"Jacqueline Susann's Once Is Not Enough"
Intrada Special Collection Vol. 270
32 Tracks/Disc Time: 78:58
Grade: A- (BEST OF 2014)
The 1970's were filled with films full of melodrama and lots of emphasis on sex, money, power and family turmoil. Jacqueline Susann's novel "Once Is Not Enough" was primed and ripe for such a big screen plunge as Paramount Pictures was really riding high after Oscar darlings "Love Story", "Chinatown", "Serpico", "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part 2" really drove the studio to the top of the heap and felt that her novel was just perfect along with adaptation of F.Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow were bonafide hits. Well that wasn't the case with "Once Is Not Enough" as it was critically panned by everyone despite a solid star studded cast that features Oscar Winner Kirk Douglas ("Spartacus"), David Janssen ("The Fugitive"), Alexis Smith, George Hamilton, Brenda Vaccaro ("Capricorn One") and Deborah Raffin, the film revolves around over-the-hill movie producer Mike Wayne (Douglas) who marries a wealthy, spiteful woman and closeted lesbian Deidre Milford Granger (Smith) just to please his spoiled daughterm January (Raffin). In her attempt to spite him, January seduces both a wealthy playboy Hugh Robertson and a local over the hill screenwriter Tom Colt (Janssen) with her friend, magazine editor and man hungry sex fiend magazine editor, Linda (Vaccaro). This potboiler which was beautifully shot in and around New York City was not the hit that the studio envisioned and had gone into obscurity until Olive Films' recent Blu-Ray release and having seen it personally, it's not that bad of a film. Definitely a misguided one that's for sure.
One of the best aspects of the film in my opinion aside from the late John Alonzo's stark and captivating cinematography is the always exceptional and refreshing work of Oscar winner Henry Mancini, who I don't know what exactly inspired him for this film but wrote a dynamic and memorable work that is classy, elegant and romantic like the man himself was. Coming off a few films that include the memorable replacement score to "The Molly Maguires", the wonderful and exciting caper music for "Thief Who Came To Dinner", and classical elegance of "The White Dawn", Mancini was really moving forward throughout the decade of the 70's as not just a comedy composer but one to be taken seriously and just as this film shows. The music shines with melodrama and sultry material that made the entire film watchable from the opening and romantic restrained elegance with sweeping string work and piano of "Opening Scene" and "Son Of Main Title" that are just simple intoxicating with beautiful melodic passages for guitar that really capture the moods of what's to come for the rest of the score
Soft melodic jazz really take hold in beautiful tracks as featured in the sultry keyboard and vibes of "Karla", "The Soft Touch From Hatari!" which is an update of his lovely theme from that 1962 film which gets a very tender reading for keyboard, and the lyrical romance of "Holly" featuring both acoustic guitar and piano. "January's Theme" features one of the scores' main themes which is tender yet haunting with a beating synthesizer driving it that was introduced in the "Son Of Main Title", and gets put to good use in the tracks "The Woman I Love", "Right On Time". "Ravishing Creature", "The Soap Trick" all of which greatfully exhibit Mancini's beautiful deft orchestrations to create a melodic mood that includes drama and tenderness to where everything that was lacking within the film itself and finally culminated in sweet and saccharine "Bike Ride", which is another lush and warm highlight of the score. Then gets the grand hurrah in the lengthy and chorus filled Mancini also established this theme was the "Lonely Figure" theme which gets two wonderful renditions that are in keeping with the rest of the score and "End Title And Credits" which gets no less than four different versions including the final version used in the film which really wraps up the score exceptionally well with Mancini's deft touch. This theme after listening to it several times, would go on to inspire another score years later in Blake Edwards' "The Man Who Loved Women", which featured a tender and memorable theme such as this one features. Mancini also provides the wonderful piano solo on "Theme From Once Is Not Enough (No.6)" which is just as romantic as the fully orchestrated version is on this album.
Intrada's premiere album release of this wonderful score is easily a must have for fans of the late composer who was renowned for writing magnificent and wonderful works such as this one. The one is one that easily has slipped through the cracks these past few decades because of the films' obscurity. Mancini was a master of crafting great works even when the films weren't deserving of them and this one easily a case of that. Aside from that, "Once Is Not Enough" is a score that really stands apart from the film and rather boldly I might add. A rare work that is easily is much much (I can emphasize this enough) better than the finished product without question and one that is worthy of anyone's soundtrack collection or Mancini's wonderful catalog of scores. Wonderful! Thumbs way way up!