Hugo Friedhofer's Boy on a Dolphin

One of Hugo Friedhofer’ best scores finally makes its return to CD in a newly expanded release from Intrada (albeit limited to 1500 copies, which ain’t enough for posterity). Boasting extra cues, the CD also presents the score in true stereo, which neither the Japanese CD nor the Decca and Varese LPs did.

Who was Hugo Friedhofer? One of many fine composers who enjoyed a busy career under the studio system – mostly at Fox – until production cutbacks basically dumped fine Oscar-winning/nominated composers into the unemployment lines, unless they found work in TV.

That’s more or less what happened to Friedhofer, and there’s something tragic in seeing a giant – former orchestrator to Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Oscar winner for scoring The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) – writing music for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964), when less than 10 years prior, he was among Fox’ A-list composers, writing music for some of the studio’s most mature if not high-profile CinemaScope productions.

Friedhofer’s move from works such as The Sun Also Rises (1957) to escapist juvenilia like Voyage improved a bit when he scored Roger Corman’s Von Richthofen and Brown (1971), but by then the style of writing sophisticated orchestral scores was already superceded with more rock and pop-oriented fodder. Friedhofer wrote just a handful of scores in the seventies – Paul Bartel’s Private Parts (1972) was his last credit – and very few of his scores were released on LP during his lifetime.

Boy on a Dolphin harkens back to the glossy escapist scores of the fifties, but it’s far more than mere themes and variations; it’s a sophisticated score largely derived from one theme, with absolutely stunning orchestrations. There’s a reasons fans of the movie keep bringing up the music in message boards; the title song (based on Takis Morakis’ “Tirafio Music”) is amazing, haunting, and lyrical, and the dramatic cues transcend a film designed to be Sophia Loren’s American film debut.

She’s a knockout, but some of that onscreen charisma comes from the music, and we’ve tried to explain the score’s power in another lengthy (overlong?) CD review.

Coming soon: a comparative film review of Boy on a Dolphin, plus another babe-in-the-water widescreen flick, John Sturge’s Underwater!


Visit’s Main Page HERE!
Technorati Tags: DVD Reviews


Copyright © mondomark