Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

October 5, 2020

Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack to THE RED TENT (USSR/Italy, 1969)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 12:24 am

THE RED TENT was a joint Soviet-Italian production, issued in Europe in 1969 and in the USA in 1971. It starred Sean Connery, Claudia Cardinale, Hardy Kruger, Mario Adorf, and Peter Finch, and was directed by acclaimed Soviet filmmaker Mikhail Kazamazov, best known here in the US for I AM CUBA (1964).

I saw it circa 1972 at the Brentwood 4 in West Denver, as the bottom half of a double bill with some other Paramount release of the day, and as a 13 year old, I found it fascinating and, although the term “painterly” was not yet in my vocabulary, it seemed like a cinematic version of a series of  tableaux and long before the VHS or DVD formats existed, I wished I could slow down the film on the screen and savor its visual majesty one frame at a time. This was helped by a score from Maestro ENNIO MORRICONE, whose name I remembered from the Clint Eastwood Dollars trilogy, Once Upon A Time In The West, and many other genre films I saw in theaters or on late night TV. I probably already owned the Once Upon A Time In The West soundtrack by that time, and could sing or hum most of that album’s motifs as I had it memorized. I was captivated by the score to THE RED TENT, and when the film was over, I felt like I’d been let out of a museum with live chamber music by the back door, onto a plain and uninteresting street and wishing I could go back inside.

Strangely, even though the Morricone soundtrack album on Paramount Records is not a big-ticket item (well, a VG copy with a cutout slice in its side is not), I’ve never actually seen a copy in my decades of used-record hunting, from the early 70’s until the 00’s, when I stopped combing used record stores, thrift stores, etc., for vinyl finds. However, I still had a vague but rich memory of that soundtrack.

Thankfully, someone posted the LP on You Tube, and it’s even more striking than I remember it. Without the movie visuals, it truly creates its own visuals. Put this album on in the evening, after sundown, pour yourself some Tempranillo, close your eyes, and create scenes in your mind from the Morricone soundtrack. You don’t need to know a thing about the actual film. The album runs 41:21. Enjoy!

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