A Sand Pebble

You might not be able to tell from the entries on this site, but I’ve interests other than food.  I love most vintage things, including movies and music.  On that note, I’m happy to report that I recently acquired the complete soundtrack recording to one of my all-time favorite films, now available from Intrada.

maf7116booklet.inddBased on Richard McKenna’s 1962 bestseller, The Sand Pebbles (1965), is a story about the USS San Pablo, a pre-20th century steamboat that patrols the rivers in 1926 China.  A pre-Bullit Steve McQueen stars as the protagonist, Jake Holman, a naval engineer who is deemed bad luck, and the film also stars Candice Bergen, Richard Attenborough, Richard Crenna, and Mako.  The music was written by the master himself, Jerry Goldsmith, and was available before, albeit in a much shorter form.

I don’t know why the movie resonated with me the way it did (and does), but I don’t have too many three-hour films that I’ve sat through from beginning to end and still see something new and interesting in each sitting.  It is intimate, yet epic.  McKenna’s book is the same way.  After the umpteenth viewing, I wanted to read the book.  I lucked out and found three paperback copies while at a used bookstore, and immediately sent one to a friend who loved it.  (The second is for another friend but it’s still sitting on the shelf three years later.)  The third – the oldest of the set – was for me.  I’m considering rereading it and just might once my schedule slows down.

(On a side note, if you’re a fan of vintage military fiction, I can’t recommend Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 (1962) enough.  It’s a great read and one I used to tackle every summer.  It’s also one that deserves its own post . . . )

I could copy out the CD jacket which speaks glowingly of Goldsmith’s work, but I won’t.  All I’ll say is that most of this CD is subtle and moody, and it’s one of Goldsmith’s best.  I have the earlier release and I was absolutely surprised to see just how much music was missing from it.  I’m stunned that I waited so long to try to find this gem, too.  Now, if they would release The Blue Max (1965), another Goldsmith work (personally, I think it’s among his very best), then I would be a very happy camper indeed.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. poppies says:

    Never heard of the movie, but I’ll have to check it out now!

  2. Doc Furious says:

    It’s a good film, and if I remember correctly, the role resulted in McQueen’s only Oscar nomination.

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