BBC Concert Orchestra with Barry Wordsworth.
All suites edited by Stephen Hogger.
Recorded at Watford Colosseum, November 23 & 24 2004.
BATTLE OF THE SEXES (8:07)
1. Movement I (0:55)
2. Movement II (2:29)
3. Movement III (4:44)
SANDS OF THE DESERT (9:11)
4. Movement I (2:34)
5. Movement II (1:43)
6. Movement III (2:52)
7. Movement IV (2:02)
STORMY CROSSING (17:12)
8. Movement I (1:57)
9. Movement II (5:15)
10. Movement III (5:16)
11. Movement IV (4:44)
12. BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE (10:58)
JACK THE RIPPER (13:52)
13. Movement I (2:27)
14. II Movement II (5:12)
15. III Movement III (6:13)
THREE STEPS TO THE GALLOWS (7:09)
16. Movement I (2:54)
17. Movement II (4:14)
18. THE YOUNG ONES (3:16)
BATTLE OF THE SEXES - In this 1959 comedy, Robert MacPherson (Robert Morley) inherits his family's textile business in Edinburgh, Scotland, then hires American efficiency expert Angela Barrows (Constance Cummings) to bring the business into the modern age. The House of MacPherson has long been known as a manufacturer of fine Scottish tweed, and the company's mild-mannered head clerk, Mr. Martin (Peter Sellers), worries that the no-nonsense Barrows will ruin everything with her new-fangled ideas and eventually replace him and his co-workers with automatons. So after she installs the latest labor-saving devices, including intercoms and noisy adding machines, he sabotages them in a gradually unfolding scheme to persuade MacPherson that the old Scottish ways are still the best, that true craftsmanship requires a human touch. By this time, however, MacPherson has taken a fancy to Barrows romantically, and she can do no wrong. Then, horror of horrors, Barrows proposes that the company make synthetic tweed - mass-produced synthetic tweed - in an all-out effort to Americanize the Scottish firm. That's the last straw for Martin, and he thinks there is only one option left for him: to murder Barrows. Of course, meek Mr. Martin isn't exactly a natural-born killer, and he botches one attempt after another in a sequence of scenes that keep the action moving briskly along. But Martin has pluck and plenty of persistence, and he eventually hatches another plot to undo the meddlesome Barrows. The film, loosely based on a James Thurber story entitled "The Catbird Seat," was directed by Charles Crichton, the same man who directed the highly successful "Lavender Hill Mob."
SANDS OF THE DESERT - In this British comedy set in Saudi Arabia, a gentle British travel-agency clerk decides that it would be a smashing idea to open up a desert resort in Arabia. He heads to the desert and immediately finds himself on the bad side of a local sheik as the fellow tries to build his resort atop oil-rich land. A war erupts between rival desert bands as they vie for the rights to the oil, but it is the travel agent who wins out in the end. Stars Charles Drake and Peter Arne. 1960
STORMY CROSSING - After a brief fling at Hollywood stardom, John Ireland set up camp in England and Europe. It was in England that Ireland was top-billed in "Black Tide," aka "Stormy Crossing." The bulk of the film's storyline is carried by villain Derek Bond. After murdering his lover, cross-channel swimmer Joy Webster, Bond attempts to do same to her other boyfriend, Sheldon Lawrence. Ireland plays an Interpol detective who stems Bond's homicidal hijinks. Black Tide was produced by Monty Berman in his pre-Saint days. 1956
BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE - A palatable combination of horror and science fiction, "Blood of the Vampire" takes place in 19th century Transylvania-and never mind that all the locals have cockney accents. British stage star Donald Wolfit, who never spoke when shouting would do, plays the vampiric Dr. Callistratus. Though we see Callistratus being dispatched in traditional stake-through-the-heart fashion during the opening credits, it isn't long before he returns to life, this time in the guise of a prison warden. Using his criminally insane charges as his guinea pigs, Callistratus drains their bodies of blood in order to stay alive. In the film's incredibly busy climax, Callistratus is prevented from carving up the toothsome Madeleine (Barbara Shelley) by his hunchbacked assistant Carl (Victor Maddern). We didn't see the kitchen sink, but we'll bet that that's in here somewhere too. Often mistaken for a Hammer film production (mainly because it was written by perennial Hammer scrivener Jimmy Sangster), Blood of the Vampire was actually produced by the short-lived Artistes Alliance Ltd. 1958
JACK THE RIPPER - Suspenseful, interesting, and macabre, this period piece by Robert S. Baker overcomes a weakness in characterization by sheer dint of storyline and action. Jack the Ripper still remains the unidentified killer of at least three, probably five, and possibly even eight prostitutes living or working in London's East End in 1888. The murders occurred in August, September, and November of that year and were never solved. Because various internal organs of the dead victims (their throats were cut after they were strangled into unconsciousness) were removed rapidly and with an accurate surgical technique, investigators have postulated that the demented serial killer was a surgeon. In this cinematic version, the murders are shown as they happened while Inspector O'Neill (Eddie Byrne), along with an American detective Sam Lowry (Lee Patterson) try to track down suspects and prevent the next killing. The theory put forward here is that Jack the Ripper was looking for one particular woman. As the tension mounts, his suggested identity - and what happened to him - is revealed. 1960
THREE STEPS TO THE GALLOWS - Like many of the Robert S. Baker-Monty Berman productions of the 1950s, the British "White Fire" aka "Three Steps to the Gallows" was released stateside by Lippert Films. Hollywood's Scott Brady heads the cast as US merchant marine officer Gregor Stevens. Arriving in London to pay his brother a visit, Stevens discovers that his sibling is to be hanged for murder within three days. After digesting this unpleasant news morsel, Stevens sets about to prove his brother's innocence. Before the 72 hours has transpired, our hero has become involved with a gang of diamond smugglers - not to mention gorgeous nightclub chanteuse Yvonne Durante (Mary Castle). Director John Gilling cowrote the screenplay with Paul Erickson, who also appears in a minor role. 1953
THE YOUNG ONES - "Wonderful to Be Young!" was released in Britain as "The Young Ones." Given the later output of director Sidney J. Furie, one might suspect that the original title was meant as irony, but in fact this is an upbeat, life-affirming vehicle for British pop singer Cliff Richard. In this one, Richard, the son of millionaire Robert Morley, wants to buy a piece of property before his father can use it for avaricious purposes. Having no spending money of his own (!), Richard puts on a Big Show with his friends to raise the necessary funds. Morley outwits his son, leading one of the kids to kidnap the old guy out of vengeance. But Richard comes to the rescue with several more swingin' tunes. 1961