Savant Column

Saturday November 11, 2017


If there’s a strange web clip to be found, count on Gary Teetzel or Ed Sullivan to tip me off with a link. Today Gary sends along this self-explanatory YouTube curiosity, GoPro Gets Melted by Lava and Survives.

Scary stuff, lava — one has to remember that it’s as hot as a blast furnace. Maybe my morbid imagination has kept me from getting in trouble doing crazy things like these intrepid GoPro enthusiasts: while they are setting their camera to capture a great video of a creeping blob of molten rock, how can they be sure that the cooled lava they’re standing on isn’t being undermined by an enormous unseen flow? Or that a vent won’t open up a few feet away and blast them with superheated gas? I still have strange dreams that recreate ridiculous dangerous pickles I got myself into when I was young and stupid adventurous. Do other people have ‘revisits’ of the same kinds of dreams?

More interesting news from Gary, about a film score release on what to me is an unfamiliar format:

Dutton Vocalion, a label I’ve never heard of, has reissued the Charles Gerhardt RCA Classic Film Scores album dedicated to Dimitri Tiomkin on the SACD Hybrid format, meaning you can play it on regular CD players as well as SACD players. As a bonus, they’re including the lengthy Tiomkin suite from The Thing from Another World that was previously only available on the compilation album Spectacular World of Film Music. (Details Here.) An asterisk next to The Thing suite says that the music is for the “first time available in quadraphonic sound.” Apparently, the Tiomkin album was released in a quad version as well as stereo, but the Spectacular World of Film Music album was not.

No word on whether this music label will revisit any of the other Charles Gerhardt RCA recordings. On the first CD release of his Sea Hawk album, Gerhardt wrote that extra music had been recorded for all of the albums but was cut due to time restrictions on the LPs. He planned to include the never-released music on the CD versions, and indeed, The Sea Hawk did include a few minutes of hitherto unreleased Korngold. Then Gerhardt died, and RCA simply reissued the old albums on CD with no additional music, and some dubious 5.1 remixes. Weirdly, some unreleased music did later surface courtesy of the U.S. Post Office. When they released their stamps devoted to film composers, there was a companion CD of Gerhardt suites which included an extra cue in the suite for The Fountainhead.

So I’m crossing my fingers that maybe, just maybe, this label will unearth some of the unreleased Gerhardt recordings.

Incidentally, I read a rumor online that before RCA pulled the plug on the series, there were plans for albums devoted to Sir William Walton, Elmer Bernstein, Victor Young, westerns, horror, sci-fi movies and classic scores for great actresses. I want to slip into some alternate universe where those albums came to fruition. — Gary”

I thought this was of interest because those Gerhardt albums in the 1970s were what got me interested in old film music, of course after the Phase 4 Bernard Herrmann – Hitchcock records of late 1960’s.

And finally, Olive Films has announced, for its Olive Signature Series, new discs of Max Ophuls’ Letter from an Unknown Woman and Elaine May’s A New Leaf. The releases are scheduled for early December, which is excellent timing. It’s also good news for me, for not long after I got my standard disc of the Joan Fontaine movie, it had an unfortunate encounter with some scalding coffee. Not recommended.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson