A Renaissance Tale

Those only familiar with George Romero's Living Dead series will probably scratch their heads and wonder why the director chose to make Knightriders (1981), ostensibly a character drama about a travelling Renaissance troupe.

For fans of his increasing bloody zombie films, it's puzzling, but Knightriders is a fine example of Romero's storytelling ability, as well as his affinity for dramatizing shifting power dynamics within a tightly knitted group of friends and lovers - aspects certainly present in his first three zombie films.

Knightriders is long - at two hours one has to warm to the characters or the film won't click - but it's also graced with a rich score by Donald Rubinstein, a talented composer whose work in film has pretty much been for Romero.

Perseverance's CD presents the entire score, and in a way the album is a throwback to the first soundtrack LPs that allowed film fans to relive aspects of their favourite movies when home video was non-existent.

Radioplays (like Lux Radio Theatre) let people relive a movie at home, combining the listener's imagination with the compressed film dialogue in a one hour format (like Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound), but the soundtrack album - if available, which often wasn't the case during the forties and early fifties - was something anyone could buy and play at home to 'relive' favourite film moments via love themes, heroic marches, pensive moody pieces, or kinetic action cuts.

It sounds creaky and stilted, but that's what many soundtrack albums still do, saving you a large chunk of time without watching the movie again when you want to relive specific moments. Ergo, while Knightriders as a film is worth the time investment, Perseverance's CD compacts the film into a roughly hour-long musical narrative, and a damn good one.

Coming next: Elmer Bernstein's Laurette/Prince Jack from Kritzerland.



Copyright © mondomark