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VCL 0306 1049

Album cover copyright (c) 1980 Varese Sarabande Records, Inc.; review copyright (c) 2006 James Southall



Sumptuous romantic effort from the master of them 


A satirical, romantic farce set at the Cannes Film Festival (I know what you're thinking - another satirical, romantic farce set at the Cannes Film Festival?), Michael Ritchie's An Almost Perfect Affair hardly set the world alight, and was a critical disaster.  On the plus side, it was one of the earlier Hollywood-produced movies scored by Georges Delerue, who contributed his Oscar-winning A Little Romance at roughly the same time.  Sadly, few of his American films were actually any good, but the quality of the music was unwavering, with Delerue somehow always seeming to find inspiration from the films where others found none.

An Almost Perfect Affair opens with its main theme, a delightful waltz that could easily come from one of the composer's scores for Truffaut (it's actually rather reminiscent of Delerue's "Valse à François T", written for a tv special).  It's beautiful stuff, perfectly capturing the sunny atmosphere of southern France, with a hint of the bustle of the Festival as well.  "Alone in Cannes" presents a piano theme, another beautiful piece, and the highlights keep coming through the first few cues.  "Gambling on Love" is simply rapturous, a grand, gallic celebration of amour; and "Thinking of Love" is another one!  "Bicycle Thief", with its dynamic trumpet solo, is strangely reminiscent of Elmer Bernstein's westerns - but still full of the Delerue charm and unmistakable style.  Things get more sedate in "Growing Affection", with blossoming love perfectly summed up; and then there's another rapturous, soaring presentation of the main waltz, in "Weekend in the Country".  All of this - and the album isn't even half way through yet!

The highlights just keep on coming, with Delerue's joie de vivre shining through as much as ever, and his gifts as a master melodist on display.  It's not a substantial score on the level of the composer's greats, but is utterly charming, infectiously so, and Delerue's fans will find it irresistible.  There is a lightness and grace about it that the composer was sometimes not able to employ on his American movies (great though some of the resulting scores were) that has far more in common with his renowned French scores.  

The album was released in 1980 on LP by Varese Sarabande, and now appears on CD for the first time as part of the label's CD Club.  Sadly, it was a 1,000-copy limited edition which sold out within hours.  While I understand the business reasons for these releases, and indeed appreciate that in all probability it's the only way that a lot of these scores will ever be released, it does seem a shame that those fans who are just unable to get to a computer on time (perhaps they're away on holiday, or just still in bed!) and indeed those future generations of fans who don't even know they love Delerue yet, will be unable to get there hands on the music.  It is frequently said that today is a golden age for film music aficionados, and it indisputably is, but future generations of fans may not be quite so fortunate, given that so much of the music being released today is disappearing from circulation virtually as soon as it arrives.  Still, I guess the next recording medium will be commonplace within a few years, and we'll all be collecting limited edition soundtrack albums on whatever that turns out to be!


  1. Main Title (5:39)
  2. Alone in Cannes (1:51)
  3. Gambling on Love (1:48)
  4. Thinking of Maria (:52)
  5. Bicycle Thief (1:02)
  6. Growing Affection (1:48)
  7. Weekend in the Country (1:44)
  8. Slow Dancing (3:36)
  9. An Almost Perfect Affair (1:47)
  10. Boating on the Grass (1:55)
  11. Rejection (1:08)
  12. Midnight in Cannes (2:21)
  13. Kidnapping Maria (1:11)
  14. Deals Over Cocktails (1:21)
  15. Screening (1:07)
  16. Airport Farewell (3:15)