Soundtrack review: Il gigante di Metropolis (Armando Trovajoli – 1961)
Even if you are not familiar with or a fan of Italian music as I am you should at least have heard of Armando Trovajoli from Quentin Tarantino’s movies. His “I lunghi giorni de la vendetta” score has been sampled in Kill Bill for sure. As every Italian composer he has a huge body of work to his name, more than 300 titles. Mind blowing. Many of them are comedic, jazzy scores but it’s the few Westerns I am more drawn to. Kronos Records, this paradise for Italian film music lovers keeps expanding their excellent Gold Collection and this time, it’s Trovajoli’s turn with “Il Gigante di Metropolis”, an 1961 epic fantasy story with heroes and giants and far away worlds.
My mental sound for Armando Trovajoli is a weird mix of somber and alert. I recognize it in the opening credits for this movie. For me it’s always refreshing to hear a score from the 60s, the golden age, because music was very pure and honest back then. It’s true that movies with preposterous plots like this one also needed a bit of tongue in cheek in the music but it’s ok, a cue like “The warning” is fun.
For me one of the main qualities of this score is that it instantly puts me in the fantasy / sword and sorcery mood. Before Basil Poledouris’ “Conan” and before Ennio Morricone’s “Red Sonja” there were scores like the one I am reviewing right now and “Il gigante di Metropolis” has that ancient feel to it which makes me think of anvils and stones and epic confrontations. I feel as if I’m on a discovery trip, recapturing the essence of a time long gone.
The score is full of echoes and sneaking around and even tender moments like “Obro captured”, simple and efficient. The hypnotic moments make me laugh. They are wonderful experiments with the instruments and techniques that were available back then. What this score doesn’t have are epic, spectacular cues which I would have imagined for a story like this. But I guess the journey of “Il gigante di Metropolis” is a more personal one and relies more on the idea that our main characters are alone and not parts of armies or communities. The world depicted here is a distant and scattered one and the music roams alone rarely interacting with anything else.
While not as melodic or spectacular as other Gold collection releases, “Il gigante di Metropolis” is a gateway to a very interesting sound and there are quite a few enchanting moments in it. Short and sweet inserts like “The column” will make your day. The more the score progresses the more I like it that I can hear every instrument being played and I can enjoy the times when movie scores were simpler and, in a way, more honest. There’s also quite a bit of nostalgia involved for me when it comes to Italian film music and I can’t wait to hear more. This is only a drop in the ocean of Trovaioli compositions but it might open up your taste.
Cue rating: 85 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 25 / 60
Album excellence: 41%
Highlights: The Whirlwinds Of Death
The Volcanic Core
Let Me See The Sky Again