Music Box Records
24 Tracks/Disc Time: 42:10
When Director Susan Seidelman burst onto the movie scene, she did it in grand fashion with the highly successful and enjoyable role reversal comedy, "Desperately Seeking Susan" which featured fabulous performances by Madonna and Rosanna Arquette. She followed that up with the fun and intentionally sappy, "Making Mr.Right" and in 1989 alone saw not one, but two films directed by her. The first one was the father-daughter mobster comedy, "Cookie" starring Emily Lloyd and Peter Falk and this film, "She-Devil" starring then super hot comedianne and TV star Roseanne Barr and of course, Oscar winner and Academy Award nominee darling, Meryl Streep. The film revolves around Ruth Patchett (Barr, "Roseanne"), a frumpy out of shape housewife married to Bob (Ed Begley, Jr., "St. Elsewhere"), a seedy accountant with two kids living in the Jersey suburbs when Bob's philandering eye catches the super hot and pampered famous author, Mary Fisher (Streep, "Sophie's Choice") living the fairytale life that her novels are based on with the sexy chauffer Garcia (A Martinez, "Longmire") and then begins a very passionate and sex filled relationship with her. When Bob decides to leave Ruth for Mary, she begins a rather devious and comedically vengeful way to get back to her no good husband. After dumping her kids with Bob and Mary, Ruth's plan begins with seeking out Mary's mother (Sylvia Miles, "Wall Street") at a nursing home in which Ruth using an alias begins to work there and befriends a shy-reclusive nurse Hooper (Academy Award winner Linda Hunt, "CSI: Los Angeles") and soon her plans start to soar higher and higher when they join forces to form an employment agency in which the no good Bob can't resist finding another sex romp with. Soon Mary and Bob's seemingly perfect world come tumbling down with Ruth's plan working to her ultimate satisfaction. The film was a modest box office hit and has garnered a second life on DVD and numerous airings on cable.
One of the more interesting elements in Susan Seidelman's films has been the use of music and starting with "Desperately Seeking Susan" and "Cookie", she had featured the work of the then up and coming Oscar nominated Thomas Newman in which the film needed a hip, contemporary sound to compliment each of the films. "She-Devil" however required a rather different sound and one that would utilize a full orchestrial score for the first time and requiring the services of Oscar winner Howard Shore, who was coming off the surprise and classic comedy, "Big" starring Oscar winner Tom Hanks. For this film, Shore took a more satire tone in which he would incorporate a gothic sound as well as that of luxury featuring a wailing female vocalise reminiscent of films of the 60's ("Main Title", "Beauty Shop" and "Main Theme (Reprise)). The score also has a playful horror like edge to it which really works which was established in the opening of "Main Title" with aggressive string work, harpsichord and brass that really becomes more fierce and expansive in the tracks "She-Devil's Rage", and "Blowing Up The House". Shore switches gears as Mary's perfect fairy-tale world is becoming a complete nightmare as he carefully interpolates the "She-Devil Theme" in with the once tranquil romantic world that she lived in with the tracks "Juliet Dies", "Bob Calls The Agency", "Fighting Lovers/Money Transfer", "Mary In The Mirror", and "Bob Gets Arrested". Shore really infuses alot of great comic timing in these tracks which includes some mock drama in both "Juliet Dies" and "Mary In The Mirror", that would lead to his more dramatic work later on and would also go on to influence Tim Burton's masterpiece, "Ed Wood" years later.
Music Box's album is a sparkling and entertaining score that deserves to be discovered that truly displays the immense talents of Oscar Winner Howard Shore in that he can score films that just doesn't just pretain to only Hobbits, Wizards or Orcs. People forget that he has scored comedies along side "Big" such as "Analyze This", "Moving", "After Hours", "Quick Change","Prelude To Kiss", "The Truth About Cats And Dogs", "Mrs.Doubtfire" and "That Thing You Do" and has done so with great style and substance. Shore's music for these films including "She-Devil", really do make an impact and do show that Shore is really capable of scoring any genre with masterful skill. "She-Devil" is a great example that eventhough the film isn't great, memorable music can definitely elevate it to high levels and Howard Shore really did it with this one because I've never forgotten this score and won't. Highly recommended. Thumbs up!