Latest reviews of new albums:
Corleone
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • ScreenTrax / 42m

A 1978 Mafia movie, Corleone is set in the 1950s and follows two friends growing up together in Sicily, with very different destinies awaiting them. Directed by Pasquale Squitieri and starring Giuliano Gemma, Claudia Cardinale and Francisco Rabal, the film was released as Father of the Godfathers internationally.

Il Grande Silenzio
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • King / 35m

Generally considered to be amongst the finest Italian westerns, Sergio Corbucci’s Il Grande Silenzio is a rare western set in snow. Jean-Louis Trintignant stars as Silence, unable to speak after having his vocal chords ripped out by bandits, who joins together with a group of villagers fighting the corrupt authorities in the town of Snow Hill. The film was actually financed by Fox but Darryl Zanuck was so disgusted by the downbeat tone and in particular the ending that he refused to release it in America! It didn’t surface in the States until being released on home video in 2001 – with the option to watch with an alternative, happy ending which had been shot under Zanuck’s instruction (and against Corbucci’s wishes).

Un Genio, Due Compari, Un Pollo
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • SLC / 32m

A 1975 comedy western, Un Genio, Due Compari, Un Pollo (whose literal translation is one of the great film titles – sadly it was released more mundanely as The Genius in English-speaking countries) was marketed in some territories as a sequel to My Name Is Nobody, though it isn’t really. Terence Hill does star, as a con-man who hatches a plan to steal a load of money from a fort (under the command of Patrick McGoohan); Damiano Damiani directed, the great Sergio Leone helmed the opening sequence, and you-know-who was on-hand to score.

Greyhound
  • Composed by Blake Neely
  • Lakeshore / 77m

In post-production for years, when it was finally ready there was a global pandemic on and so Greyhound became an Apple original. It’s pretty good – a passion project for Tom Hanks, who wrote it and stars as a naval commander navigating the Atlantic crossing during WWII, leeding a fleet under siege from U-boats while out of range of air support from the continents in either direction.

Slalom
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • EMI / 59m

A 1965 spy comedy, Slalom sees a pair of men go on a skiing trip with their wives. When they dump them in order to flirt with the pretty girls, they inadvertently get mixed up in some espionage fun and games, and before long find themselves in Egypt (as you do), a country not renowned for its ski resorts.

The Old Guard

Composed by Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran Lakeshore / 46m A rather dull action movie which doesn’t feature much action, Netflix’s The Old Guard is currently benefiting from a kind of captive audience scenario because people can’t go to the cinema to see new movies. I doubt many people would have watched it otherwise. It […]

Il Prato

Composed by Ennio Morricone CAM / 31m Directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, 1979’s Il Prato (which disappointingly means “The Meadow” and not “The Prat”) is about a love triangle that develops after three young Italians try to break away from what they view as an unfair society and set up a new utopia.

Il Pentito

Composed by Ennio Morricone GDM / 74m Based on an arresting true story, the Sindona scandal, Il Pentito (released as The Repenter internationally) is a mafia thriller set in Milan and New York. A high-profile banker with connections kills a judge investigating some suspicious activities at his bank, and eventually falls to the FBI despite […]

The Big Gundown

Composed by Ennio Morricone GDM / 54m One of the great spaghetti westerns, The Big Gundown (aka La Resa dei Conti) stars Lee Van Cleef as a lawman hunting down bandit Tomas Milian.  Directed by Sergio Sollima who wrote the screenplay with Sergio Donati (who went on to write Once Upon a Time in the […]

The Mission

Composed by Ennio Morricone Virgin / 49m Roland Joffé’s follow-up to his exceptional debut, The Killing Fields, was about a piece of history considerably more distant, as Spanish Jesuit missionaries see their work undone as a tribe of Paraguayan natives fall within a territorial dispute between the Spanish and Portuguese.  It’s not a great film, but […]

Ennio Morricone obituary: Il Maestro 1928-2020

Prolific and prodigiously talented, few film composers could claim to have had the cultural impact of Ennio Morricone. He has written music for popes and kings; packed arenas around the world, playing for thousands of doting fans; seen his music travel to new and unexpected ground, from the sublime (Metallica using “The Ecstasy of Gold” […]

Morricone: Top Ten Tracks

From his beloved masterpieces known the world over to those obscure gems only known by a lucky few, there are hundreds of Ennio Morricone albums out there. His music has been part of my life for decades and I wanted to share my personal favourite pieces. There are so many to choose from, going across […]

Ennio Morricone

The legendary Ennio Morricone has passed away at the age of 91. He brought us some of the greatest film music of all – filled with boundless creativity and unbelievable beauty. He was a genius. Rest in peace, Maestro.

Born on the Fourth of July

Composed by John Williams MCA / 57m (score 25m) Oliver Stone’s moving, harrowing Born on the Fourth of July chronicles the Vietnam experience of Ron Kovic, scarred physically and emotionally by the conflict and facing his demons as he struggles to adapt back to life afterwards. It’s one of the director’s finest films and features […]

Hell on the Border

Composed by Sid de la Cruz Promo / 32m Directed by Wes Miller, Hell on the Border tells the true story of Bass Reeves, the first black U.S. Marshal in the West. This was in the 1870s but the depiction of the struggles Reeves faces and the discrimination he must overcome will be depressingly familiar […]