Hotel Paradiso

These liner notes from the original LP releases of Hotel Paradiso and The Comedians, along with the full text of a 2010 interview with composer Laurence Rosenthal, supplement the essay by John Takis found in the booklet accompanying FSM’s CD release of these scores. These online notes are also available as a PDF file for more convenient printing.

From the original MGM Records LP…

When Laurence Rosenthal composed and conducted scores for Air Force documentary films, he saw the possibilities for serious musical expression in film scores. His previous works in the cinema reflect that attitude. All of them are movies based on powerful stage dramas. They include: Becket, a movie for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, and soundtracks for The Miracle Worker, Raisin in the Sun and Requiem for a Heavyweight.

However, when M-G-M’s Hotel Paradiso came his way, serious intentions not-withstanding, Laurence Rosenthal decided to give himself a chance to “let go” and do one for the fun of it!

The Parisian setting of Hotel Paradiso stirred up recollections of his earlier student days when the composer studied under Boulanger in Paris after his graduation from the Eastman School of Music where he studied under Howard Hanson. Called upon to create an appropriate background—“to evoke manners and times past”—Paris in the late 19th Century—he had only to reminisce. All he had to do was think back, imagine himself still seated at a sidewalk café early in the morning before the city was up and about. He also recalled dodging traffic on the Champs Élysées, walking through the marketplaces—or enjoying the cool, steady haul up the Eiffel Tower, where one can not only look out over Paris of today—but back, into the Paris so recently past.

“A sort of satiric-nostalgic mood,” was how Laurence Rosenthal described his score for Hotel Paradiso. A mood not too far removed from that evoked by the period and style of the play itself. “Of course it is updated a bit with slightly more modern orchestration, almost salon orchestra fashion,” the composer says. However, while he is only using 15 instruments, he does not, he points out, duplicate any of them. He achieves a full little orchestra sound, as opposed to that overbearing big orchestra sound.

Hotel Paradiso, the farce comedy based on a play written by French playwright Georges Feydeau in 1885, is a natural vehicle for Laurence Rosenthal’s first comedy score.

The film was made in Panavision and color and was directed by Peter Glenville. It is a broad, uproarious farce played in a wildly funny style by an all-star cast headed by Alec Guinness, Gina Lollabridgida and Robert Morley. The picture has all the classic comedy turns: a frantic chase scene, a series of mistaken identities and hilarious pratfalls. The old hotel really rocks with laughter as two very proper French middle class neighbors attempt to keep their rendezvous at the famous Hotel Paradiso a secret.

The music for this picture is also written in the great farce tradition and accents and highlights each hilarious moment. Together they make Hotel Paradiso more fun than an out-of-town sales convention!

—Notes by Harvey Cowen

The following table indicates how the tracks on the Hotel Paradiso LP correspond to the cues as heard in the film; the data below includes the slate number and cue title of each film cue from the film’s cue sheet, the number of measures in each cue, the CD track number for each cue included on the soundtrack album, and the CD time index to assist listeners idenitfy the constituent portions of each album track.

SlateCue TitleMeas.TrackTime Index
1M2Paradiso Main Title10010:00–3:49
1M4The Greenhouse3220:54–2:04
1M5The Proposition14
2M2The Mail Arrives36
2M3Martin Arrives1330:00–1:15
2M4The Girls8631:15–2:12
3M1RThe Rendez-vous Arranged7532:12–4:00
3M2Boniface’s Escape10440:00–3:43
3M3Nymphs (Von Suppé)36
4M1Trapeze Waltz9250:00–1:58
4M2Introduction & Polka12
4M3Cot’s Arrival10760:00–2:28
4M5Antoinette’s Arrival30
4M6Feydeau’s Arrival2662:28–3:02
5M2Boniface & Marcel Arrive12363:21–5:51
5M4Martin’s Arrival38
6M3Hurrah for Tea6670:00–1:12
7M1Oh, It’s You19
7M2Hot Water Bottle23
8M2The Dicks8881:57–4:28
8M3La Chasse20490:00–2:28
9M1The Return43100:34–2:07
9M2Marcelle Distraught28
9M3Cot’s Recital41
9M5Run Me a Bath3
10M1Note from the Police10
10M2Boniface’s Fury30
10M3The Inspector Calls56110:00–0:43
10M4Martin Reappears18
10M5The Evidence1
11M3The Palais Royale77120:00–1:32
11M4Paradiso End Title67121:32–2:33