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Soundtrack review: The lost weekend (Miklos Rozsa – 1945, 2015)

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“The lost weekend” is the oldest movie score I have listened to so far. The movie came out in 1945 and it was big. Somehow through the archives of Paramount they found the original tapes of Miklos Rozsa’s score and we get the opportunity to hear this complete version 70 years later. This is mind blowing to me. Now Rozsa’s name is synonym for me with religious epics; there isn’t a composer than can match him in that genre. This was a comedy of some sorts so it will be very interesting to hear the maestro in such a different environment.

Ah, that prelude… the sound of classical movies, so dear to my heart… it sends me back to countless hours spent as a kid watching black and white movies with my family. I wasn’t into film music back then, of course, but man this sound is so familiar and it always meant the beginning of something beautiful. It’s that dramatic opening which then turns melodic and announces us it’s time to sit down and watch before laying the first images of the movie in front of us. The sound is a bit thin and linear but this score is very old so it’s to be expected. My view of film music from that period is melodic, simple and dramatic. There was rarely variation and don’t expect to hear any as “The lost weekend” progresses. I welcome this score as it is and just curl back in my imagination on the couch we had back then and just enjoy listening to this before going to an imaginary bed on a school night.

I do hear the main character’s descent into drunken land in “Don stays home / the weekend begins”. There are a couple of inserts which suggest this to me. The instruments sound as if they lose their footing and stagger a bit. I notice the sweet violin motifs that probably mark the character’s doubts; “Frustration” is my favorite cue from this score. These are the few moments that set cues apart from one another and yet I can’t give any of them less than five stars. Is it the nostalgia? Is it the way Miklos Rosza makes everything sounding warm and easy on the ears? This is just wonderful film music from a long forgotten age and I am just happy and grateful to be able to enjoy it. This was before Morriconne, before Barry and Rozsa can also do romantic (see “Broken date and hidden bottle”) like no other.

I like the feeling of a heavy storm I get when listening to the very dramatic “The novel”. I like the pure feeling of discovery I get from this score. I feel as if I’m browsing through a dark attic and finding a lost artifact beneath all the cob webs. This score survives from an era I could only have known through movies and the experience of hearing the music separate is priceless I don’t want this album to end. It is so beautiful and warm and memorable that I could listen to it for hours. The quality of the music is exceptional and I applaud the efforts of the record label to present it to us like this. “The lost weekend” is a must for any film music lover and once of the most precious gems of this year. It is simply pure and beautiful film music and nothing more. Why would we need more?

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 68 / 68

Album excellence: 100%

Highlights:

Prelude (Alternate)   New York Skyline

Don Stays Home   The Weekend Begins

Rye And William Shakespeare

Broken Date And Hidden Bottle

Phone Call

Frustration

The Novel

Bottle Is Discovered

Morning And Telephone

The Walk

Gloria And Fall

The Alcoholic Ward   Night Alcoholic Ward   The Elevated

Dawn   Nightmare

The Rainy Day

Suicide Attempt

Long Finale

Prelude   Meet The People

Rye And William Shakespeare

Phone Call

The Walk

Alternate Finale   Cast Of Characters

Wild Theremin

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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