Sunday, September 4, 2011


Charles Laughton’s only movie as director is one of the darkest and more poetic fairy tales in the Cinema story. It’s simply beautiful and haunting! When I heard that it was to be transformed into a musical I feared the worst. But, although I never saw it in stage, it works perfectly on this concept album.

Composer Claibe Richardson wrote a score as haunting as the movie, which begins just like a fairy tale with the great Dorothy Loudon telling a story. Stephen Cole’s lyrics are very character oriented and respectful to the spirit of the movie; just listen to the powerful “Love & Hate”. In the whole it’s a rich score, where we can find a kind of gospel number, “The River Jesus”, a beautiful ballad that transforms into a highly dramatic song, “Wedding Night”, a playful number that ends in murder, “Trading Secrets”, and a sexy blues little number, “Ruby at the Drug Store”.

The cast was very well chosen and it’s hard to imagine someone else than Ron Raines as Harry (the Robert Mitchum role). His strong dramatic voice is perfect, that’s evident on his first song “The Lord Will Provide”, and he never fails to deliver the goods. Dorothy Loudon sounds sweeter than ever and has her big moment with “One More Harvest”. Sally Mayes shines in “Lookin’ Ahead” and, as the kids, Frankie J. Galasso and Andrea Bowen are really convincing.

It’s one of those recordings that you should listen to with your eyes closed, imagining the dark fairy tale that its unfolding. Its evocative score and great cast makes it a must for any musical fan.


  1. After Claibe Richardson and Kenward Elmslie developed a musical-play of the Jean Geraudoux-Maurice Valency poetic fantasy "La Folle de Chaillot", titled "Crazy Lady", produced by Richard Barr, featuring Lotte Lenya as "The Mad Woman of Chaillot". The "Crazy Lady" musical was announced for a Spring 1964 Broadway opening. Because the original play's adaptation performance rights, for the property, negotiated with the (widow) Geraudoux Estate, was only for the 'European rights', the musical had to be shelved! Claibe purposefully negotiated with the widow of the novel's "Night of the Hunter" author David Grubb for the property rights. She initially was hesitant in agreeing to turn the property into a musical-play. After securing the rights, Richardson and Stephen Cole began collaborating on the project.

  2. Thanks Hub, I didn't knew about this story. I guess that, later, someone got the rights for an American "La Folle de Chaillot" and the result was the delicious DEAR WORLD.