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Vintage Bernstein score should thrill his fans

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Album cover copyright (c) 2007 Turner Entertainment Co.; review copyright (c) 2007 James Southall

A popular film based on James Jones's novel, Some Came Running is still fondly thought-of today.  Vincenti Minnelli was a versatile director - and indeed, the same year as this serious drama was released, he won an Oscar for the musical comedy Gigi.  He worked with a wide range of wonderful composers during his career - and this was his only collaboration with the great Elmer Bernstein.  While Bernstein is rightly lauded for his jazz score for The Man with the Golden Arm, perhaps some of his other early, pioneering entries in that category are not so frequently mentioned.  He not only continued that, but also his brief association with the films of Frank Sinatra, here.

The "Prelude" which opens the disc is powerful and puncy, almost like Alex North's complex jazzy orchestral music - and is certainly one of the score's highlights.  The somewhat lengthy score is a combination of that dramatic style, some more long-lined "traditional" scoring for the more romantic segments, and some great jazz riffs - some source, some underscore.  There is a great piece of unbridled americana in "The View from Parkman", a beautiful Bernstein theme.  "Thwarted" offers a playful introduction for the love theme - old-fashioned for sure, but full of the characteristic Bernstein charm.

Thre's a pair of real peaches in the middle of the album - "Fight" is a violent, dissonant piece of action music which is vintage Bernstein; and by complete contrast, "Gwen's Theme / Metamorphosis" is a true beauty, swooning and cooing in the most romantic way imaginable for its first half before giving way to some trademark florid wind writing in its second.  "Comes the Dawn" is a wonderful piece of dramatic scoring - the strings swell, but the piece remains intensely suspenseful and if the sound quality were better you'd have no idea whether it was from a 1950s Bernstein score or a 2000s one - his best music always had such a timeless quality.

Perhaps the score's strongest moments come towards its conclusion - the two-part "Pursuit" represents some of the most ferocious, uncompromising music Bernstein ever wrote.  It reprises the fine music from the prelude, builds upon it and Bernstein concocts a breathless portrait of overt terror.  The composer maintains the frenetic pace through "Denouement", which is slightly more melodramatic but just as effective.  

Some Came Running is a terrific Bernstein score, and gets the usual gold standard treatment from Film Score Monthly.  Sadly the sound quality is not the best (though from Lukas Kendall's notes, it seems like it was a miracle there was any release at all) but it is more than good enough to allow the listener to derive a lot of please from the beautiful music.  As usual, there's a host of bonus material (source music and alternate cues) - and the famous song "To Love and Be Loved" written for the film by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, and later recorded by both of this film's stars, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin - though neither of them recorded it at the time!  Cloud Nine Records previously released the original album presentation on CD (coupled with Kings Go Forth) - but even those who own that release are recommended to get this one, with all its fine extra music.  A high-quality release which is FSM's finest in a while.


  1. Prelude (1:47)
  2. Fifty Dollars / Home Town (1:05)
  3. Dave's Double Life (2:08)
  4. Smitty's Cocktail Hour / Quonset (:40)
  5. The View from Parkman (1:53)
  6. Gwen (:55)
  7. Better Beguine (1:35)
  8. Thwarted (1:50)
  9. On the Head (1:06)
  10. Short Noise (:29)
  11. Like Wow (3:15)
  12. Mambo for Ginny (1:30)
  13. Fight (1:20)
  14. Gwen's Theme / Metamorphosis (5:24)
  15. Frank Rejected (1:13)
  16. Tryst (1:50)
  17. Comes the Dawn (1:16)
  18. Rejection (2:47)
  19. To Love and Be Loved (instrumental) (1:57)
  20. Dawn at Dawn (:53)
  21. Discovery / Parting (1:48)
  22. Ginny (2:24)
  23. The Noblest Act (1:14)
  24. Tired / No Help / Reflection (1:!7)
  25. Live It Up (1:29)
  26. Pursuit, Part 1 (1:47)
  27. Pursuit, Part 2 (1:44)
  28. Denouement (2:06)
  29. Shock (2:00)
  30. Catharsis (:59)

    Bonus tracks
  31. Live It Up / Crocked (2:13)
  32. Blues (improv) / After You've Gone (2:47)
  33. Don't Blame Me (3:21)
  34. Blue Moon (3:09)
  35. Calliope I (1:15)
  36. Calliope II (1:34)
  37. Calliope III (:45)
  38. Calliope IV (:49)
  39. Waltz Around (1:05)
  40. Carnival Corn (2:12)
  41. Round and Round (2:02)
  42. Mary Go Round and Round (1:23)
  43. To Love and Be Loved (vocal) (2:56)