Monday, September 27, 2010

The Movie's Music Revisited

Researcher and co-author of the book, Clear Intent, Barry Greenwood continues to discover interesting pieces of history surrounding both "U.F.O." and the people involved with its production, and I'm grateful that he shares his work with us. Today, he contributes another gem I knew nothing about when exploring the 1956 motion picture's background in the seventies.

I've long wondered, attempting even to prod recorded music companies on the issue, why the admirable musical soundtrack for "U.F.O." was never released in an LP or CD anthology. If showbiz folks can get away with consuming an entire disc with music from the movie, "Night of the Living Dead," is it so much more to ask that the beautifully multifaceted composition for an obscure film scored by the accomplished Ernest Gold be re-released or newly performed for commercial sale?

A few years ago, recording artist Andrew Gold -- son of Ernest -- recalled for me that he vaguely remembered his father working on the music for "U.F.O." but he was a very young child at that time and was unable to offer any information. All I knew, even after consultation with a music publishing company, was that the score for the movie was also called "U.F.O."

However, I never dreamed that the score's various movements and cues, both short and long, each had a name. Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Greenwood, the pages shown here -- for some reason, these items of United Artists publicity material are stored among a collection at the Wisconsin Historical Society -- allow more of the story to be told.

Immediately apparent on the first page, beyond attributions to the cataloging organization B.M.I., is a reference to Ivar Productions. "U.F.O." was a Greene-Rouse production released through United Artists, but during my earliest inquiries decades ago, the only time I encountered this production co. name arose when I discovered there was a very early videotape (commercially released, I assume) of the movie, and a printed description in some obscure page (not in my collection) listed Ivar Productions. As I recall, and I'm stretching what I think I remember, Ivar had some connection to Ricou Browning of the "Creature From the Black Lagoon" movies. Whatever relationship any of this had with the UFO documentary (I suspect none), I simply do not know.

But aside from that -- how wonderful and logical that key portions of Clarence Greene's "U.F.O." music were marked off with titled orchestral segments. From Capt. Thomas Mantell's death ("Col. Hicks" and "The Wreckage") to the important introduction of Al Chop ("Al Chop") and an eventual historic UFO chase over Washington, D.C., coupled with subsequent official government concern, the cue sheets designate how Ernest Gold's composition (conducted for the film by Emil Newman), created a dramatic mood and musical intrigue for a 1956 documentary motion picture requiring and enhanced by both. Even standing alone, had there been no movie, Gold's work remains a treasure -- yet, curiously undiscovered by the musical soundtrack industry.