Latest reviews of new albums:
Her Alibi
  • Composed by Georges Delerue
  • Intrada / 2014 / 79m (score 48m)

A comic romance from 1989, Her Alibi stars Tom Selleck as a crime novelist hanging around a courthouse in the search for story ideas when he meets a Romanian woman accused of murdering her husband with a pair of scissors.  Naturally enough, he poses as a priest, provides her with an alibi and gets her to come and live with him.  This was the second of five films Georges Delerue did for director Bruce Beresford at the end of his career (sadly he missed out on the director’s most successful movie, Driving Miss Daisy, which came in the middle of that sequence).  His breezy, lighthearted music brought a touch of class to the project and Intrada’s 2014 CD presents most of it for the first time (including a substantial amount which wasn’t even in the movie itself).  The two main themes are presented in the main title – a comically rollicking theme for Selleck’s character, giving him the air of a vintage private investigator, and the lush, romantic theme for the woman.

The latter is heard in two main guises through the score, both extensively.  In its full orchestral version it is a classic old-fashioned Hollywood love theme, warm and attractive (“The Haircut” is a brilliant variation with a gorgeous violin solo); but it has another side, a more mysterious side, as the same melody is often heard for a much-reduced ensemble led by cimbalom, which also works very well.  A standalone piece, the brief “Welcome Home”, focuses on a separate melody which is so good it’s a shame the composer wasn’t able to develop it more through this or for that matter some other score.  There’s some lighthearted sinister music for the villains – I just love the gypsy stylings of “Chase” and the over-the-top pomp of “Bow and Arrow Run” in particular.  Not uncommonly, bits of source music find their way into the body of the score – the elegant “The Book Store” is a real beauty.  Tim Greiving’s excellent notes include quotes from new interviews with the director and with the composer’s widow Colette.  It’s a lovely score – admittedly, even at 48 minutes (before the lengthy bonus section) the material does feel like it’s spread a little thin, but there’s an easygoing charm to it all which makes it very hard to not be drawn under Delerue’s spell.  Not a major score by this composer’s standards, but it’s nice to finally be able to own it and it’s always nice to spend time in the company of the music of this unique composer.

Rating: *** | |

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