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DESERT SONG (1943 version)


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It was confirmed on May 8 on the Warner Archive Facebook site that the 1943 & 1953 versions of THE DESERT SONG will have an upcoming release (no set date yet).

 

Here are my research notes on the written music:

 

All of the written music for THE DESERT SONG musical/adventure is available at Warner Bros. Archives (USC). This includes Heinz Roemheld's sketches (3 staves), the Conductor score, and the Full Score (normally orchestrated by Ray Heindorf, occasionally Kay).

 

   -"Main Title" Warner Bros cue # 25338, 1:09 duration, 66 bars. Note: Except for the separate strings track from Bars 35 thru 66, the Full Score is missing (as also the sketch). However, the Conductor version is available.

   -Reel 1 pt 1 A ("After Main Title"). Cue # 25339, :36 duration, 12 bars. Key of D major/B minor (2 sharps).

   -Reel 1 pt 2. Cue # 25340. 19 pages, 75 bars, 2:47 duration.

   -Reel 1 pt 3 "Native Music" :38 duration.

   -Reel 1 pt 4 Cue # 25341,19 pages, 88 bars, 2:03 duration. Key of Eb major/C minor (3 flats). Riff Song.

   -Reel 1 pt 5 "Native Music"

   -Reel 2 pt 1B "Piano Calls"

   -Reel 2 pt 2. Cue # 25342, 13 pages, 61 bars, 1:10 duration. F major/D minor key (1 flat) in Cut time. "Riff" theme.

   -Reel 2 pt 3A. 2 bars. Solo violin and 2 horns.

   -Reel 2 pt 3A & B. Cue # 25344, 63 bars, 3:07 duration. F major/D minor key (1 flat.

   -Reel 2 pt 4. Cue # 25345, 5 pages, 19 bars, 1:10 duration.F major/D minor key (1 flat).

   -Reel 2 pt 4. Cue # 25346. Morgan, tenor, baritone.

   -Reel 2 pt 5. Cue # 25347. 41 pages, 184 bars,2:15 duration.

   -Reel 2 pt 6. Cue # 25348. 8 pages, 31 bars,:57 duration. Bar 5= "You're much too honest." Bar 19 = "spare my life." Bar 24 = grab him. Bar 29 = train. Overlap. NOTE: The orchestrator playfully wrote on the title page, "Desert Drek" (instead of Desert Song), "Heinz Hemhole" (instead of Heinz Roemheld), and "Ray Humpdorf" (instead of Ray Heindorf)!

-Reel 3 pt 1B. Riff calls by Morgan.

   -Reel 3 pt 1.Cue # 25349. 22 pages, 144 bars,1:48 duration.

   -Reel 3 pt 3 "Native Music" :48 duration.

   -"Fifi's Song" Reel 3 pt A+B (or R4 AB). Cue # 25350. 20 pages, 96 bars, :45 duration. "Mi-Mi should fail to see me, then I'll take Fi-Fi; her eyes are dream-y...." etc

   -Reel 3 pt 4C. Piano. :08 duration.

   -Reel 3 pt 4D.  Wind whistle & cymbal, snare drum roll.

   -Reel 3 pt 5. Cue # 25351. 116 bars, 2:13 duration.

   -Reel 3 pt 6. Cue # 25352.Intro to Gay Parisienne. 11 bars.

   -"Gay Parisienne" Cue # 25353. 96 bars.

   -Intro to Romance. Cue # 25352 (?). 5 bars.

   -"Romance" 34 bars, Irene Manning.

   -Reel 4 pt 1 (sequence II). Cue # 25354, 34 bars, :52 duration.

   -Reel 4 pt 2. Cue # 25355, 11 pages, 89 bars, 1:19 duration. G major/E minor key (1 sharp).

   -Reel 4 pt 3. Cue # 25356,21 pages, 83 bars,2:39 duration. Key of Bb maj/G min (2 flats).

   -Reel 4 pt 4. Cue # 25357, 8 pages, 38 bars, 1:39 bars.

   -Reel 4 pt 5, 3 pages, 23 bars, 1:27 duration.

   -Reel 4 pt 6 "Native Music" 1:13 duration.

   -Reel 4 pt 7 "Native Music"  :26 duration.

   -Reel 5 pt A+B

   -Reel 5 pt 2 AB. Cue # 25360. Solo dance. 59 bars. Most probably "Azuri's Dance." Large gong, tambourines, finger cymbals, cymbals with soft mallets, bass drum, Indian drum, temple blocks.

   -"Long Live the Night"  Cue # 25361. 19 bars.

   -Reel 5 pt 3. Piano. :21 duration.

   -Reel 5 pt 3A. "One Alone:  :30 duration.

   -Reel 6 pt 2. Cue # 25362, 5 pages, 62 bars, 1:29 duration.

   -Reel 6 pt 2A Harem Dance. 17 pages, 74 bars.

   -Reel 6 pt 3. Cue # 25363, 10 pages, 45 bars,  1:47 duration. Key signature Ab maj/F min (4 flats). Alto flute enters Bar 3.

   -Reel 6 pt 4. Cue # 25364. 58 bars, 3:16 duration.

   -Reel 6 pt 5. Cue # 35365, 5 pages, 46 bars, :57 duration.

   -Reel 7 pt 1. Cue # 25366, 20 pages, 82 bars,. Bar 30 = C.U. Margo. Bar 49 = Bagpipe zither.

   -Reel 7 pt 1 (revised), 64 bars, 2:26 duration.

   -Reel 7 pt 2. 81 bars, 1:29 duration.

   -Reel 7/3-8/1. Slow in 4/4 time, key signature one sharp. 52 bars, 2:35 duration.

   -Reel 8 pt 2A. 20 pages, 180 bars. 6/8 time, key signature Bb maj/G min (2 flats).

   -Reel 8 pt 2A (cont.)5 pages, 38 bars.

   -Reel 8 pt 3. Cue # 25372.2 pages, 9 bars, :46 duration. Slow, misterioso.

   -Reel 8 pt 4. Cue # 25373. 9 pages, 36 bars, 2:03 duration. Adapted from Romberg's opening music in his Prelude of the operetta.

   -Reel 8 pt 5. 30 bars, :51 duration.

   -Reel 9 pt 1. Cue # 25374. 3 bars, :09 duration. Orchestrated by Kay. As Secretary turns & exits:

   Caid: "Perhaps we can return El Khobar's visit to the city"

   Tarabouch: "We might even persuade him to return."

   Out on dissolve to Francois & Johnny.

   -Reel 9 pt 2. Cue # 25375. 13 pages, 62 bars, 2:18 duration.Flutes flutter. Bar 1 = whispers in ear. Bar 5 = "What are you drinking?" Bar 10 = looks off. Bar 14 = Benoit just told me. Bar 26 = Johnny listens. Bar 62 = fade desert.

   -Reel 9 pt 3. Cue # 25376. 18 pages, 77 bars, 2:30 duration,key signature Bb maj/G min (2 flats). Bar 1 = fade Riff village. Bar 4 = L.S. village. Bar 8 = El Khobar rides. Bar 18 = cut officers. Bar 21 = L.S. El Khobar. Bar 34 = look out. Bar 51 = Fontaine. Bar 55 = Riff leaders. Bar 63 = "We must act now." Bar 67 = El Khobar has volunteered. Bar 70 = And if the French... Bar 77 = Bang!

   -Reel 9 pt 4. 44 pages, 236 bars, 2:54 duration. Cue # 25377. French Military & Riff song.

   -Reel 10 pt 2. Cue #25378, 13 pages, 76 bars,1:31 duration.

   -Reel 10 pt 3. Cue # 25379. 17 pages, 77 bars, 3:30 duration. Bar 12 = "What's the matter?" Bar 14 = we heard. Bar 16 - afraid that. Bar 19 = was the expedition. Bar 24 = ring leader. Bar 28 = the best part. Bar 41 = I believe I could. Bar 47 = "France" Bar 57 = nods no. Bar 61 = nods yes. Bar 64 = stops short. Bar 67 = coming. Bar 77 = dissolve trumpets.

   -Reel 10 pt 4. Cue # 25380. 3 pages, 54 bars (coma sopra sections of French Military number), :50 duration. Tempi di marcia.

   -"French Military Marching Song". Cue # 25381. 28 pages, 120 bars.

   -Reel 10 pt 5. Cue # 25383, 20 pages, 204 bars.

   -Reel 10. French Military Marching Song. 182 bars.

   -Reel 11 pt 1. Cue # 25384,8 pages, 37 bars, 2:26 duration. Bar 1 = Morgan & Fontaine walk in street. Bar 4 = dissolve, enter gate. Bar 12 = cut inside dark room. Bar 21 = the react. Bar 28 = we were doing. Bar 30 = even more. Bar 33 = you know you're lying. Bar 35 = C.U daggers. Bar 37 = grabs dagger.

   -"Azuri's Dance"  Cue # 34784. 2 pages, 16 bars. 2 Tom-Toms, gong, cymbal with sticks, tambourine, finger cymbals.

   -Reel 11 pt 2. Presto in Cut time. 1:29 duration.

   -Reel 11 pt 3. Cue # 25386. 17 bars, 1:00 duration. Bar 1 = fade exterior cafe. Bar 3 = native street. Bar 6 = Riff leaders. Bar 9 = they're getting warmer. Bar 16 = France is. Bar 17 = no join.

   -Reel 11 pt 4. Cue # 25386. 8 bars, :13 duration. After announcement. Bar 8 = joins belch.

   -"One Alone" Cue # 25394 (?) Vocal. 39 bars.

   -"Duet" Pierre & Margot. The Desert Song. Cue # 25399 (?)My desert is waiting...E maj/C# min (4 sharps) in 3/4 time.

   -Trailer Part I 2 pages, 6 bars, Cut time. Roemheld (orch. R. Heindorf).Coma sopra Main Title Bars 3-22.

   -Trailer Part II, 3 pages. Coma sopra Main Title, Bars 3-9, 11-32.

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

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Playful titles are rampant in picture scoring.  Henry Mancini named the two dances in ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE  MUMMY "Dull Dance" and "**** Dance".  I'm sure that Chandra Kaly (lead dancer in the latter) would NOT have liked that at ALL!

 

Great news about the '43 DESERT SONG.  I saw the restored print years ago in NYC and have my own B&W print.  But it will be nice to have Heinz and Heindorf on DVD with the cast in full color.

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Ray, since you have seen (and heard) both the 1953 and the 1943 versions (I only the former), which film version did you enjoy more?? And which background music, Max Steiner or Heinz Roemheld? (although, in your case, I would guess you would strongly lean towards Steiner :  )!

 

 

 

 

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I assume this is Bill W asking.  Bill, I like both films for different reasons.  I like Dennis Morgan more than Gordon Macrae but I think the original story was followed more faithfully in the '53 picture.  I think I prefer Steiner's score overall.  I don't remember too much of Heinz's trademark pizzicato string sequences in his score.  But I'd have to give both another good listen to assess properly.  Max, of course, was a Broadway pit conductor years before he hit Hollywood and had that extra bit of "schmalz" in his blood.  But when you're talking Warner Bros., they all sound fantastic and it's a joy just to close your eyes and listen even when the picture isn't a classic.

 

By the way, when I saw the '53 recently I remarked how well done the desert fight scene was in the beginning and I really thought it might have been done by Curtiz. Not being a Fox phile, I'm not too familary with Humberstone's work.

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Just to clarify my preference of Morgan over Macrae.  I think Macrea was a very fine singer and I enjoy him in many things.  It's just that he did not have a classic 19th century approach, which I think is called for in DESERT SONG.  Not a knock on Gordon as a singer.  I loved him in the Tarkington pictures with Doris Day!

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Thanks, Ray, for the input. No need to dig them out again for another listen. I just wanted to know, from what you remembered, what your first impression was when you could compare the two versions after finally seeing both pics. Initially I am not too happy about the obligatory Nazi focus in the Dennis Morgan version (but, after all, it was 1943 in the middle of the WWII effort) attached to the DESERT SONG, where it doesn't really belong.

 

    But I am very interested in hearing the Roemheld music and the adaptation of the Romberg operetta songs. Unlike Steiner, Heinz adapted some of the incidental (non-song) music from Romberg into his 1943 score, including that nice Moderato seven-note sequence Romberg used in the opening Prelude that I like very much. And a few more songs of Romberg's were used in the 1943 version that interests me. So there was a lot more music in that 1943 version than I had expected. And with Dennis Morgan singing & acting, that is an added bonus.  It would've been interesting is Raymond Massey played the bad guy in both versions--after all, he played a Nazi that year in DESPERATE JOURNEY...and Max did a terrific, rousing score for that one!

 

   BTW, there was no full (orchestrated) score for the Main Title in the files for the 1943 version except for added strings in a certain section. I think it was recycled in the 1953 score (and left in the 1953 folders) because it looked out of place, older. I'll know more once I finally get to hear it when the dvd is released.

 

Bill W.

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