The panel discussion/Q&A with regards to Something Wicked This Way Comes and George Delerue's unused score was quite special this last weekend, especially when sharing the panel with Colette Delerue. Presented by Taylor White's Creature Features in conjunction with the release of our new CD, the session afforded a wealth of information from several authorities on Disney's original cut of the film and the heavily re-cut version that was scored by James Horner. Tim Greiving, author of our liner notes, hosted the discussion. As time permits, Regina will post some photos, taken by Kerry, on our Facebook page.
Colette was the highlight for me. She spoke on personal terms about living with this most-gifted composer who was famous for being the musical voice of the French "new wave". She and I have traded emails for years, typically from her Paris home. We finally had a chance to visit together and spend some precious time talking about her husband's contributions to both the world of cinema - and (happily) Intrada's small part in making some of the music available to that same world.
The focus of the afternoon was understandably on the original cut of the movie and Delerue's music. Having produced both the Horner and Delerue soundtracks, I sometimes found myself in a weird (but fun) position of trying to support both visions of the music. Unquestionably, the film Delerue scored was a slower-paced movie with atmosphere to burn. The father/son relationship anchored, the regrets and redemption themes dominated. Delerue found this dynamic to be the movie's emotional center and his music went in that melancholy direction, particularly with his use of saddened strings alone, a haunting color that literally cried with past regret. He, of course, surrounded those cues with other ideas of both gentle subtlety and great power, as per the needs of the film.
James Horner, on the other hand, was given a movie with much tighter pacing, more scares, more special effects and, importantly, less focus on the father/son and regrets and redemption imagery. Less dialogue, more action, in other words. None-the-less, without the heart of director Jack Clayton's original vision, Horner had less movie to work with. So his focus became the quicker feel, the scarier stuff, the effects.
It's really interesting to notice, though, one particular vision in the movie that drastically alters the architectural approach for both composers. And both approaches work! Both films open with scary images of Mr. Dark's carnival train approaching. But in the early version, it takes quite a while before the movie explores the two boys and their friendship. So Delerue has little opportunity to "open up" his accompanying waltz theme until the very end credits themselves. After similar opening credits, however, the re-cut film begins with the two boys running through their small Indiana town during a warm Autumn afternoon, affording Horner the opportunity to begin his score proper with his own sweeping, nostalgic waltz-like music. What's cool about both approaches, music-wise, is that Delerue gets to paint his work in an overall shift from darker ideas to ultimately sunny ones at the end. It's a musical redemption of sorts and quite powerful in imagery. Sort of an A to C idea with lots of B-stuff in between. But Horner has a cool approach, too, opening with that sunny image that becomes immersed in evil happenings before ultimately returning to those youthful origins redeemed - which is the key image concluding the picture itself. So Horner paints in a broad arch, sort of an A-B-A technique. Also a sound, musical approach.
How sad it is that we can never have these two towering artists speak together about the two versions of the movie and their distinctive approaches to the music. But how wonderful it is that we can enjoy their contributions today, on merits of musical value alone - which indeed are tremendous.
I really have to thank our friends at Disney for making it possible... and to you guys, as well, many of whom appear to have supported both our 2009 Horner release and now this new one by Delerue. :D