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Occhio alla Penna
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • Digitmovies / 2007 / 47:01

As you may be aware, Ennio Morricone has scored a few westerns in his time.  Ask the average man on the street – go on, do it! – which genre of film they most associate Morricone with and you know what the answer will be – the western.  He has always been at pains to point out that actually they represent a very small proportion of his filmography – and indeed he got tired of the genre and appeared to have given it up entirely after 1975’s comic Un Genio, due Compari, un Pollo; but he was tempted back one last time in 1981 for the Bud Spencer movie Occhio alla Penna (aka Buddy Goes West).
The score opens with the slightly edgy “Non fare l’Indiano”, featuring some great vocals; then comes one of its highlights, “Estasi del miracolo”, featuring a trademark, gorgeous Morricone lilting melody which could melt any heart.

The slightly silly “Alleluja del buon raccolto” is pretty amusing; “L’ultima troma” has one of those fabulous trumpet solos which are in many ways the signature sound of the composer’s work in the genre as far as many are concerned – and it’s another great tune, too, reprised later in “Passaggio dal male al bene” in very different form, this time an oboe carrying the melody with wild harmonica accompaniment for the first half of the track, before reprising the pretty theme from “Estasi del miracolo” for the conclusion.  “Sfida all’ultima forchetta” is gloriously daft, a lovely classical pastiche used to comic effect (hints of Rossini abound).  “Grandino e Piccolone” is a comic piece vaguely reminiscent of the main theme from My Name is Nobody (with similar electronics) and actually offers the first glimpse of this score’s cheerful main theme, presented in full in the titular eighth track.  The brief “Dal Sarto” offers the final theme, a sprightly recorded solo.  There’s a lovely parody of the composer’s own “Farewell to Cheyenne” from Once Upon a Time in the West in “Pantomima del letto” and “Due simpatici zozzoni”.  “Prima dei Pugni” is a fabulous piece of saloon piano music.  As you can tell, there’s an awful lot of material here – the album packs a hell of a lot of different tunes in.  It’s not A-grade Morricone western music, but it’s hugely entertaining and a must-buy for fans of the composer.  The original album was a shade over half an hour and was great; this 2007 expansion from Digitmovies adds about 15 minutes of alternate versions of material already there.

Rating: **** |

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  1. Paul Cote (Reply) on Thursday 17 January, 2013 at 22:49

    Ask the average guy on the street what genre they most associate Morricone with, and the most likely response is actually, “Who the $@#& are you?! Who is Morricone? I don’t have any change.” The second most likely response is non-verbal, but it involves pepperspray.

  2. James Southall (Reply) on Thursday 17 January, 2013 at 23:07

    I think you’ll be surprised! I met a lovely gentleman earlier today who was was smoking a cigarette with one hand and urinating with the other, and while he said he appreciated Morricone’s scores for crime dramas – particularly in the early 1970s, with his personal favourite being Revolver – he would of course always associate him primarily with westerns.

  3. Paul Cote (Reply) on Sunday 20 January, 2013 at 18:08

    Haha, nice.