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Label:
Name: FILM SCORE MONTHLY
Number: FSM1209

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968)
Limited Edition of 3,000 Copies.
Composed by: Dave Grusin

View CD Page at FSM Site (More Details)

One of the finest dramatic scores of the 1960s—and an important early work of Dave Grusin—gets a deluxe CD treatment from Film Score Monthly: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968), for the acclaimed adaptation of Carson McCullers’s popular Southern novel starring Alan Arkin and Sondra Locke.

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter stars Arkin as John Singer, a deaf-mute who moves to a small town while trying to become the legal guardian of a fellow deaf-mute (played by Chuck McCann) who has been institutionalized. There he touches the lives of a group of disparate people, including a sensitive teenage girl (Locke) whose family has money problems; a proud black physician (Percy Rodrigues) at odds with his daughter (Cicely Tyson); and a self-pitying, troublemaking drunk (Stacy Keach Jr.). Like many dramas during the turbulent ’60s—especially those set in the South—the film explores themes of alienation and racism as its outsider characters struggle to communicate with each other and find their place in society.

Dave Grusin had mostly television credits when he scored The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and the project was a feature-film breakthrough that produced one of his signature scores—Grusin is renowned for his works for contemporary adult dramas that blend orchestral, pop and keyboard elements and this was more or less the first. Faced with a lead character who did not speak in verbal dialogue, and a story rich in emotion, Grusin wrote a beautifully restrained yet melodic score that delicately evokes the film’s unstated emotions. The main theme is a gentle harpsichord melody for Arkin’s deaf-mute, with a bridge expressing the great melancholy within the character, while secondary themes apply to the supporting cast.

While films today tend to have their source music (car radios, stereo systems, etc.) licensed from existing works, in the 1960s it was common for the film’s composer to custom-generate these pieces. This was the case on The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter as Grusin worked with country-western, rock and blues vocalists to generate the appropriate tracks, many of which were featured on the film’s soundtrack LP.

FSM’s expanded CD of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter is broken into three sections, all of them newly remixed and remastered from the ½" three- and four-track stereo masters: first is the 1968 Warner Bros. LP program, interspersing source music and underscore cues; then a 31:09 program of just the film’s dramatic score, some of which is repeated from the LP tracks but placed here in chronological order; and an additional four tracks of source music. Liner notes are by Jeff Bond and Lukas Kendall, including new comments by the composer. 

track list

    Click on track TIME for MP3 sound clip.

    The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

    Music Composed and Conducted by Dave Grusin

  1. Main Title 3:12
  2. Visiting Hours 2:31
  3. Beyond the Reach of Love (Vocal) 2:41
  4. Married People 2:41
  5. Symphodelic (Mozart’s “Haffner” and “Swampy Four”) 3:25
  6. Drop Out 1:25
  7. I Can’t Afford to Let You Go (Vocal—Mac Davis) 2:57
  8. Growing Pains 2:43
  9. Dr. Copeland 1:45
  10. Elizabeth (Vocal) 2:38
  11. Aftermath 2:18
  12. The Color of the Wind (Vocal—Mac Davis) 2:40
  13. Pipes of Pan (Vocal) 2:20
  14. The Last Walk—Why? 3:18
  15. End Title 1:12

    Total Time: 38:16

    Score Program

  16. Main Title 3:13
  17. 20 Dollar Guest/If You Wasn’t My Sister 1:38
  18. I Hate You (revised) 1:31
  19. I Hate You 1:32
  20. Lullabye 0:53
  21. Dr. Copeland’s Waiting Room 1:21
  22. Alone Again 1:16
  23. Eye to Eye 1:00
  24. Early Jean Shrimpton 1:07
  25. Long Face/Visiting Hours 2:39
  26. Uncle Tom Willie 2:20
  27. Drop Out 2:01
  28. Married People (revised) 1:35
  29. Fellini Follies/Aftermath 2:27
  30. Thank You/Reunion 1:35
  31. Last Walk/Why? 3:17
  32. End Title 1:12

    Total Time: 31:08

    Bonus Source 

  33. Boots 2:01
  34. Gutbucket Stomp 2:31
  35. Short and Sacriligeous 1:21
  36. Sunday Morning Woman 3:27

    Total Time: 9:27

    Total Disc Time: 79:03

     


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Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Barry S. Wilson on July 30, 2019 4:42 PM
I remember when I was 10 years old in 1977, and this film made its television debut on NBC. My parents and I were looking through the TV Guide for something to watch the night it premiered, and you couldn't tell much from the description in the "Guide", but it looked like the best thing to watch that particular evening...I didn't know it at the time, but it was an evening that would forever change my life.

I had never seen a film more moving nor a performance more outstanding (by Alan Arkin) in all my life. To this day, it remains my favorite film of all time.

I also loved the score by Dave ("David" when the film was made in 1968) Grusin. I decided that very night what I wanted to be when I grew up...a film composer, and indeed I did. I never lost sight of that dream, and had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mr. Grusin when I attended Berklee College of Music after I left high school in the mid '80s...I told him how much his score and this film had changed my life, and that it was my favorite of all his scores...He was very kind and told me that it was his favorite too.

I also remember writing to Alan Arkin after having had such a moving experience with "Heart"...It was back in the days when you could go to the back of a comic book or whatever, and see ads where, for just $1.99, you could purchase a book of the real addresses of the stars (not just c/o Warner Bros, etc)...So I got Mr Arkin's address, and wrote to him telling how much I loved his performance in "Heart"...A couple of weeks later, he actually wrote back to me, and thanked me very much for my interest in his film.

One thing I remember being interesting. I had already seen the NBC network premier of "Heart", and always kept watch in the TV Guide for a re-run...It just so happened that I saw where the film was going to be playing again on some particular night, and was greatly looking forward to seeing "My Favorite Film" once again...It also just so happened, though, that it was on the same night that "Star Wars" was premiering at our local cinema, and my parents wanted to go see that, and they couldn't, at 10 years old, leave me home alone...I remember reluctantly going with them...The line was way around the block for "Star Wars", and once we got in, the place was packed to capacity and they had to actually turn people away.

I never despised a movie more in my life. After sitting through about the first 20 minutes of this sci-fi /fantasy junk, I starting almost YELLING at my parents to take me home to see my favorite movie of all time!!...I'm sure I was the only kid in that theater, or ANY theater for that matter, to rather be home watching a drama about a deaf mute than seeing the premier of "Star Wars"!!...I don't remember how I managed to sit through "Wars", but to my recollection, I MUST have somehow because I remember my parents wouldn't take me home to see "Heart"...(Man, if only we had VCRs in 1977, I would have been all set) !!!...But at least today, we can actually OWN movies and watch them whenever we want in the privacy of our own homes!!...So now, I have a home theater with "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" DVD on display, along with Dave Grusin's soundtrack on CD...and I'm in heaven...just like back in 1977.

By the way, I have NEVER owned a copy of "Star Wars"...LOL !!...(But I still have respect for the millions of fans of the "Star Wars" mega-franchise :)

Barry

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