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Me And The Colonel OST

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Album Review

Filmgoers and television viewers who only remember composer George Duning for his themes for The Big Valley and Naked City may be surprised by the soundtrack to Me and the Colonel — not many people noticed the music at the time of the film's release in 1958, owing to other factors that seemed more important. The movie attracted a lot of attention at the time, as the first serious drama (adapted from a Broadway play) to star Danny Kaye, who was then a huge box office draw for his comedies. But despite the relative neglect of the music over the decades, Duning does seem to have risen to the occasion, with a lush orchestral score that manages also to be playful, and witty, romantic and serious all in just the right spots, which makes it good listening as well as fine accompaniment to the movie itself. The film's subject — about the uneasy truce established between a Jewish refugee and an aristocratic (and anti-Semitic) Polish colonel, as they both flee the German army heading for Paris — was a serious tightrope walk for all concerned, just 13 years after the end of World War II. Duning did his best to carry it off on his end, with dance pieces ("Jacobowsky," "Sadness"/"Castle Waltz") that are eminently seductive, and achingly lyrical passages associated with the Colonel's paramour, along with lots of moments evoking wit, pomposity, and gentle revelation in between. Duning, who studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory but also played trumpet in big bands, does his best to deliver an old-style European-style soundtrack, but never lets his work get too far in front of the subject matter or the audience. And the result is a genial, charming score that holds up magnificently across 50 years. And the 2003 CD issue marked an unexpected reappearance, 45 years after the fact and long since the movie passed from most peoples' memories.


Born: 25 February 1908 in Richmond, IN

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Film composer George Duning was born in Richmond, IN on February 25, 1908, later studying theory at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and composition under Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. After playing trumpet in a series of big bands, in 1939 he was tapped as the musical director for the NBC radio program "Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge," and during World War II served as conductor and arranger with the Armed Forces Radio Network. Following the war Duning signed on with Columbia Pictures,...
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Me And The Colonel OST, George Duning
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