Today’s Monday’s Music Moves Me theme is from this month’s Conductor, Alana with Ramblin’ with AM. She wanted us to focus on TV or Movie Theme Songs from our childhood. Since I already did an extensive collection of Classic TV Show Theme Songs in my 2016 A-Z Challenge, I opted to focus this post on a few of my favorite movies from childhood. So here are a few movies that I remember fondly from back in the 60s, listed in no particular order:
The Incredible Mr. Limpet – The Incredible Mr. Limpet is a 1964 American live-action/animated adventure film from Warner Bros. It is about a man named Henry Limpet who turns into a talking fish resembling a tilefish and helps the U.S. Navy locate and destroy Nazi submarines. Don Knotts plays the title character. The live action was directed by Arthur Lubin, while the animation was directed by Bill Tytla, Robert McKimson, Hawley Pratt, and Gerry Chiniquy. Music includes songs by Sammy Fain, in collaboration with Harold Adamson, including “I Wish I Were a Fish,” “Be Careful How You Wish,” and “Deep Rapture.”
The story begins September 1941 just before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Shy bookkeeper Henry Limpet loves fish with a passion. When his friend George Stickle enlists in the United States Navy, Limpet attempts to enlist as well, but is rejected. Feeling downcast, he wanders down to a pier near Coney Island and accidentally falls into the water. Inexplicably, he finds he has turned into a fish. Since he never resurfaces, his wife, Bessie, and George assume he has drowned.
The fish Limpet, complete with his signature pince-nez spectacles, discovers a new-found ability during some of his initial misadventures, a powerful underwater roar, his “thrum”. He falls in love with a female fish he names Ladyfish, the concept of names being unknown to her, and makes friends with a misanthropic hermit crab named Crusty.
Still determined to help the Navy, Limpet finds a convoy and requests to see George. With George’s help, Limpet gets himself commissioned by the Navy, complete with advancing rank and a salary, which he sends to Bessie. He helps the Navy locate Nazi U-boats by signaling with his “thrum”, and plays a large part in the Allied victory in the Battle of the Atlantic. In his final mission, he is nearly killed when the Nazis develop a “thrum” seeking torpedo, and is further handicapped by the loss of his spectacles. He manages to survive using Crusty as his “navigator”, and sinks a number of U-boats by redirecting the torpedoes. After the battle, he swims to Coney Island to say goodbye to Bessie (who has now fallen in love with George) and gets a replacement set of glasses. He then swims off with Ladyfish.
In the film’s coda, set in the modern times of 1964, George (now a high ranking naval officer) and the Admiral are presented with a report that Mr. Limpet is still alive and working with porpoises. The two men travel out to sea to contact Mr. Limpet and offer him a commission in the United States Navy. It is unknown what became of the conversation, for the movie ends with a question mark.
The Jungle Book – The Jungle Book is a 1967 American animated musical comedy adventure film produced by Walt Disney Productions. Inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s book of the same name, it is the 19th Disney animated feature film. Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, it was the last film to be produced by Walt Disney, who died during its production. The plot follows Mowgli, a feral child raised in the Indian jungle by wolves, as his friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear try to convince him to leave the jungle before the evil tiger Shere Khan arrives.
The early versions of both the screenplay and the soundtrack followed Kipling’s work more closely, with a dramatic, dark, and sinister tone which Disney did not want in his family film, leading to writer Bill Peet and composer Terry Gilkyson being replaced. The casting employed famous actors and musicians Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, George Sanders and Louis Prima, as well as Disney regulars such as Sterling Holloway, J. Pat O’Malley and Verna Felton, and the director’s son, Bruce Reitherman, as Mowgli.
The Jungle Book was released on October 18, 1967, to positive reception, with acclaim for its soundtrack, featuring five songs by the Sherman Brothers and one by Gilkyson, “The Bare Necessities”. The film initially became Disney’s second highest-grossing animated film in the United States and Canada, and was also successful during its re-releases. The film was also successful throughout the world, becoming Germany’s highest-grossing film by number of admissions. Disney released a live-action remake in 1994 and an animated sequel, The Jungle Book 2, in 2003; another live-action adaptation directed by Jon Favreau was released in 2016.
The Jungle Book Soundtrack: The instrumental music was written by George Bruns and orchestrated by Walter Sheets. Interestingly, two of the cues were reused from previous Disney films. The scene where Mowgli wakes up after escaping King Louie used one of Bruns’ themes for Sleeping Beauty; and the scene where Bagheera gives a eulogy to Baloo when he mistakenly thinks the bear was killed by Shere Khan used Paul J. Smith’s organ score from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The score features eight original songs: seven by the Sherman Brothers and one by Terry Gilkyson. Longtime Disney collaborator Gilkyson was the first songwriter to bring several complete songs which followed the book closely but Walt Disney felt that his efforts were too dark. The only piece of Gilkyson’s work which survived to the final film was his upbeat tune “The Bare Necessities”, which was liked by the rest of the film crew. The Sherman Brothers were then brought in to do a complete rewrite. Disney asked the siblings if they had read Kipling’s book and they replied that they had done so “a long, long time ago” and that they had also seen the 1942 version by Alexander Korda. Disney said the “nice, mysterious, heavy stuff” from both works was not what he aimed for, instead going for a “lightness, a Disney touch”. Disney frequently brought the composers to the storyline sessions. He asked them to “find scary places and write fun songs” for their compositions that fit in with the story and advanced the plot instead of being interruptive.
Bare Necessities: In 1967, “The Bare Necessities” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
101 Dalmatians – One Hundred and One Dalmatians, often abbreviated as 101 Dalmatians, is a 1961 American animated adventure film produced by Walt Disney and based on the 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. The 17th Disney animated feature film, the film tells the story of a litter of Dalmatian puppies who are kidnapped by the villainous Cruella de Vil, who wants to use their fur to make into coats. Their parents, Pongo and Perdita, set out to save their children from Cruella, all the while rescuing 84 additional puppies that were bought in pet shops, bringing the total of Dalmatians to 101.
Originally released to theaters on January 25, 1961, by Buena Vista Distribution, One Hundred and One Dalmatians was a box office success, pulling the studio out of the financial slump caused by Sleeping Beauty, a costlier production released two years prior. Aside from its box office revenue, its commercial success was due to the employment of inexpensive animation techniques—such as using xerography during the process of inking and painting traditional animation cells—that kept production costs down. It was remade into a live action film in 1996.
Interesting tidbits on the Cruella de Vil name: Per Wikipedia, Cruella’s name is a pun of the words cruel and devil, an allusion which is emphasized by having her country house nicknamed “Hell Hall”. In some translations, for instance in Polish, Cruella De Vil is known as “Cruella De Mon”, a play on “demon”. In Italian, she is called “Crudelia De Mon” (a pun on “crudele”, cruel, and “demone”, demon). In the French translation of the Disney’s animated movie, she is referred as “Cruella D’Enfer” (Literally, Cruella of Hell or from Hell). In Dutch, the name remains “De Vil”, while by coincidence the Dutch verb for skinning is “Villen” and “Vil” is the conjugation of this verb for the first person singular. In the Brazilian and Portuguese translations, Cruella is known as “Cruela Cruel”, which straightforwardly stems from “cruel”.
The name “de Vil” is also a literary allusion to Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897). In the novel, the realty firm Mitchell, Sons & Candy write a letter, dated 1 October, to Lord Godalming, informing him that the purchaser of a house in Piccadilly, London is “a foreign nobleman, Count De Ville”. Count De Ville, however, proves to be an alias for Count Dracula himself.
It is also believed that the inspiration for the name began in 1939 when Dodie Smith purchased a new Rolls-Royce 25/30 “Sedanca de Ville” motorcar in which she and her pet Dalmatian “Pongo” frequently travelled, which also formed the basis of the cartoon imagery of Cruella’s own motorcar.
Here is my favorite song from the movie:
The Love Bug (Herbie, the Love Bug) – The Love Bug (sometimes referred to as Herbie the Love Bug) is a 1968 American comedy film and the first in a series of films made by Walt Disney Productions that starred an anthropomorphic pearl-white, fabric-sun-roofed 1963 Volkswagen racing Beetle named Herbie. It was based on the 1961 book Car, Boy, Girl by Gordon Buford.
I can’t be positive about this but Herbie, the Love Bug may have been my very first drive-in movie that I ever saw. I used to love going to the drive-in! That was a big treat as a kid and I totally remember seeing Herbie the Love Bug at the Starlite Drive-In on Military Road in Town of Niagara. I remember those drive-in trips: being dressed in my pajamas, Dad pulling in and paying for our tickets at the gate then driving slowly over the gravel to find the most perfect spot. Then, once there, grabbing that big clunky metal speaker and hanging it on the window ledge and testing out the sound. Sometimes we’d have to move because the speaker sound crackled and sucked so we’d drive around until we found a decent-sounding speaker. We’d always arrive in time for the pre-movie cartoons and the concession stand ads with their animated snacks reminding you to hurry to the snack bar to get your popcorn, candy and pop before the show started. And wasn’t there always a double-feature at the drive-in? Because there was always intermission, when we’d get to jump out of the car and run across the gravel parking lot to use the restrooms real quick…and maybe, if we were lucky, grab another snack!
For those who might want to take a little trip back in time to the drive-ins of yesteryear here are some classic snack bar (“refreshment center”) ads you probably saw way back when…
I apologize for that little aside, I just had to talk about seeing Herbie at the drive-in! Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming:
The movie follows the adventures of Herbie, Herbie’s driver, Jim Douglas (Dean Jones), and Jim’s love interest, Carole Bennett (Michele Lee). It also features Buddy Hackett as Jim’s enlightened, kind-hearted friend, Tennessee Steinmetz, a character who creates “art” from used car parts. English actor David Tomlinson portrays the villainous Peter Thorndyke, owner of an auto showroom and an SCCA national champion who sells Herbie to Jim and eventually becomes Jim’s racing rival.
Fun Facts about the movie:
- Dean Jones credited the film’s success to the fact that it was the last live action Disney film produced under Walt Disney’s involvement, released just two years after his death in 1966. Although Jones tried to pitch him a serious, straightforward film project concerning the story of the first sports car ever brought to the United States, Walt suggested a different car story for him, which was Car, Boy, Girl, a story written in 1961 by Gordon Buford.
- Car, Boy, Girl; The Magic Volksy; The Runaway Wagen; Beetlebomb; Wonderbeetle; Bugboom and Thunderbug were among the original development titles considered for the film before the title was finalized as The Love Bug.
- Herbie competes in the Monterey Grand Prix, which, except for 1963, was not a sports car race. The actual sports car race held at Monterey was the Monterey Sports Car Championships.
- Peter Thorndyke’s yellow “Special” is actually a 1965 Apollo GT, a rare sports car built in the United States by International Motorcars in Oakland, California. It used an Italian-designed body along with a small-block Buick V8 engine. This car exists today, is in the hands of a private collector, and has been restored as it was seen in the film with its yellow paint and number 14 logo.
Before film began production, the titular car was not specified as a Volkswagen Beetle, and Disney set up a casting call for a dozen cars to audition. In the lineup, there were a few Toyotas, a TVR, a handful of Volvos, an MG and a pearl white Volkswagen Beetle. I love this: The Volkswagen Beetle was chosen as it was the only one that elicited the crew to reach out and pet it. Lol. That is classic!
The Volkswagen brand name, logo or shield does not feature anywhere in the film, as the automaker did not permit Disney to use the name. The only logos can be briefly seen in at least two places, however. The first instance is on the brake pedals during the first scene where Herbie takes control with Jim inside (on the freeway when Herbie runs into Thorndyke’s Rolls Royce), and in fact it is shown in all the future scenes when Jim is braking. The second instance is on the ignition key, when Jim tries to shut down the braking Herbie. The later sequels produced, however, do promote the Volkswagen name (as sales of the Beetle were down when the sequels were produced). The VW “Wolfsburg” castle emblem on the steering wheel hub is also seen throughout the car’s interior shots. Within the script, the car was only ever referred to as “Herbie”, “the small car” or “the Bug”—the latter, although a common nickname for the Beetle, was not trademarked by Volkswagen at the time of filming.
The car was later given the name “Herbie” from one of Buddy Hackett’s skits about a ski instructor named Klaus, who speaks with a German accent as he introduces his fellow ski instructors, who are named Hans, Fritz, Wilhelm, and Sandor. At the end of the skit, Hackett would say “If you ain’t got a Herbie (pronounced “hoy-bee”), I ain’t going.”
Herbie’s trademark “53” racing number was chosen by producer Bill Walsh, who was a fan of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball player Don Drysdale (Drysdale’s jersey number, later retired by the team in 1984, was 53).
Walsh also gave Herbie his trademark red, white and blue racing stripes presumably for the more patriotic color and came up with the film’s gags such as Herbie squirting oil and opening the doors by himself.
Herbie has his own cast billing in the closing credits, the only time this was done in the entire series of films.
Today, only a handful of the original Herbie cars are known to exist. Car #10 was recovered from a warehouse in Pennsylvania, and has been preserved—still sporting its original paint from the film.
The film was the third highest-grossing film of 1968, earning over $51.2 million at the domestic box office.
NOTE: The Theme song below is from the 1974 movie Herbie Rides Again (but it’s the same song as in the original)
Winnie the Pooh Featurettes: I’ve always been a fan of Winnie the Pooh. Instead of feature length films, Winnie the Pooh’s claim to Big Screen fame came in several featurettes (24 to 40 minute run-time movies; longer than a “short” but shorter than a feature film). The three featurettes from my childhood are:
Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree – Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree is a 1966 animated featurette based on the first two chapters of the book Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne. The film was produced by Walt Disney Productions. Its songs were written by the Sherman Brothers (Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman) and the score was composed and conducted by Buddy Baker.
This featurette was shown alongside the live-action feature The Ugly Dachshund, and was later included as a segment in the 1977 compilation film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day – Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day is a 1968 animated featurette based on the third, fifth, ninth, and tenth chapters from Winnie-the-Pooh and the second, eighth, and ninth chapters from The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne. The featurette was produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by Buena Vista Distribution Company on December 20, 1968 as a double feature with The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit. This was the second of the studio’s Winnie the Pooh shorts. It was later added as a segment to the 1977 film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The music was written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. It was notable for being the last animated short produced by Walt Disney, who died during its production.
Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day won the 1968 Academy Award for Animated Short Film. The Academy Award was awarded posthumously to Walt Disney, who died of lung cancer two years before the film’s initial release. It is also the only Winnie the Pooh production that won an Academy Award. (Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, which was released six years later in 1974, was nominated for the same Academy Award, but lost to Closed Mondays).
The animated featurette also served as an inspiration for the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride in Walt Disney World in which the rider experiences several scenes from the cartoon, including Pooh’s Heffalump and Woozle dream.
Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too – Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too is a 1974 animated featurette from Disney released as a double feature with The Island at the Top of the World. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, but lost to Closed Mondays. It was later added as a segment to the 1977 film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. A soundtrack album was released simultaneously and featured such songs as “The Honey Tree” and “Birthday, Birthday.” The film, whose name is a play on the slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler too” made famous during the 1840 United States presidential election, is based on the third, fourth and seventh chapters from The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne.
And in case you don’t remember: the proper way to spell his name is: “T-I-double-guh-err, that spells Tigger.”
Here is a playlist of all the songs from the original 1977 film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh:
Flipper – Flipper is an American feature film released on August 14, 1963 written by Arthur Weiss based upon a story by Ricou Browning and Jack Cowden. Produced by Ivan Tors and directed by James B. Clark, it portrays a 12-year-old boy living with his parents in the Florida Keys, who befriends an injured wild dolphin. The lad and his pet become inseparable, eventually overcoming the misgivings of his fisherman father.
The film introduced the popular song “Flipper”, by Dunham and Henry Vars and inspired the subsequent television series of the same name (1964–1967) and film sequels. The film received good reviews.
Co-creator Ricou Browning said that he originally conceived the story after seeing his children intently watching the TV series Lassie, which inspired Browning to create a similar story with a dolphin in place of the dog. After he sent the story to his friend, producer Ivan Tors, Tors expressed interest in making it into a movie.
A film sequel, Flipper’s New Adventure, (known in some countries as Flipper and the Pirates) was filmed in late 1963 and released in June 1964 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film, released before the TV series premiered, received good reviews and outdid the first film with more audience attendance.
That same year, a television series inspired by the movie Flipper began and ran until 1967. A 1990s television revival featured Jessica Alba. In 1996, a movie remake was released, Flipper, starring Paul Hogan and Elijah Wood.
I used to watch the TV series all the time which sparked my love of dolphins. This description is based on the TV series, not the movies:
Flipper, from Ivan Tors Films in association with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television, is an American television program first broadcast on NBC from September 19, 1964, until April 15, 1967. Flipper, a bottlenose dolphin, is the companion animal of Porter Ricks, Chief Warden at fictional Coral Key Park and Marine Preserve in southern Florida, and his two young sons Sandy and Bud.
The show has been dubbed an “aquatic Lassie”, and a considerable amount of juvenile merchandise inspired by the show was produced during its first-run. The television show is an adaptation of the 1963 film Flipper starring Chuck Connors and Luke Halpin as Porter and Sandy Ricks, and its 1964 sequel, Flipper’s New Adventure, where Brian Kelly took over the role of Porter.
In adapting the films to a television series, the producers made Porter a single parent and gave him a second son named Bud, played by Tommy Norden. The producers departed yet again from the films in endowing Flipper with an unnatural degree of intelligence and an extraordinary understanding of human motives, behavior, and vocabulary.
Born Free – Born Free is a 1966 British drama film starring Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers as Joy and George Adamson, a real-life couple who raised Elsa the Lioness, an orphaned lion cub, to adulthood, and released her into the wilderness of Kenya. The film was produced by Open Road Films Ltd. and Columbia Pictures. The screenplay, written by blacklisted Hollywood writer Lester Cole (under the pseudonym “Gerald L.C. Copley”), was based upon Joy Adamson’s 1960 non-fiction book Born Free. The film was directed by James Hill and produced by Sam Jaffe and Paul Radin. Born Free, and its musical score by John Barry, won numerous awards.
When George Adamson is forced to kill a lion, after the lion kills a native villager, and then George kills a lioness out of self-defense, he brings home the three orphaned cubs she had been trying to protect. The Adamsons tend to the three orphaned lion cubs to young lionhood, and, when the time comes, the two largest are sent to the Rotterdam Zoo, while Elsa the Lioness (the smallest of the litter) remains with Joy. When Elsa is held responsible for stampeding a herd of elephants through a village, John Kendall, Adamson’s boss, gives the couple three months to either rehabilitate Elsa to the wild, or send her to a zoo. Joy opposes sending Elsa to a zoo, and spends much time attempting to reintroduce Elsa to the life of a wild lion in a distant reserve. At last, she succeeds, and with mixed feelings and a breaking heart, she returns her friend to the wild. The Adamsons then depart for their home in England; a year later they return to Kenya for a week, hoping to find Elsa. They do, and happily discover she hasn’t forgotten them and is the mother of three cubs. The Adamsons made an agreement not to handle the cubs, in contrast to the way they did with Elsa.
The film reunited the real life couple Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna as a couple first seen together in The Smallest Show on Earth in 1957.
George Adamson served as chief technical advisor on the film and discusses his involvement in his first autobiography, Bwana Game (UK title, 1968), known in the US as A Lifetime with Lions.
According to Ben Mankiewicz, who introduces the film on Turner Classic Movies, they used mostly wild lions and interviewed more than 3,000.
The making of the film was a life-changing experience for actors Virginia McKenna and her husband Bill Travers, who became animal rights activists and were instrumental in creating the Born Free Foundation.
One of the lions in the film was played by a former mascot of the Scots Guards, who had to leave him behind when they left Kenya. The producers also acknowledged the help received from Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and the Game Department of Uganda.
How popular was the film? Born Free received critical acclaim. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 92 percent of 12 film critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7 out of 10.
And here are some cool foreign movie posters when the film was released in other countries:
Vincent Canby waxed enthusiastic about the film, writing in The New York Times,
“Almost from the opening shot – a vast expanse of corn-colored African plain where lions feed on the carcass of a freshly killed zebra – one knows that Joy Adamson’s best-selling book Born Free has been entrusted to honest, intelligent filmmakers. Without minimizing the facts of animal life or overly sentimentalizing them, this film casts an enchantment that is just about irresistible.”
Accolades: Born Free won the following:
- Academy Award for Original Music Score: John Barry
- Academy Award for Best Song: John Barry (music) and Don Black (lyrics) for “Born Free”
- Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song – Motion Picture: John Barry
- Grammy Award for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture: John Barry
It also received the following nominations:
- Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama
- Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama: Virginia McKenna
- DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures: James Hill
The film was also recognized with nominations by American Film Institute in these lists:
- In 2004: AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs
- In 2005: AFI’s 100 Years of Film Scores
Sequels and spinoffs: The book Born Free (1960) was followed by two other books, Living Free (1961) and Forever Free (1963). In 1972, a film sequel entitled Living Free was released. While deriving its name from the second book, the film was based on the third book in the series. It starred Susan Hampshire and Nigel Davenport as Joy and George Adamson.
A documentary follow-up to Born Free, entitled The Lions Are Free, was released in 1969. The film follows Born Free-actor Bill Travers as he journeys to a remote area in Kenya to visit George Adamson, and several of Adamson’s lion friends.
In 1974, a 13-episode American television series was broadcast by NBC, entitled Born Free, starring Diana Muldaur and Gary Collins as Joy and George Adamson. The series was later followed by television film in 1996 called Born Free: A New Adventure, with Linda Purl and Chris Noth. (Chris Noth? Mr. Big was in Born Free?? Wow, I’m going to have to find that movie on Netflix or something…) Joy and George Adamson do not appear as the main characters in the story.
To Walk with Lions (1999) depicts the last years of George Adamson’s life, as seen through the eyes of his assistant, Tony Fitzjohn. George is portrayed by Richard Harris, and Honor Blackman makes a brief appearance as Joy.
The one-hour Nature documentary Elsa’s Legacy: The Born Free Story was released on PBS stations in January 2011. It includes a collection of archival footage and an exploration into the lives of Joy and George Adamson during the years following release of the film.
So do you remember Born Free or any of the spinoffs? I wasn’t aware of either of these but I’d really like to see 1999’s To Walk with Lions and the documentary Elsa’s Legacy.
Here is the beautiful award-winning musical score by John Barry from the original soundtrack, with stunning photography as a backdrop:
And here is the song Born Free which has some interesting background: “Born Free” is a popular song with music by John Barry, and lyrics by Don Black. Written for the 1966 film, it won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Lyricist Don Black managed British singer Matt Monro at the time, and he and Barry asked him to record the song for the film’s soundtrack. The producers of the film considered the song uncommercial, however, and deleted it from the print shown at its Royal Command premiere in London. When Monro, who attended the event, made Black aware of the edit, they successfully lobbied the producers to restore it. Monro’s interpretation appeared over the closing credits in a shortened version recorded especially for the film, which enabled it to qualify for the Academy Award. Monro’s complete commercial recording was released on the film’s soundtrack album and became the singer’s signature tune for the remainder of his career. (Roger Williams, Andy Williams, and Frank Sinatra all recorded cover versions).
And last but not least:
Mysterious Island – Mysterious Island (in the UK: Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island) is a 1961 science fiction adventure film about Civil War prisoners who escape in a balloon and then find themselves stranded on a remote island populated by giant mutated animals.
The novel on which the film is based, the 1874 novel The Mysterious Island (L’Île mystérieuse) by Jules Verne, is a sequel to two other novels by Jules Verne, In Search of the Castaways (1867) and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870). The first book featured the island, the pirates and a character Tom Ayrton who was marooned on a nearby island. The second book featured Captain Nemo and the Nautilus presumed lost in the maelstrom at the end of that novel. In The Mysterious Island (1874) after the escapees’ balloon landed on the island, among many adventures, they encountered Ayrton alive, fought the pirates and discovered that Captain Nemo was their benefactor and the island the base for the Nautilus.
Shot in Catalonia, Spain (the beach scenes) and at Shepperton Studios in Shepperton, England (the escape from the confederate prison using the observation balloon), the film serves as a showcase for Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion animation effects. Those crazy giant creatures! I was fascinated by all the giant mutant animals in this movie. Interestingly, all the model creatures except the giant bird (which was re-purposed for use as the Ornithomimus in The Valley of Gwangi in 1969) still exist.
Like several of Harryhausen’s classic productions, the musical score was composed by the supremely talented Bernard Herrmann, who has an impressive career, including collaborations with Orson Welles and the great Alfred Hitchcock. In 1975 Bernard Herrmann arranged a suite from the film score. He recorded the suite in London at Kingsway Hall conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. The suite was the first of three suites on the London Phase 4 album THE MYSTERIOUS FILM WORLD OF BERNARD HERRMANN. The suite contains the cues “Prelude”, “The Balloon”, “The Giant Crab”, “The Giant bee” and “The Giant Bird”.
The artwork for the cover of the LP is the work of artist Dennis Pohl. (Note: this is a 14- minute instrumental score suite):
Be sure to check out the following original trailer for this 1961 sci-fi thrill-fest. If you remember this film, which mutant animal scene was your favorite? I always liked the scene where the man and woman are being sealed into the honeycomb by the giant bee. This trailer teases that scene. And the big chicken that jumps over the fence cracks me up: Everybody runs and makes sure to close the fence gate behind them and then the monster chicken just jumps right over it. Lol. You can see that in this trailer too. Also the giant crab that the men are trying to fight off with wooden sticks…
That wraps up this Monday’s Music Moves Me post. Hope you enjoyed the throwback to my childhood with my favorite movies. Were any of these your favorites? What others stand out in your memory as favorites?
Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by Marie of X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by Cathy of Curious as a Cathy and Stacy of Stacy Uncorked Two other co-hosts recently joined the fun: Alana of Ramlin’ with AM and Naila Moon of Musings & Merriment with Michelle. Be sure to stop by and visit the hosts and the other participants listed below: