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It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World Soundtrack — Ernest Gold

by on Feb.08, 2008, under Reviews

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World - Ernest Gold

Ernest Gold was so adept at his craft, it is hard to believe that much of his career was spent scoring unremarkable television programs and B-movies. His long-running relationship with director Stanley Kramer led to many collaborations, including It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in 1963. Billed as “the comedy to end all comedies,” this star-studded, Ultra Panavision 70 spectacle needed a rollicking soundtrack to match. And that, Ernest Gold delivered. Gold’s “merry-go-round” approach captures the essence of Mad World’s fruitless race perfectly; carefully orchestrated themes reflect and magnify the on-screen action.

That stated, this compilation has its shortcomings. Obviously, this recording is not the original soundtrack but is instead a re-record with a smaller orchestra. The difference is particularly noticeable in the overture. Rather than an overwhelming, thundering chorus, the vocals seem to be coming from a stripped-down ensemble. The arrangements differ from the originals as well, with each track being much shorter than the movie version. Despite these departures from the original soundtrack, this recording is bold and well balanced with fidelity and noise control that is decent for its era. A casual listener would be hard-pressed to distinguish this recording from the actual soundtrack.

Also on the CD are some dialog snippets taken from the movie, but I find these to be excessively annoying. The last track is an excerpt from Something a Little Less Serious, the 1991 making-of feature included on the “restored” video release.

The liner booklet includes a fold-out movie poster—albeit from the 1970 theatrical re-release. The insert also contains notes by score critic Andy Dursin and some interesting photos but looks like a (decent) graphic design student’s senior project and somehow seems misplaced.


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