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.
Slate Cue Title Meas. Track Time Index 1M2 Paradiso Main Title 100 1 0:00–3:49 1M3 Introduction 34 2 0:00–0:54 1M4 The Greenhouse 32 2 0:54–2:04 1M5 The Proposition 14 2M1 Victoire 34 2 2:04–3:10 2M2 The Mail Arrives 36 2M3 Martin Arrives 13 3 0:00–1:15 2M4 The Girls 86 3 1:15–2:12 3M1R The Rendez-vous Arranged 75 3 2:12–4:00 3M2 Boniface’s Escape 104 4 0:00–3:43 3M3 Nymphs (Von Suppé) 36 4M1 Trapeze Waltz 92 5 0:00–1:58 4M2 Introduction & Polka 12 4M3 Cot’s Arrival 107 6 0:00–2:28 4M4 Presto 14 4M5 Antoinette’s Arrival 30 4M6 Feydeau’s Arrival 26 6 2:28–3:02 5M1 Georges 16 6 3:02–3:21 5M2 Boniface & Marcel Arrive 123 6 3:21–5:51 5M3 Malaise 103 5M4 Martin’s Arrival 38 6M1 Balcony 10 6M2 Dormitory 26 6M3 Hurrah for Tea 66 7 0:00–1:12 7M1 Oh, It’s You 19 7M2 Hot Water Bottle 23 7M3 Complications 51 7M4 [Untitled] 84 7 1:12–1:41 8M1 Spirits 154 8 0:00–1:57 8M2 The Dicks 88 8 1:57–4:28 8M3 La Chasse 204 9 0:00–2:28 8M4 [Untitled] 14 10 0:00–0:34 9M1 The Return 43 10 0:34–2:07 9M2 Marcelle Distraught 28 9M3 Cot’s Recital 41 9M4 Angelique 35 9M5 Run Me a Bath 3 10M1 Note from the Police 10 10M2 Boniface’s Fury 30 10M3 The Inspector Calls 56 11 0:00–0:43 10M4 Martin Reappears 18 10M5 The Evidence 1 11M1 [Untitled] 55 11 0:43–2:10 11M2 [Untitled] 44 11 2:10–3:05 11M3 The Palais Royale 77 12 0:00–1:32 11M4 Paradiso End Title 67 12 1:32–2:33