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So Fine
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • Music Box Records / 2016 / 31m

A largely-forgotten 1981 comedy, So Fine stars Ryan O’Neal as Bobby Fine, an English professor who finds himself having to run his father’s clothing business, on the verge of bankruptcy and owing lots of money to the dreaded Mr Eddie (Richard Kiel). After sleeping with Eddie’s wife, he has to escape her apartment wearing her jeans – which split and inadvertently create a new fashion trend.  Writer/director Andrew Bergman and producer Mike Lobell were deliberately trying to evoke the spirit of farcial Italian comedies and so turned to Ennio Morricone for the music (the composer had also recently scored the Lobell-produced Windows) – this was his first Hollywood comedy film. His score, never released in any form before this 2016 album from Music Box, is certainly written in a style consistent with a lot of his Italian comedies – which is to say, it’s a mixture of all sorts of styles. The relatively short album is made up of a relatively large number of tracks (23 of them – and the album is only 31 minutes long) which gives you an idea of the nature of the music, which offers miniature vignettes, mostly light, some filled with farce, some with passion, just a few with something more sinister. Somehow Morricone manages to keep everything entirely coherent and even manages to offer some development of the surprisingly large thematic base – and you never even really notice how brief most of the tracks are, so skilfully is it done.

The opening theme (“First Overture”… later reprised in “Second Overture”) reminds me of one of my favourite Morricone comedy themes, that from Il Gatto – it’s deliberately got the same Rossini influence and is quite delightful. The theme for Eddie’s wife Lira is genuinely lovely (“Lira Seduction”, “Lira’s Theme”). The more sinister theme is for Eddie himself, which even gets a disco version (which is actually my favourite rendition of it). There’s mock-dramatic action in “City Chase”, beautiful lounge music in “Clumsy and Sentimental”, a gorgeous little standalone piece of stately beauty in “Sentimental Discussion” and everything gets closed off in style with the breezy romantic mandolin-infused pop of “Italian Theme”. It’s not a major Morricone work, of course, but it’s a delightful little score with a surprising thematic depth and it’s a pleasure to have it released at last.

Rating: *** | |

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  1. dominique (Reply) on Monday 31 October, 2016 at 12:09

    thank you for this fine review, james! wink