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Un Genio, Due Compari, Un Pollo
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • SLC / 32m

A 1975 comedy western, Un Genio, Due Compari, Un Pollo (whose literal translation is one of the great film titles – sadly it was released more mundanely as The Genius in English-speaking countries) was marketed in some territories as a sequel to My Name Is Nobody, though it isn’t really. Terence Hill does star, as a con-man who hatches a plan to steal a load of money from a fort (under the command of Patrick McGoohan); Damiano Damiani directed, the great Sergio Leone helmed the opening sequence, and you-know-who was on-hand to score.

Ennio Morricone was nearing the end of his list of westerns by this time and while there isn’t much that is genuinely fresh in it, it’s still overflowing with creativity and brilliance. It is very much a continuation of the sound of My Name Is Nobody – a genuinely brilliant score bursting with great themes and comic touches.

Ennio Morricone

The main theme is a direct offshoot of that score’s; a silly tune but an instantly-memorable one, lots of pop elements alongside the Morricone western theme trademarks. Another offshoot is the unbelievably good “Cavalcata… Per Elisa” which does for Beethoven what “Mucchio Selvaggio” did for Wagner. The way he integrates one of the most famous melodies in musical history is pure genius.

There are some other brilliant lighter moments – “Pepper Chewing-Gum” is a great tune, “Quando Arriva l’Amore” is light romance, making great use of Edda dell’Orso and the choir. It’s a lighthearted movie and pieces like these reflect that – they’re so much fun. Best of all is probably the totally bonkers variation on the main theme in “Questa Pazza, Pazza Corsa” with a frankly ludicrous effect running through it which sounds like a dog barking, male and female choir making various noises, all set amongst various up-tempo pop instruments.

There are some more serious, dramatic moments too though. “Il Pollo” is one – one of those last-man-standing type pieces that Morricone did so well in so many of these films. “Ansia dell’Oro” opens with a striking adventure theme, a picture of wide-open-spaces and bliss, before its much more suspenseful second half (amongst the most “serious” music on the album but there’s another suspense cue a bit later, the quirkier “Partita a Poker”).

There’s a beautiful original gospel-type song, “Glory, Glory, Glory” which is sung in English by Catherine Howe; its orchestral arrangement in “Dolore e Gioia” is stunningly beautiful.

While not quite as good as the amazing My Name is Nobody, this score makes a great companion-piece to it, and is completely entertaining from start to finish. It’s been released on CD three times but unfortunately each of those is now out of print and (unusually for a Morricone western score) there doesn’t seem to be a digital release, so it can be hard to find now. It’s worth the effort.

Rating: **** 1/2 | |

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  1. Antineutrino (Reply) on Sunday 13 January, 2013 at 17:42