This CD release of the original music recordings from Joseph L. Mankiewicz's 1947 film The Ghost and Mrs. Muir -- as opposed to the 1970s re-recording by Elmer Bernstein -- is a welcome addition to the CD catalog. One suspects that this is an unauthorized release, given the lack of licensing or other credits, but the quality is first-rate -- astonishingly clear for half-century-old orchestral recordings, and the music is some of the best that Bernard Herrmann ever composed, adapted in part from his opera Wuthering Heights. Listening to it free-standing, one can hear not only the beauty of the material itself, but it is also possible to hear -- even in the renowned and impassioned theme referring to Mrs. Muir and the sea -- thematic elements that Herrmann would reshape completely into totally new forms, in scores such as Jason and the Argonauts, in later years. The playing of the Fox Studio Orchestra is a match for the work of any symphony orchestra of the period, and the only flaw in this 50-minute CD is that the end title music fades a little too quickly and seems a bit ragged. The price is right, however, especially compared to some of the immensely expensive limited issue Fox soundtracks that came out of Europe when CDs were first hitting shelves.
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