“MY NAME IS JUGGERNAUT”
Kritzerland is proud to present a new limited edition soundtrack CD – two great scores for two great Richard Lester films, on one CD:
JUGGERNAUT and THE BED SITTING ROOM
Music Composed and Conducted by Ken Thorne
By the time of 1974’s Juggernaut, Richard Lester was known for his two wonderful Beatles’ films, A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, the film version of the Broadway show A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, as well as The Knack, The Bed Sitting Room, and How I Won the War, all of which were suffused with Lester’s visual style and humor. He’d also made the drama, Petulia, which was a whole different kind of film for Lester, and just prior to Juggernaut, he’d made a boisterous and wonderful film of The Three Musketeers. But nothing Lester had done really could have prepared audiences for the tension-filled, excruciating suspense of Juggernaut. While it’s sometimes spoken of as a disaster film, it’s not really in the Irwin Allen mold at all. The set-up comes quickly – a man identifying himself only as “Juggernaut” calls the owner of a shipping line and says there are seven barrels of amatol (explosives) on board the luxury-liner the Brittanic. They are set to explode by dawn of the next day. Any attempt to defuse them will cause them to detonate. If a ransom of 500,000 pounds is paid, Juggernaut will then send instructions on how to defuse the bombs. Juggernaut then gives a little demonstration by triggering a few small explosions. All this happens during the film’s terrific opening sequence.
From there on out it’s a game of edge-of-your-seat cat and mouse scenes between Richard Harris as Fallon, a bomb expert, and Juggernaut. Everything about the film works beautifully, and it has a great cast – Richard Harris and David Hemmings (as his number one man) are superb, as are Omar Sharif, Shirley Knight, Ian Holm, Lester regular Roy Kinnear, a young Anthony Hopkins, and especially Freddie Jones.
Five years earlier, Lester directed a film version of John Antrobus and Spike Milligan’s post-apocalyptic comedy, The Bed Sitting Room. Lester brought his unique comic visual style to this very weird comedy, which features an amazing cast (listed in the credits not alphabetically, but by height) – Ralph Richardson, Michael Hordern, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Marty Feldman, Mona Washbourne, Roy Kinnear, Arthur Lowe, and fellow Goon Show members, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe.
The scores for both films were written by Lester’s frequent musical collaborator, Ken Thorne. Thorne’s score for Juggernaut is very brief but very effective – it is filled with tension, has some great action scoring when the bomb squad is parachuting aboard the Brittanic, and his music heightens every scene in which it’s used. There’s also a very pretty theme to accompany scenes with Shirley Knight and Omar Sharif, but mostly his music plays the same cat and mouse game that the characters play. Thorne’s score for The Bed Sitting Room is the polar opposite of Juggernaut – whimsical, jaunty, rueful, and filled with one great melody after another. Thorne was really adept at writing comedy scores, in a way that few composers are. And he especially had an affinity for complimenting Lester’s visuals.
The source material for both scores came from Mr. Thorne’s personal tapes. For Juggernaut, those tapes had the entire brief score, save for one cue, the end titles. We were able to take most of that from the DVD (there is a tiny bit of sound effects – ocean noise – for the first few seconds). The Bed Sitting Room is quite a long score, but Mr. Thorne only had highlights from it on a reel, and we’ve included everything he had, as no tapes from either film were in the MGM vault.
This release is limited to 1000 copies only. The price is $19.98 plus shipping
CD will ship by the end of August – however, preorders placed directly through Kritzerland usually ship one to five weeks earlier (we’ve been averaging four weeks early).