La-La Land Records have released Henry Mancini's
complete score of "The Great Race" in splendid Stereophonic Sound
An epic-length score of almost two hours in a limited (2500 units) edition
|Read more at|
The 70mm Newsletter
|Written by: Gerhard Witte, Berlin
3-cd box set with an epic art design by Jim Titus. The included booklet (24
pages) gives detailed information about Mancini's score and the movie. The
original film score is on CD1 (52:27) and CD2 (62.10), and on CD3 (27:38) is
represented the LP-version released in 1965 – here Mancini's album
arrangements use a smaller group of players than the original film score.
(Picture taken by the author)
LISTEN TO THIS MERRY MADCAP MANCINI SCORE COMPOSED FOR AN EXCELLENT FAMILY
Blake Edwards' "The Great Race" (USA, 1965) is a parody of
silent film (e.g.: the pretty opening credits mimic lantern slides from the
silent era), and is dedicated to Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
At the time, it was the most expensive comedy ever made (IMDb: estimated
budget $12.000.000), beating out prior comedy epics as
"Around the World in 80
Days" (USA, 1956 – estimated budget $6.000.000),
Mad Mad Mad Mad World" (USA, 1963 – estimated budget $ 9.400.000),
Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (or How I Flew from London to Paris
in 25 hours 11 minutes)" (UK, 1965 – estimated budget $5.600.000).
It won an Oscar for Treg Brown's Sound Effects. It received nominations for
Best Cinematography (Russell Harlan), Best Editing (Ralph E. Winters), Best
Sound (George Groves), and Best Original Song for Henry Mancini's (music)
and Johnny Mercer's (lyrics) song "The Sweetheart Tree".
It is the movie's lovely love song: "They say there's a tree in the
forest – a tree that will give you a sign – come along with me to the
sweetheart tree – come and carve your name next to mine …"
The world premiere of
“The Great Race”
took place on Thursday, 1 July 1965 at "Pantages
Theatre" in Los Angeles. Previously, the movie had already received big
press coverage via Warner Bros. bringing 150 newspapermen from all over the
country to Hollywood on a two-day junket. (Author's note: most likely in a
tent – watch the interesting premiere interviews from the Oklahoma
Historical Society on YouTube in the link list. Additional information taken
from "New York VARIETY" dated Wednesday, 30 June 1965)
|More in 70mm reading:|
Hannibal 8 Special For Sale
"The Wonderful World of Brothers
Grimm" soundtrack released by Film Score Monthly
Odyssey" Yet another soundtrack
Ben-Hur: The Complete Soundtrack
The Third Man records' Release
of "The Hateful Eight" on 2-LP 180 gram Vinyl
Alex North's "Cheyenne Autumn"
score released on 2CD from Entrada
Todd-AO "Mag Men" 2CD Released
La-La Land records
"Pantages Theatre" in Los Angeles
"The Great Race" movie premiere interviews on YouTube.
Part 1 +
wonderful tribute to "The Great Race" on YouTube with Henry Mancini's
nice musical score
movie's RCA LSP 3402 Stereo record from 1965 featuring Mancini's musical
themes partly in more popular (easy-listening) versions. Image
right: director Blake Edwards (26.07.1922 – 15.12.2010) with composer Henry
Mancini (16.04.1924 – 14.06.1994). (Image taken from the LP cover (reverse
side) – from the author's collection)
Blake Edwards was a famous American film director, screenwriter, and
producer. In 2004, he received an Honorary Academy Award in recognition of
his writing, directing, and producing an extraordinary body of work for the
The well-known American composer, conductor and arranger Henry Mancini has
been awarded 4 Oscars. In 1962, he got two Academy Awards. One for Best
Original Song titled "Moon River" (in collaboration with Johnny Mercer), and
one for Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture – both for the movie
"Breakfast at Tiffany's" (USA, 1961).
In 1963, he was awarded in the category Best Original Song for "Days of
Wine and Roses" (USA, 1962) – again with Jonny Mercer together.
In 1983, he got his fourth Oscar (this time together with Leslie Bricusse)
for Music (Original Song Score and its Adaptation -or- Adaptation Score) for
the movie "Victor/Victoria" (UK/USA, 1982).
At the time, the front pages of two trade magazines announced the big and
expensive comedy extravaganza.
The French "La Cinématographie Française" dated 08.01.1966, "Warner Bros.
with best wishes for 1966", and the German "Film-Echo/Filmwoche" dated
10.12.1965 with following text: "The new 70mm attraction by Warner
Brothers will open in Germany in December in Berlin, Hamburg and Düsseldorf.
Get more information about this movie – watch the programme "Neues aus der
Welt des Films" (news from the world of film) on the second German TV on
Saturday, 11th December at 6:55 pm!"
Premiere in Germany: "Das große Rennen (rund um
German advert at the time of the movie's release, and right: the movie's
German souvenir programme (16 pages – from the author's collection).
In the advert is written following: "The Super Attraction in 70mm by
Warner Bros. (author's note: the movie was shot on 35mm in glorious
Panavision, and was blown up to 70mm for special premiere venues) / Start
in Germany: Christmas 1965 / Robert Stein, one of the most important US-theater
owners was thrilled. He saw the film at a so-called "sneak preview" (test
screening) in San Diego – what is "My Fair Lady" for the musical that
is "The Great Race" for the comedy. Warner Bros. pretty big in
The epic, hilarious slapstick comedy premiered at Hamburg's "Savoy
Filmtheater" in 70mm, and with 6-channel magnetic sound on Thursday, 16
December 1965. Previously, George Cukor’s film "My Fair Lady" (USA,
1964) had been very successfully shown there for 11 months and 3 weeks.
"The Great Race" (running time about 160 min – the roadshow version has
an Overture, an Entr'acte, and an Exit Music) was shown there for 10 weeks –
until Thursday, 24 February 1966.
at Hamburg's "Savoy Filmtheater", Europe's first purpose-built Todd-AO
venue. The theatre opened in March 1957.
Click to see enlargement
Left side: an announcement advert dated 09.12.1965 with following text:
"The hitherto biggest car race in Hamburg – the great laughter around the
world – opening on 16 December at "Savoy Filmtheater on Steindamm", and
right: the premiere advert.
In the newspaper "Hamburger Morgenpost" was written at the time: "Great
fun at Savoy. This car race from New York via the North Pole to Paris is
full of originality and has numberless gags. With a brawl in a saloon, and a
colossal pie fight it offers 100% cinema viewing pleasure." (Author's
note: in the souvenir programme is written that they had "destroyed" 2,357
real pies – i would have loved being involved in that scene)
From "Hamburger Abendecho": "This is a great, funny and colorful journey
that the Americans have produced with great effort, wit, and an all-star
cast for the big screen."
Premiere in France: "La Grande Course Autour du
exceptionally unusual vehicle attracts great attention. (Image taken from
"Le Film Français" dated 25.02.1966)
"The Great Race" premiered at the "Empire
(Abel Gance) Cinérama Théâtre" on Friday, 17 February 1966. It ran there
for 10 weeks and 5 days with success – until Tuesday, 3 May 1966.
Prof. Fate's (played by Jack Lemmon) "Hannibal
8 Special" vehicle on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. It was a good
advertising for the film. The car is a masterpiece of mechanical and
artistic design. An uncanny black monster, which can be hoisted eight feet
into the air from its six-wheel base. It is equipped with a cannon and all
kinds of gadgets – a little bit like the cars in James Bond movies.
From IMDb: The "Hannibal 8" was powered by a Corvair six-cylinder engine and
three-speed transmission. Six (author's note: other sources give 4 or 5)
"Hannibal 8" cars were built for the movie at a reported cost of $150,000
each. Three of which used the lazy tongs lifting mechanism, so fragile that
it broke constantly.
Here additional information about this unusual vehicle on
According to two statistics written in "La Cinématographie Française" dated
11.03.1966 and 29.04.1966 (see in the image), 9.073 people saw the movie in
the second week. So, 19.615 – 9.073 = 10.542 people were in the Empire
cinema in the first week.
5.171 cinemagoers enjoyed the movie in the 9th week with a total of 60.094
in 9 weeks since the movie's premiere. The theater was equipped with 1032
"The Great Race" premiered in England at "Coliseum" in
Thursday, 14 October 1965 and ran there until Saturday, 26 February 1966 (4
months and 11 days).
It premiered in Austria at "Gartenbau-Kino" in Vienna on Friday, 25 March
1966. Watch on
YouTube the enchanting Natalie Wood arriving in Vienna for shooting in
14 Aug 2017|
Von: François CARRIN
An: Gerhard WITTE
Congratulations for your report about The Great Race in 70mm.com. I
remember it very well! In France it was the Winter holidays week and I
was in Paris on Saturday & Sunday 18-19/02/1966.
I have seen the film at EMPIRE CINERAMA on Saturday night. Successfully
I was seated in the 1st row! In fact too near from the screen. The film
was screened with SHELLARAMA.
The next day morning I was walking along Les Champs-Elysées and I have
seen the Hannibal 8 car exhibited in the RENAULT showroom.
It’s a great souvenir !!!
aka Mister CINERAMA France
Some Thoughts about the 3-CD Set and its Music
from that time: some of the Gems in "The Greatest Comedy of all Time!": The
Great Pie Fight / The Mad Automobile Race / The Western Saloon Brawl / The
Sheik's Tent / The Devilish Dirigicycle / The Fiend's Dungeon / The Sinking
First of all I would like to mention that this comedy score has an excellent
sound quality - it has been very well restored. The 3 CDs are housed in a
Multipack Jewel Case. The included booklet, written by Jeff Bond, is very
informative. This is the world premiere of Mancini's original musical score
of "The Great Race" and it is, I think so, a must for Mancini
At the time of the movie's release, film musical scores were often
re-recorded and re-arranged for their LP-presentations, and were, of course,
much shorter. I am collecting soundtracks since about my 12th birthday, and
I am always amazed that today numerous original scores are available in
their full length on the CD-market. So, I can say that a lot of
wishes/dreams have come true.
The musical score to "The Great Race" is in my mind's eye no
symphonic music and, in some passages, it reminds me of circus music. My
absolute highlight is, of course, the Oscar nominated song "The Sweetheart
Tree" that gives the movie a very pleasant flair – I like it more than
Mancini's Oscar winning song for the movie "Days of Wine and Roses"
(USA, 1962). But there are some more beautiful melodies in the movie, and
also partly zany passages, which are perfectly fitting with the film's
While I was listening to the music I noticed that the Stereo-Sound-Channels
were widely separated from another at the time – I like this very much. On
CD1 (Track No.11) you can also enjoy the classic title song from Sigmund
Romberg's (lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II) operetta "The Desert Song"
(1926). It is played in the movie when the Great Leslie (Tony Curtis)
romances Maggie DuBois (Natalie Wood) inside a tent. By the way, Natalie
Wood also sings the song "The Sweetheart Tree" in the second part of the film
(on CD2 track No.19, an alternate version is on track No.28), but she had
been dubbed by singer Jackie Ward at the time. Watch on
YouTube, and take note of the funny animated "follow the bouncing ball"
lyrics on the screen.
Natalie wasn't a perfect singer – already in "West Side Story" (USA,
1961) she had been dubbed by Marni Nixon. At the very end of CD2, if you are
waiting for a while (after the last title No. 28) you can hear screaming,
clapping people. This can also be heard at the movie's beginning during the
Is the purchase of the CD-Box worthwhile? This is certainly no question for
the real film music freak like me. There are some repetitions of
melodies/tunes on the first two CDs, and some of the tracks are not very
long. But there is, of course, a lot of new, hitherto unreleased music
available now (all described in detail in the CD's booklet), which you can't
find in the music's LP version. Here are featured Mancini's musical themes
partly in a more popular (easy-listening) version, which I also like.
I had watched "The Great Race" as a boy at Hamburg's "Savoy
Filmtheater" – of course in amazing 70mm. Some scenes amused me very much,
and I laughed a lot. Today I can laugh less about it. Times and tastes are
changing, and that is, of course, also a question of age. By the way, the
German DVD edition of the movie has an Overture, an Intermission Title Card
(no Entr'acte), and an Exit Music.
1 Overture 3:49
2 Main Title (The Sweetheart Tree) 2:56
3 Fanfare No. I / The Great Race March 1:18
4 Enter Leslie 1:30
5 Enter Professor Fate 2:23
6 Up Your Exhaust Pipe 2:23
7 Fate Again 2:03
8 Exposed! / Holy Cow 3:17
9 Fate Is a Fink 2:19
10 Enter Maggie / Fickle Fate 2:02
11 The Desert Song 3:31
12 New York to Paris (The Great Race March) 2:39
13 Fanfare (Times Square) / They’re Off 2:40
14 Pigeon / Stranded 1:45
15 Smoke Screen 2:07
16 It Looks Like a Big Night Tonight 1:52
17 He Shouldn’t-A, Hadn’t-A, Oughtn’t-A Swang On Me 4:41
18 He Shouldn’t-A, Hadn’t-A, Oughtn’t-A Swang On Me (band) 1:16
19 Texas Jack 1:08
20 It Looks Like a Big Night Tonight (reprise) 1:48
21 It Looks Like a Big Night Tonight (piano) 1:13
22 That Finishes Them! / Off to Grommet 1:42
23 Rise and Shine 2:03
Disc 1: Total Time: 52:27
1 Entr’Acte (The Sweetheart Tree) / Red Sky 3:56
2 Another Foot 2:19
3 Saved! 1:13
4 Captured! / Under Arrest 2:00
5 Princely Fanfare / His Royal Highness :47
6 Dance Medley 5:07
7 Whispering / Good Night, Sweet Prince 1:45
8 It’s a Secret 2:31
9 Heir to the Throne :53
10 Dirty Little Rat 2:30
11 Strict Orders 1:51
12 Dey Dere 2:50
13 Leslie Leaps In 2:57
14 En Garde 1:20
15 En Garde Again 2:08
16 Coronation 1:04
17 Faster! / Faster Still! / Escape! :54
18 Pie-in-the-Face Polka 3:51
19 The Sweetheart Tree (vocal) 2:40
20 Paris 2:21
21 Finish Line 1:14
22 Paris to New York - End Title 1:35
23 End Cast :35
24 Exit Music 1:53
25 It Looks Like a Big Night Tonight (full lyrics) 1:59
26 Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (excerpts) 6:17
27 Princely Organ Music :48
28 Guitar Strums / The Sweetheart Tree (alt vocal) 2:50
Disc 2: Total Time: 62:10
1 Overture 3:42
2 Push the Button, Max! 2:57
3 The Royal Waltz 1:43
4 Night, Night Sweet Prince 3:04
5 They’re Off! 1:32
6 The Sweetheart Tree (Choral) 1:59
7 The Great Race March (A Patriotic Medley) 1:54
8 He Shouldn’t-A, Hadn’t-A, Oughtn’t-A Swang on Me! 3:12
9 Music to Become King By 2:39
10 Cold Finger 2:28
11 Pie-in-the-Face Polka 2:28
Disc 3: Total Time: 27:38
TOTAL 3-DISC ALBUM TIME: 2:22:15
|Go: back - top - back issues - news index