Well, dear readers, I forgot to mention that yesterday was the birthday of my close personal friend, Mr. Stephen Sondheim. So, I offer this What If, which I wrote for one of last year’s Kritzerland shows – not sure if I shared that video since there was a lyric flub or two, but you’ll be able to sing along all by yourselves. And for purists, the reason the extra “tonight” is there at the end is because we quoted “Tonight” in that bar – it was really funny and a good capper.
What if the Stephen Sondheim of 1962 instead of writing A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum had written – Sweeney Todd? It might have gone something like this:
Spoken: Playgoers, I bid you welcome. The Federal is a temple, and we are here to worship the gods of comedy and tragedy. Tonight, I am pleased to announce – a tragedy.
Something with razors
Something with meat pies
Something for everyone
In Sweeney Todd tonight
We’ve got Johanna
We’ve got Judge Turpin
Watch out! The blood will flow in
Sweeney Todd tonight
Nothing that’s cute
Nothing that’s sweet
You’ll see it’s true
You are what you eat
You’ll find the story
Gets pretty gory
You’ll find that nothing turns out right
Company tomorrow, Sweeney Todd tonight
Spoken: It all takes place in London – a great big hole like a great big pit and the vermin of the world inhabit it – first, Johanna, stolen by Judge Turpin, who likes to flog himself while singing cut songs – second, Mrs. Lovett, a dotty old woman who makes meat pies peppered with actual shepherd – and finally, Sweeney Todd – Sweeney is probably my favorite character in the piece. A role of enormous insanity and madness, and played by an actor of such … let me put it this way … I play the part!
People get shaved here
No one gets saved here
No one finds happiness
In Sweeney Todd tonight
Old Mrs. Lovett
Thinks nothing of it
To bake a little priest
In Sweeney Todd tonight
Todd gets revenge
Turpin’s the prize
One thing’s for certain
No pretty sets here
No safety nets here
Nothing that’s breezy and/or light
Barber chairs and Judges
Barbers who hold grudges
Blood that keeps on flowing
Body count keeps growing
Jig-jigs and muffs
Slit throats galore
And we will leave you
Hungry for more
Straight from the harbor
One crazy barber
One big epiphany takes flight
Merrily tomorrow, Sweeney Todd, Sweeney Todd, Sweeney Todd, Sweeney Todd Sweeney Todd tonight
Tonight – it’s Sweeney Todd tonight!
Now, let’s get down to brass tacks or, at the very least, aluminum tacks. Last night, I happened to watch the extras on the That Man from Rio Blu-ray. One of them is about the collaboration of Georges Delerue and Phillipe De Broca and it features record producer from France, pontificating, but, more importantly, taking credit for that which he deserves none. So, let’s go back one decade, exactly ten years ago last week. The year before that, Universal France had released a CD of the De Broca/Delerue collaboration That Man from Rio and Up to His Ears. In the booklet, said record producer states very clearly that the reason that there are only three actual soundtrack cues on the CD is because the That Man from Rio cupboard was bare at the widow Delerue’s. Nothing beyond four cues, only three of which were used on the CD because those tapes simply were not there and didn’t exist. Instead, said record producer hired Alexandre Desplat to newly-record some of the other cues. I was very put off by the release, but it was what it was.
Flash forward a year later and I’m doing lots of soundtracks from MGM/UA and I find on my list of stuff, That Man from Rio. All it said was there were some tapes, so I had them pulled and after inventorying them I licensed the title – because I’d found EVERYTHING. An original album master for an LP that was never released, the eight tracks included on two separate EP releases (which of course were on the album master), and then on a tape labeled “outtakes” the rest of the entire score – every note of music written for the film, some in mono, some in stereo. It was amazing. It took me one entire sixteen-hour day to listen and make notes, and over the course of a week to figure out how it was all going to fit together into a cohesive whole, as the film itself did a lot of music editing, cutting off cues, reusing cues, combining cues. It took a long, long time but I finally got our mastering guy an editing road map and in the end we included every note of music we had in a bonus section. I was very proud of our release. To give you an idea of what this road map looked like and how complicated it occasionally gets – here it is for your mental delectation.
That Man From Rio – edit list (NOTE! I haven’t given ANY of these proper track titles – the proper track titles follow the edit list and bonus tracks – see below).
- Reel 1&2 m01 (this sounds pretty good as is, but if you can figure out what take is used – I think it’s songs 01 with an edit from one of the “cloches” tracks from the session tapes – and recreate exactly how it edits at the end to the cow bells, use that if it’s better. But this is the opening and it should be the same length as it is in the film.
- Album 03 The Abduction
- Album 15 Adrian Attacks
- Outtakes 06 edits with Album 01 Eight Days Leave
- Outtakes 09,10 and 16A edit together as one
- Songs 01 Gatucocola (use app. 40 seconds) edited together with Album 09 Attack By Indians
- songs 05 Almedina
- Album 11 At Di Voldes Home
- Album 08 The Amazon Statuettes
- Outtakes 22, 23, and 25 all edit together
- Outtakes 17 and 18b edit together
- Songs Plage (don’t know the number – the Yul Brynner song)
- Songs 01 Gatucocola (or use a different take if you like) – I’d like approximately forty to fifty seconds and then a crossfade into outtakes 28, 32, and 36
- Outtakes 29 and 30 edit together
- Outtakes 40B
- Album 04 Chase To Orly Airport
- Album 06 Sir Winston, The Bootblack
- Album 17 Back In Paris (I only want to use the fanfare type music – it goes to something else at about :54 – they obviously did some editing here – just bank the rest of the track and I’m deciding whether to use it elsewhere).
- Outtakes 48
- Album 12 Killing In The Strong Room
- Album 05 Flight To Rio
- Outtakes 41
- Songs 06 Lola avec guitarre
- Outtakes 40
- Album 10 The Race To Brasilia
- Album 07 Agnes Is Found
- Album 13 Through The Jungle – after about six seconds of those flute “bird calls” end the piece.
- Album 02 Theft at Musee De L’Homme
- Album 16 The Demolition Experts
- Songs 04 Gatucocola – use about twenty seconds or so, then crossfade into Outtakes 50
Here’s something to try: Try using outtakes 27 edited into the two jaunty themes you’re pulling OUT of Album17 Back In Paris – if it works, use it as one of the bonus tracks – should follow outtake 17 in the bonus tracks.
That’s basically all the film tracks save for a couple of repetitive guitar tracks and whistling, which we’ll put on as bonus tracks – they are:
Outtakes 12A, 12B, 12C, 16, 17, 31 (piano piece – about 100 dbs too quiet, what’s with that – I’ll hunt and see if we have an alternate – nope, that’s it – if you can use, do, if not it doesn’t really matter), 35, 40t, 41, 42, 44. Then, from the session reel, we could use the alternate takes of the following: 04 (tk1), 05 (tk1), 11A (tk2), 22 (tk1), 23 (tk3), 32 (tk2), 36 (tk1), 45 (tk1), and 48 (tk1). For track 48 keep the slate, too. These bonus tracks can be in that order – I think they’ll play okay.
- Main Title
- Eight Days Leave/Theft At The Museum
- The Thieves Escape/The Professor Kidnapped/Quick Change
- Flight To Rio/Airport Mayhem
- Welcome To Rio/Following The Bad Guys
- Sir Winston
- More Adventure
- Night In Rio
- The Seashore
- Agnes and Sir Winston Dance/Rescuing The Professor
- On The Road
- The Adventure Continues
- Romantic Moment
- Fireworks At De Castro’s Party
- The Real Statue
- Parachute To The Alligators
- The Amazon
- Close Shave
- The Café
- The Three Statues
- Agnes Learns The Truth
- Through The Jungle
- The Secret Of The Statues
- In And Out Of Danger
- End Title
So, there you see all the crazy work this involved. Now, here’s where it gets fun. Several days after we announced the title, I believe said record producer got so incensed that he went to the widow Delerue – certainly someone somewhere did this and said record producer is the most likely suspect – who knows for sure, but that’s my opinion. And the widow Delerue or whoever had the attorney for the Delerue estate in the United States write me. The contents of that missive basically said in rather strong terms that it had been brought to their attention that Kritzerland had announced the title and that they were not aware that I’d secured the necessary rights from the owner of the soundtrack as well as the publisher, and could I please advise them of which music licensing entity accorded me the rights. And then the usual legal threatening language. I responded thusly:
[Name redacted], I really think your little missive should be directed toward Universal France, as obtaining tapes from Ms. Delerue is not exactly obtaining the rights from the rights holders. I have, of course, obtained the rights from the rights holders, MGM Music, Inc., which is why I was able to get the original master recording tapes, which were in their possession what with being the rights holders and all. But somehow I’m sure you knew that. Should you have any further need for information, I recommend you contact MGM Music, Inc., the rights holders in the music and film of That Man From Rio. I hope this answers any and all questions you might have.
I alerted my gal at MGM/UA and she was very amused by it all but told me that Universal France had indeed licensed the three tracks they used but did not bother to ask if MGM/UA actually had any tapes. Brilliant. The next missive I got was from the European branch of EMI Music. It basically regurgitated what the lawyer had said – they had no request from me and then the usual threatening legal language. I responded thusly:
I responded to Mr. [Name redacted]’s e-mail of March 13th, and that is the only response that I need make. I’m afraid that EMI, in fact, does not own the master recording rights – those are owned by MGM Music, Inc. from whom I licensed them and from whom I have a fully executed signed contract – and that is why they, not you or Mrs. Delerue, had the master tapes. As regards the publishing, I wrote a letter of request to EMI here in the States (since that is who is listed on the BMI site for That Man From Rio) requesting the publishing agreement – I have not heard back from them, but when I do, I will write them a check for the proper publishing fees. If you would rather me do the publishing deal with you directly, then tell me what the publishing royalty is and I will write you the check, as long as you sign off on the fact that you should get the money and not EMI in the States. The CD is out, shipped, and done. It was a limited edition of 1000 units, as per my fully executed and signed licensing agreement with MGM Music, Inc. If you have further need of correspondence about the master recording rights, I suggest you write them, not me.
Furthermore, I think they will find it very interesting that you are inferring that you own such master recording rights. I am thinking about forwarding all this correspondence to their legal department.
That is the last I heard from anyone. I do know that someone contacted my gal at MGM/UA and they were told that the rights had been licensed and paid for and that the contracts provided no payments to the Estate other than the standard mechanical royalty, which I ended up paying to EMI in the United States. None of this was upsetting to me because I, you know, had this thing called a signed contract. But I knew who’d instigated it. So, why rehash this? Because said record producer, in this little featurette, bragged about how HE’D found (with the assistance of the widow Delerue) stereo tapes. Really? You mean those same tapes I’d found back in 2009? And not all of which were stereo? They used that for the audio on this Blu-ray release, and frankly, if I had to hazard a guess, it would be that they used OUR CD rather than have MGM/UA go through the costly process of doing new transfers. Of course, I had all of the transfers but I would not have given them to them had they not reimbursed me for the cost of doing them. The chutzpah of said record producer is unbelievable really. Where else were they going to “find” these tapes that I found. He’d clearly said that the “cupboard was bare” in terms of That Man from Rio tapes. He should have given me or Kritzerland credit for getting all this done, but that’s not how it works with most people, I’m afraid.
Yesterday was mostly a fine day save for the fact that the book order still could not be placed because it’s not “active” at the printers – the softcover is, but the hardcover is not. I’ve really had it, frankly. My gal will be in today and hopefully this will get sorted out, but if it doesn’t, come Monday I will raise the kind of holy HELL that only I can. As Babs and Donna said, enough is enough.
I had a nice lunch meeting with Adryan Russ and gave her lots of notes on her new musical, some of which were very radical. I had a Cobb salad and a bagel. After that, I picked up some packages and then came home. I finished writing the commentary, did some other work on the computer, had some telephonic conversations, then sat on my couch like so much fish and watched the That Man from Rio extras.
After that, I relaxed and listened to music, and did a few things on the computer.
Today, she of the Evil Eye comes and I’ll go have a light breakfast, then kill some time until she’s gone. Once home, I’ll relax, watch stuff, hopefully talk to my gal and get an update, and that’s about it.
Tomorrow, I’ll be up early and then I do my one-hour signing at the paperback show – I’ll probably leave here around ten-fifteen so I have time to park and stuff. I know Grant will be there so we’ll peruse the dealers once I’m done with the signing. I have to put together a small box of whatever I bring there. Monday, I’ll take my car in for a lube and oil and smog check, so I can pay my registration bill and get my new tags. Then the rest of the week is meetings and meals, having a work session for the Kritzerland show, and then attending the opening night of a play.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up early, have a light breakfast, hopefully pick up packages, and then I’ll come back here and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite Kritzerland releases? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have told the tale of That Man Not from Rio.