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 Post subject: A few words on Artie Butler's "The Rescuers" (1977)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:15 pm 
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Artie Butler is one of the most accomplished and experienced individuals in the music industry. He's worked with just about everyone in every medium, and his scoring of "The Rescuers" marks what is quite possibly the peak of his short-lived career in the film business. A very emotional and passionately written piece, Artie's score stands tall in stark contrast to the Mickey-Mouse-y, 'action over emotion' George Bruns scores of the 60s and early 70s (to be perfectly clear, I'm not dubbing Bruns' work bad, just, er... In a different vein than most others). There are some truly marvelous cues in the score, ranging from tender, sensitive moments involving Penny and her plight (the underscore during the "Faith is a Bluebird" sequence is a real tearjerker), to the suspenseful and epic (see the climactic swamp-mobile chase underscore, a stupendous yet subtle blend of suspense and conflict. This is a scene that could easily give way to severe mickey-mousing and no driving melody, but Artie delivers brilliantly).

Interestingly, the approach of the score, both musically and in the manner by which it's orchestrated, evokes something very much akin to that of a songwriter's sensibility rather than that of a film scorer's. Melody, pacing, and empty space for the vocals (or dialogue) are clearly Artie's greatest concerns -- and that absolutely makes sense, as he came from a background in contemporary, commercial pop music as an arranger, rather than composer of television or film. As such, "The Rescuers" will always remain, in my mind, at least, the most distinctive and musically unique score in the history of the studio, as well as one of the most beautiful.

It's truly remarkable (and appalling) how little attention people give this film and it's score, especially by comparison to the rest of the schmuck produced during the 70s and 80s. Such thoughtless and shallow pictures as "The Aristocats" or "Robin Hood" receive classic status and pampering from Disney, while "The Rescuers," arguably the studio's only worthwhile picture during their dark era, continues to be nudged aside and neglected. It doesn't help that, according to an old interview with Walt Disney Records producer Randy Thornton, "The Rescuers" will likely never be released simply because there isn't enough "demand from the public" for it. Perhaps opinions have changed since then, but it still crushed my spirits like nothing else. With all candor, I've largely given up on the plausibility of ever seeing a commercial release of the score.

To make matters even more infuriating, Randy Thornton also claimed in that same aforementioned interview to have recovered all of the original master tapes containing the scoring sessions, and even worked with them extensively. And yet it was never released. But it's there. It exists. Contrary to a popular but utterly false belief, the original tapes were not destroyed in hurricane Katrina in 2005 (the only thing that was lost to the hurricane was, unfortunately, Mr. Butler's own personal copies), and remain in perfect condition in the vaults, patiently awaiting release to the public... If ever.



Apologies if that was a bit long-winded. This is a topic I'm dreadfully passionate about. Hopefully my insignificant little post will contribute to the plausibility of a future release in some way. Whatever one can do to bolster that slim possibility, no matter how great or small, eh?

By the by, I'd just like to thank all of you folks at Intrada for your splendid work over the years. I nearly had a heart attack back when I saw that Paul Smith's "20,000 League Under the Sea" had been released. Bahaha! Thanks for fulfilling that dream of mine.

Regards,
Corey (AKA Pigmask Colonel)

_________________
Oi! I'm a musician, composer, and arranger.
Have a look at my SoundCloud for my (old and largely unimpressive, mind you) work.


Last edited by PigmaskColonel on Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A few words on Artie Butler's "The Rescuers" (1977)
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:26 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:38 pm
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PigmaskColonel wrote:
It doesn't help that, according to an old interview with Walt Disney Records producer Randy Thornton, "The Rescuers" will likely never be released simply simply because there isn't enough "demand from the public" for it. Perhaps opinions have changed since then, but it still crushed my spirits like nothing else. With all candor, I've largely given up on the plausibility of ever seeing a commercial release of the score.


I imagine that expectations are more realistic now as soundtrack albums are no longer a way for anybody to get rich. I would like to think that studios realize the importance of digitally preserving these historic works outside the prospect of small immediate profit.


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 Post subject: Re: A few words on Artie Butler's "The Rescuers" (1977)
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:06 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:44 pm
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For what it's worth, I love the two songs that were included on the old Rescuers Down Under cd from this film & would surely blind buy if the rest of score is anything like the sound of those tracks. I saw the film ages ago, probably enjoyed it, but haven't pursued further. Good luck, I hope it sees release someday, hopefully this doesn't sound like a half -hearted endorsement!

-Sean


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