Paul Sawtell

The Fly/Return of the Fly/Curse of the Fly

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AllMusic Review by

As science fiction/horror soundtracks go, Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter's collaborative effort on The Fly was one of the more lyrical in the genre, almost hearkening back stylistically in its use of mood to the earlier generation of horror film scores composed at Universal in the early '40s by Frank Skinner and Hans J. Salter. The music for The Fly has its jarring, ominous elements, but much of the first half, especially, is devoted to material depicting the loving marriage and family life of the doomed scientist portrayed by Al Hedison. The lush, sweeping, yet slightly dark, romantic thematic material possesses what sounds almost like a late 19th century Viennese lilt at times, with gorgeous writing for the strings. The horror "stings" are meant to distract, but the softer, more lyrical material that dominates each of these scores is every bit as diverting. Surprisingly, the sequel, Return of the Fly -- also featuring music by Sawtell and Shefter -- had considerably more music than its predecessor, despite its shorter running time. The producers, perhaps recognizing that they had less of a story and less of a movie, wanted to give audiences a little bit more in the one department that could be expanded without significantly driving up the cost of the movie. Disc two is comprised of Shefter's score from the 1965 second sequel, Curse of the Fly, and there is no diminution in the quality of the music, despite the distinctly lower quality of the movie itself -- quite the contrary, Shefter provides a fascinating body of work and a particularly haunting theme for woodwinds. It's as though Shefter truly rose to the occasion, with considerable elegance and sophistication in his resulting work. The CD presents the recordings, some of which go back to 1958, in glittering fidelity, in vividly separated yet never artificial-sounding stereo, and it is one of the better mastering jobs ever done on this kind of archival release. The annotation is a good deal more thorough than the DVD releases on The Fly and Return of the Fly and delves into virtually every aspect of each of the films, as well as its score.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
blue highlight denotes track pick