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If you want to hear the world's most famous film composer write Arab go-go music, here's your chance!
John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! is a 1965 comedy starring Richard Crenna, Shirley MacLaine and Peter Ustinov. Crenna plays a U-2 pilot who crash lands in the mythical Arab kingdom of Fawzia and is blackmailed into coaching the king's football team in an exhibition game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Perhaps the film's biggest claim to fame is that Notre Dame University sued in an attempt to block the film's release, so offended were they by the picture's raucous humor, racial stereotypes and ridiculous situations.
John Williams is not the only famous figure to be associated with the film—it was written by William Peter Blatty (The Exorcist). For Williams, it was par for the course of his early career, in which he labored for years on comedies, B-pictures, musicals and television pilots before establishing himself as the dean of American composers. Make no mistake: this score does not sound like Star Wars, Jaws, Superman, Jurassic Park or E.T. It does not even sound like 1941. If anything, it resembles Williams's pilot score to Gilligan's Island, written the same year, with bouncy melodies, '60s pop tracks, wild and wacky "Fawzian" effects, and a crazy title song (performed by Shirley MacLaine) which needs to be heard to be believed.
If you buy every single John Williams soundtrack—god bless you. This one will go between JFK and Jurassic Park on your shelf. If you are interested in Williams's early career, this makes for a fascinating listen, as the composer displays amazing versatility and skill, even when creating an Arab dance version of the Notre Dame Fight Song. (His military theme from Close Encounters has an ancestor in his theme for the U-2 plane in John Goldfarb.) And of course, if you love Shirley MacLaine belting out crazy '60s pop songs, your ship has come in!
Liner notes are by Williams expert Jeff Eldridge. As an added bonus, the stereo tracks have been preserved in excellent shape, and this is one of the best-sounding Fox recordings from the '60s we have released.