Watching movies is now something of a luxury for me. Not a complaint, though. Between editing and mastering our soundtracks and breaks for quality time with my family and friends, I'm getting a taste of the "good life". Anyway, so a couple of the movies I caught this last week were Man Of The West and Planet Of The Vampires. Beyond both being movies from a few decades ago, they didn't have much else in common. Both were good, though, albeit in different ways.
The western was made by Anthony Mann, who has a reputation for making good ones, especially with James Stewart. This one had Gary Cooper. Lee J. Cobb was in it, Julie London, several others. Jack Lord was particularly compelling to watch. Leigh Harline did the music. The beginning of the main title had an Alex North vibe, then settled into a Leigh Harline vibe. Expansive melody trades with brittle, tense action material. Both are Harline western trademarks. This one deserves more attention than it's gotten. The sci-fi movie stood out because director Mario Bava drenched it non-stop in myriad colors and let the horror elements stand out in graphic detail. Well, for 1965 anyway. Barry Sullivan plays the lead astronaut that brings a crew to a distant planet after receiving distress signals (yep, sort of like Alien) and finds his crew getting picked off one by one by an unspeakable horror (yeah, more Alien). The sets are cool, with a couple of key ones seemingly right of Giger - still more Alien. I assume other people have noticed all these similarities. Whatever. It's a pretty neat movie whether it inspired the later classic or not. The score's by Gino Marinuzzi Jr., who followed in his dad's footsteps as a composer. Unlike Harline's above western effort, though, I found this sci-fi/horror score - an admittedly innovational meld of experimental electronic textures and orchestral colors - both dated and uninteresting. The dating is forgivable, of course, but the lack of interest only made me think about how incredibly memorable Jerry Goldsmith's score was for... well, okay, you guessed it.