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For: Music from the Movies THE ENEMY BELOW: Composer: Leigh Harline Orchestrations: Edward Powell
Intrada Special Collection Volume 15, TT: 51.48, 19 tracks (stereo)

**** Excellent

Producers: Nick Redman, Douglass Fake Performed: 20th Century-Fox Studio Orchestra, Conductor: Lionel Newman by Ross Care The very under rated Leigh Harline is best known for his early work at the Disney studio, but he later free lanced at just about every studio in Hollywood. During his lifetime his only major work to appear on record was his intricate, sophisticated score for Disney’s Pinocchio (1940), with its famous “When You Wish Upon A Star” (lyrics: Ned Washington), one of the most recorded movie songs of all time. In the 1930s he (and Frank Churchill) created some of the decade’s most charming film music for the Mickey Mouse/Silly Symphony shorts, essentially anonymously, as the only name on the credits then was Disney’s. The recent Silly Symphony DVD release showcases many of these inventive scores, still without exact composer credits, however. I have always championed Harline’s work, commencing with my overview of his career for Elmer Bernstein’s Filmmusic Notebook, an essay again available in the recent book edition of the complete Notebooks. (See MFTM #42). Though after Disney Harline was somewhat typecast in comedies and musicals he produced substantial serious scores as well, among them Isle of the Dead, They Live By Night, and The Boy With Green Hair in the 1940s. But the composer came into his own at 20th CenturyFox in the early ‘50s, scoring, among many other films, Sam Fuller’s Pickup On South Street and House of Bamboo, No Down Payment, and Ten North Frederick. From this period comes the WWII naval thriller, The Enemy Below, a powerful score recently released for the first time on Intrada Special Collections. Harline’s score opens with a kind of heroic and very memorable “March of Time” theme for the good guys, Americans, of course. It’s heard immediately in the Main Title, and is usually followed by short trumpet call/fanfare motifs. There is also a terse chordal motif for massed trombones for the German submarine, and most of the score is developed from these elements. The orchestration emphasizes strings and heavy brass, sometimes with pointillist daubs of color from piano, vibraphone,

2 xylophone, and marimba suggesting sonar/radar and liquid efx. Though the plot concerns “a deadly game of cat and mouse” between destroyer and sub, one can approach Harline’s atmospheric music as a vivid tone poem of the deeps that could just as easily track 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The score mostly alternates heroic moments with suspense cues showcasing the lower reaches of the orchestra, the stereo sound vividly capturing the massed brass – the notes list two tubas – and dense low strings. It’s mostly on-going action/atmosphere throughout, but the 2.17 End Title kicks in with a bit of stirring Americana. The stereo sound it pristine, spacious, and powerful, and there are seven bonus cues (8.34) of German band tunes and radar blips. A rare and welcome archival plus is Intrada’s listing of Fox orchestra personnel, among them Felix Slatkin, Vince DeRosa, and MGM arranger Leo Arnaud (on drums). Film Score Monthly recently released Harline’s excellent Fox western score, Broken Lance, so perhaps, like Mahler’s, Harline’s time has finally come. I personally eagerly await an original soundtrack from The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao, one of the composer’s last scores and one of his most charming and fantastic. Ross Care