Soundtrack Reviews & Sundry

October 25, 2011 | By

See? Even Japan cares!

This week will be mighty busy, as I’ll have a review of several films playing at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, including Julian Roffman’s The Mask (1961), often cited by critics & historians as Canada’s first true horror film + 3D film + the first Canuckle film to be distributed by a major U.S. studio.

It may sounds insignificant, but it’s a major stepping stone among the few independent productions that managed to enjoy broad distribution instead of the brief theatrical runs due to foreign control of the theatrical distribution system.

Sadly, no one seems to care about the film’s anniversary. As a colleague discovered, calls and emails to a major T.O. paper went unanswered when he attempted to pitch a piece about the film’s 50th anniversary. It’s sad when major publications either aren’t aware or couldn’t care less about laudable milestones. Cheesy film? Absolutely, but it’s no less worthy of coverage than Atom Egoyan discussing his use of Toronto in Chloe – a subject local papers and blog sites had no problem covering in detail.

The Mask screens this Wed. at the TBL (in 3D!), and I’ll have a review of the film + Roffman’s prior feature, The Bloody Brood (1959), which marked Peter Falk’s film debut. [Note: those curious can find the film gratis at]

Those wanting extra CanCon fromage can also see a 35mm print of David Cronenberg’s Shivers (1975) being screened at The Revue, part of Chris Alexander’s Film School Confidential series. It’s free, too, and showing tonight is Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968) with a gorgeous score by Christopher Komeda. Naturally, I’ve work to do on each of those nights.


I’ll post a soundtrack release tally shortly, but I noticed Marco Beltrami’s Mimic score was released by Varese Sarabande in an expanded CD. Great! Except it sold out fast.

I know it’s a Hollywood-recorded score, but given the Director’s Cut is on Blu-ray, Guillermo del Toro has promoted the film in local screenings in Toronto (‘cause he’s here shooting Pacific Rim), and the film has a large fan base, why not make 3000 copies instead of 1000?

I love Varese, but I have a tough time understanding the runs of some titles. There are still copies of their Alfred Hitchcock Hour Vol. 1 set featuring Bernard Herrmann scores. Given there are still copies of the 3000-run set in stock, it made sense to press 2000 copies of the new 3-disc Vol. 2 set, and yet more people know about Mimic than the Alfred Hitchcock Hour, so one would assume the cost of a higher run would be offset by larger, faster sales, oui?

In any event, I foresee eBay sales from speculators, and maybe bootlegging, which will delay a reissue for maybe 5 years. It happened with the label’s prior Predator CD, and it can happen again.

Moving on.

I’ve uploaded a quartet of soundtrack reviews: Silva Screen’s compilation series continues with Music from the Transformers Trilogy [M] by Steve Jablonsky, The Music of Michel Legrand [M] in a newly recorded 2-CD set, and The Music of James Horner [M], also spanning 2 CDs. Also reviewed is La-La Land’s Commando [M], featuring every note of James Horner’s memorable score plus the “Somewhere, Somehow” song.

One last thing: apparently there will be limited posters designed by Rue Morgue’s Gary Pullin & Justin Erickson given out available for sale (see Comments below for info) at the upcoming In Conversation with… Guillermo del Toro at the TBL.

As I said, I’m working that night, but will imagine the amusing, incisive discussion that will take place. He’s a great raconteur, balancing wit, wisdom, theory, practical filmmaking views, and profanity, and love his appearances in Toronto venues. Thank goodness he’s making an epic that will take 2 years to complete.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

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