Herrmann BATTLE OF NERETEVA has some cues - the notorious Death Hunt cue reprised in the new re-recording.

Really - no comments on such a great soundtrack. Since November 2003! Nothing!?[/endquote]

Sure there have been! Just not linked from the CD itself. I believe this CD predates the FSM site's ability to do that.

Yes,a gem of a score only marred by poor quality acetates and its the best what FSM could do but still grateful for it. I would champion a full fledge COMPLETE re-recording of this score. Granted a suite exists from Silva Screen records and that Herrmann BATTLE OF NERETEVA has some cues - the notorious Death Hunt cue reprised in the new re-recording.[/endquote]

I would also champion a re-recording! It definitely deserves one.

Really - no comments on such a great soundtrack. Since November 2003! Nothing!?[/endquote]

Sure there have been! Just not linked from the CD itself. I believe this CD predates the FSM site's ability to do that.[/endquote]

Good point - didn't think of that.

I love this score. And I love this CD. How about that?

Although I can listen past the quality issues with the source, the quality issues are nevertheless present, so I would love for there to be a new, faithful recording of this score.

As I don't think it will ever happen, then I say again: I love this score, and I love this CD.

I'm perfectly happy with the sound of this CD - but then again, I dig the "archival" quality of some recordings.

Anyway, a really fine BH score and a great FSM release...:-)

Agree with all the above. Fell in love with this music after hearing the Charles Gerhardt recording on the Citizen Kane album. The brilliance of the performance shines through - despite the limitations of the source material (no worse than listening to some old 78 recordings) Congratulation to FSM for putting the cd together. Well recommended to anyone! Film's very good too.

Regards

CC

Love this film, particularly the first half hour where Ryan's character is at the breaking point in terms of his miserable effing life. Herrmann's powerful theme is riveting but I find myself enjoying the delicate parts of this score even more when Ryan and Lupino's relationship develops.

As for sound quality "issues", I listen to 1920s jazz. Compared to those, the "imperfections" on this fine FSM release sound positively pristine.

Normaly I allways prefer original recordings (even if the soundquality isnt so good) instead of re-recordings.

But a new recording of ON DANGEROUS GROUND would be very welcome.
I love the score (specially the romantic parts), and as an addition to the FSM CD I would love to here the music in very good quality!

Maybe Tadlow will do it one day?!

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

Leader (Conductor):
Bernard Herrmann

Violin:
Rocco Barbieri, Robert Barene, Victor Bay, Arthur Finston, Sascha Jacobsen, Daniel Karpilowsky, Adolph Koldofsky, Bernard Kundell, Robert S. Levine, Sid Lippman, Joy Lyle (Sharp), Jack Pepper, Eudice Shapiro-Kast, Robert "Bob" Sushel, Cyril Towbin, Mischa Violin, Sonia Violin, Dorothy M. Wade (Sushel)

Viola:
Joseph DiFiore, Abe Hochstein, Anady (?) Julber, Zoltan Kurthy, Barbara A. Simons (Transue), Abe Weiss

Cello:
Frieda Belinfante, Lysbeth Evans, Warwick Evans, Victor Gottlieb, Armand Kaproff, Kolia Levienne

Bass:
Simon Green, Arthur Pabst, William Torello, Kenneth Winstead

Viola d'Amore:
Virginia Majewski

Flute:
Haakon Bergh, Arthur Gleghorn, Martin Ruderman

Oboe:
Alex Duvoir, Bob Frost, Gordon Schoneberg

Clarinet:
Henry Emerson, Mitchell Lurie, Neely Plumb

Bassoon:
Kenneth Edgar Lowman, Milton Marcus, Jack Marsh

French Horn:
Fred Fox, Arthur Frantz, Wendell Hoss, Jean C. Musick, Tibor Shik

Trumpet:
Kenneth Apperson, Louis Mitchell, Martin Peppie

Trombone:
Randall Miller, Al Sherman, Harry Wallace

Tuba:
Jack Barbray

Piano:
Max Rabinowitsh

Harp:
Zhay Clark Moor

Drums:
John T. Boudreau, Lou Erickson, Harold L. "Hal" Rees

Orchestra Manager:
Manny Harmon

© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.