William Stromberg conducts the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Score reconstruction by John Morgan. Music preparation by Anna Bonn and William Stromberg.
From the narrow recording range of mid-1930s technology and studio compromises, Max Steiner's amazing music for 'She Who Must Be Obeyed' finally explodes into restored orchestral brilliance in She, the latest CD from Tribute Film Classics.
The 1935 film, produced by Merian C. Cooper from the story by H. Rider Haggard, follows a group of Arctic explorers searching for the land of Kor and the legendary 'Flame of Life' capable of granting immortality to whoever bathes in it. They are successful, but run afoul of the ageless, beautiful queen who desires one of them for her eternal lover. The film starred Randolph Scott, Helen Mack, and Nigel Bruce, and featured Helen Gahagan (in her only role) as She.
Despite lackluster box-office and negative reviews, one aspect of the film has always been revered – Steiner's magnificent score that is at-once powerful, mystical, and diversely colorful. Yet even that was compromised by a budget that saw his orchestra dwindled and musical passages truncated.
But with Tribute's new rerecording using Steiner's original pencil sketches, those problems have been eliminated and his work has at last been given the true opulence it deserves. With the addition of a female choir, the orchestra reached 60 players at times. The score restoration is by Tribute partners Anna Bonn, John Morgan and William T. Stromberg, who also conducts the Moscow Symphony Orchestra in an extremely rich and nuanced performance. With this release, "She is finally getting the respect that has been denied her for over seventy years," Morgan said.
Stromberg said, "Having been a major Max Steiner fan all of my life and having had the opportunity to conduct many of his complete early scores for RKO... producing and conducting this score for the film She was the rewarding experience I knew it would be. "
"With the months involved with this new recording, the main theme has become one of my personal favorites by Steiner," Bonn adds. "I am very pleased to have been a part of maintaining this score's 'flame of life'."
Included in the CD's 32-page booklet is a note from special-effects giant Ray Harryhausen, a thorough history of the production by James V. D'Arc, and extensive cue-by-cue analysis by Ray Faiola. The booklet (with alluring, yet dynamic cover art) is designed by Jim Titus.
All Tribute Film Classics albums are also available at www.screenarchives.com