Review

Sir André Previn's entire score for the Vincente Minnelli World War II epic 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse has been fully restored on this limited-edition disc. As the first cut of the film ran in excess of three hours, when it was whittled down to two and a half, much of Previn's soundtrack went with it. Likewise, the original 12-song motion picture soundtrack LP -- originally issued in 1962 -- contained less than half of the music scored, arranged, and recorded by Previn and the MGM Studio Orchestra. After nearly three decades, Rhino HandMade and Turner Movie Classics have teamed up to issue this painstaking release. After a maze of production and editorial delays, Previn created a soundtrack which, by all accounts, equals -- if not surpasses -- his other notable collaborations with Minnelli. This was indeed no small feat, as the list includes musical epics such as Brigadoon and Gigi, among others. Likewise, Previn's capacity to sonically match the visual grandeur of the images on the screen and ability to defy cinematic or musical genre has rarely been as evident as it is on 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The same can also be said of his immense talents as an arranger and conductor of the MGM Orchestra. Although the vast majority of the score consists of instrumental incidental music, the mid-tempo jazzy and Latin-influenced "Mine for the Moment" -- which is sung in Spanish during its brief cinematic appearance -- stands out as the sole vocal on the soundtrack. This previously unissued version features noted studio vocalist Eileen Wilson, whose other credits include a tenure with Les Brown as well as her supporting role in Irving Berlin's Call Me Madam. The remainder of the disc contrasts bombastic and militant ("Medley: Horsemen/Evacuation" and "Student Strife") with the tender and affective ("Sports Car" and "The Key") as well as hauntingly noir ("Qual A'Orleans"). While the content is mostly presented in keeping with the film's chronology, the "Overture (Ent'racte)" leads the proceedings -- rather than being stuck in its original post-intermission locale. Additionally, it should be noted that the version of the "Main Title," which is heard here, is the original and not the re-recording used when the soundtrack was issued in 1962. ~ Lindsay Planer, Rovi

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