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Woman Times Seven
  • Composed by Riz Ortolani
  • Quartet Records / 2013 / 31m

An unusual 1967 sex comedy produced by Joseph E. Levine, Woman Times Seven stars Shirley MacLaine in seven separate vignettes, playing a different woman in each one, with various different co-stars (including Michael Caine and Peter Sellers).  Before Ennio Morricone came to international prominence, Riz Ortolani was probably the highest-profile Italian film composer working sometimes in American-funded films.  By the time he scored Woman Times Seven, he had got good notices and an Oscar nomination for Mondo Cane and then more for The Yellow Rolls-Royce.  While capable of writing in numerous different styles, from dissonant suspense and horror through to full-bodied orchestral action/adventure, this score is very much in keeping with those for films in this genre in the 1960s – what some might call “light music”.

It’s all rather charming, if a little unsubstantial.  The main title theme is very pleasant, especially its dramatic big band-style introduction, and there are two other themes that actually occur a handful of times through the body of the score, linking the episodes together.  “They Told Me” is a lavish pop-based tune, my favourite version of which is the swing arrangement in “At the Dance”.  “What To Do?” is an elegant Parisian piece, full of romance – it’s a very beautiful melody.  “Lovers’ Funeral” is (unsurprisingly) cut from a darker cloth, though there’s still an underlying comic air; “Marie Theresa” perhaps the most dramatic piece here, with an air of suspense to it; there’s a sultry air to the sax solo of “Painting on the Wall” – if anything this material feels a bit more satisfying to me than the lighter material which dominates.  “Three for a Dance” is a highly entertaining rock and roll instrumental; it’s actual source music, but there’s a fine line really for much of the music here between score and source.  It’s a very nice album if you like the lighter side of things.

Rating: *** | |

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