Franz Waxman took over from Alfred Newman for this more action-oriented sequel to the smash Cinemascope hit THE ROBE, music that lavished in the widescreen opportunities for sex, slaying and that good old time Hollywood religion. Making an on-screen point that he was taking a very big spiritual cue from Newman’s original work in addition to themes from its holy melodic clothing, Waxman’s score is a colorful blend of sword-and-sandal spectacle and messianic message so particular to this genre, music that’s exciting and moving in equal measure. While not trying to ethnically capture the sounds of a Roman Empire under the mad collapse of Emperor Caligula, Waxman’s uses the full, studio system force of the orchestra to give DEMITRIUS a feel that’s both sainted, and stately, movingly conveying its hero’s spiritual transformation (complete with a finale of “Gloria”) to make this score both a tribute to Steiner’s lionization of Newman’s work, as well as one that works terrifically on its biblical epic own.
Previously released on Film Score Monthly, Michael Matessino’s sonorous restoration also includes percussion tracks, fanfares and “Gloria,” sans voice, making this a welcome purchase for golden age Hollywood score fans, with Kritzerland head Bruce Kimmel contributing some cattily fun liners about the Hollywood business sense that really ruled its bible stories, as well as revealing the power of Waxman’s first musical opening of the Cinemascope scripture.
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Article: CD Review of the DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS soundtrack