CD Review: Inside Daisy Clover

April was a momentous month for film score fans. Andre Previn celebrated his 80th birthday, Kritzerland released his score for TWO FOR THE SEESAW while  Film Score Monthly released a 2-CD set of the composer’s brilliant INSIDE DAISY CLOVER (1965).

Based on a novel by Gavin Lambert, Natalie Wood stars as Daisy Clover, an overnight teenage singing sensation in 1930s Hollywood “who fights to keep from being a has-been at 17.”  The film also stars Robert Redford as a charismatic, bisexual movie star, Christopher Plummer as the tyrannical studio head, and Ruth Gordon in an Oscar-nominated performance as Daisy’s eccentric mother.

Inside Daisy Clover CDDisc 1 of this extensive restoration presents the premiere of the original score followed by source music and alternate cues. Disc 2 features the soundtrack LP as well as more source music and demos, including the premiere of Natalie Wood’s demo vocal takes. Scott Bettencourt’s entertaining liner notes detail the many travails of the picture.

Previn composed what amounts to two scores for the film. The dramatic score superbly underpins Hollywood decay and the jaded loss of innocence. The main theme for Wood’s title character, with its minor harmonies, has a hint of Kurt Weill about it. The orchestrations move from a boardwalk/side show feel to a sleazier piano and saxophone tango as Daisy dances through the Hollywood maze.

[audio:insidedaisyclover.mp3]

Previn also brings his considerable skill at movie musicals in his collaboration with lyricist/wife Dory Previn on three songs for the film. In addition to “The Circus Is a Wacky World” and “A Happy Song” (a deleted song which makes its debut on the CD), the Previns wrote “You’re Gonna Hear From Me,” which weaves its melodic and lyric material throughout the film.

[audio:insidedaisyclover2.mp3]

The beautiful melody for the song begins life as a simple piano audition version (with Wood dubbed by Jackie Ward) before being turned into a gloriously tacky, over-the-top production number, which Previn described in the original LP liner notes as “a maze of over-arranged choirs, chimes and crashing endings.”

Though the film received mixed reviews and did little at the box office, it has since become something of a cult classic. For members of the Previn cult like myself, FSM’s release of INSIDE DAISY CLOVER represents a welcome restoration to one of Previn’s finest scores and a look “inside” one of Hollywood’s most gifted composers.

Visit the FSM site to hear more sound clips or order directly from Screen Archives.

Film Score Click Track [rating:5/5]

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