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The Wrong Man (1956)
Music by Bernard Herrmann
The Wrong Man The Wrong Man
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Golden Age
CD Release: May 2006
Catalog #: Vol. 9, No. 7
# of Discs: 1

The Wrong Man (1956) was an unusual effort for the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Undertaken as an ambitious experiment in neorealism, it told the true-life story of Christopher Emanuel Balestrero (played in the film by Henry Fonda), who was wrongly arrested and tried for a series of holdups in New York City. The film was shot in stark black-and-white and eschewed many of the techniques and pleasures of Hitchcock's typical productions.

The Wrong Man was the third collaboration between Hitchcock and composer Bernard Herrmann, one of the most fruitful and famous director/composer partnerships in the history of cinema. The relationship was soon to produce their most famous works together—Vertigo, North by Northwest and Psycho—but for The Wrong Man Herrmann produced a score as low key and subtle as Hitchcock's film, emphasizing the claustrophobia and terror of Balestrero's Kafkaesque experience.

This was, in fact, the score on which Herrmann pioneered the minimal, obsessive style that became his hallmark. Using a pared-down orchestra of brass, woodwinds, percussion, keyboards and a single string bass—evoking Balestrero's profession as the bassist in a New York nightclub band—Herrmann created an insular world of edgy color and bleak patterns. It is the quintessential "Herrmannesque" effort of psychological scoring.

In addition to the suspense music, The Wrong Man features sympathetic cues for Balestrero's home life, and one of Herrmann's most unusual main titles: a piece of pop dance music played by Balestrero's nightclub band.

Any Herrmann score is an important addition to a soundtrack collection—a Herrmann score for a Hitchcock film, even more so. This premiere release of The Wrong Man features the complete original soundtrack in clean monaural sound, with liner notes by Herrmann authority 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

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Track List
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
Bernard Herrmann

Joseph Mondragon

James Briggs, Jack Klein, Leonard V. Posella

Liliane Lhoest Covington

Richard H. Anderson, Joe Casillas, Teddy Krise, Percy Nichols, Les Robinson

French Horn:
Arthur E. Briegleb, William A. Hinshaw, George W. Hyde, Tibor Shik

Alex R. Golden, A. A. Harris, Pincus "Pinky" Savitt, Larry Sullivan

John Bambridge, Jr.

Norma Drury, David Klatzkin

Lois Adele Craft, Denzil (Gail) Laughton

Lee Diamond

George Beebe, W. Frank Horscroft

Orchestra Manager:
Victor Aller

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