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Typically lovely, charming Delerue score
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 1991 Warner Bros. Pictures; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall
A charming little family film, Curly Sue is a tale of an orphan girl and her young adventures, and was the last film directed by John Hughes, who made several of the popular teen films of the 1980s including The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off before producing Home Alone and other family favourites. The director's usual composer was Ira Newborn, but for this film he turned to the singular talents of the great Georges Delerue.
One of Delerue's final scores, it neatly sums up the charming, romantic style of his Hollywood days. It opens with one of his delightful, playful, gorgeous main themes - nobody but Delerue ever wrote quite like that, and it's enough to warm any heart. An attractive secondary theme - not dissimilar to that from Steel Magnolias - is introduced in "A Hot Bath and a Pizza, Aah!" (!) - light jazz, with the composer's phenomenal ability to toss out a memorable, winning melody seemingly on a whim very much in evidence.
"They Cut My Hair" has a darker hue to begin with, before the main theme is given a melancholy arrangement for solo piano, not unsurprisingly with gorgeous results. "Big Girls Go to School" features the secondary theme, this time played by flute, and conjures up images of a beautiful summer's day. The synth elements introduced in "Grey Was a Girl Once, Too" feel out of place and are the score's only real misfire - it's as if Delerue was uncomfortable writing for them, would rather not have been, and I wish he hadn't had to. It quickly disappears again, though, and the cue's ending features a stately passage of music which makes the earlier misfire easily forgotten (and forgiven). The finale, "Separation and Reunion", is stunning - a grand, sweeping close to the score.
Georges Delerue was a one-off, the only composer capable of enlivening something like Curly Sue to this degree. It's hardly a classic - not a major score by any means - but is so utterly charming, it's impossible not to fall in love with it.