Composed and Conducted by MIKLOS ROZSA

Rozsa fans take delight! Rare 1947 soundtrack finally surfaces and is worth the wait! Desert Fury was one of Burt Lancaster’s first three pictures (all scored by Rozsa!) but remains the most obscure. Hal Wallis produces, Lewis Allen directs, Robert Rossen scripts, Burt Lancaster stars with Lizabeth Scott, John Hodiak, Mary Astor and then-newcomer Wendell Corey. Filmed outdoors on gorgeous Arizona locations in Technicolor but centering on “noir” complications of a small-town love triangle, Rozsa imbues his masterful score with both dark-edged overtones of drama and soaring ideas for locale. At center is Rozsa’s signature, angular thematic “noir” style but he affords several splendid, emotionally rich elements in beautiful balance.

For the 1947 film DESERT FURY, Paramount invested heavily in the music, budgeting nearly $44,000 for the composition and recording of the score. Miklós Rózsa, a recent Academy Award-winner already well established as the go-to composer for film noir, was brought on board.  In typical Rózsa fashion from the mid-to-late forties, he used relatively brief, malleable motifs unlike the sort of long-lined, closed-form melodies that would glorify his 1950s historical/epic scores for MGM. This gives the music remarkable fluidity, allowing him to constantly manipulate his material, with a principal theme characterized by crisp dotted rhythms and an agitated, yearning quality in the melodic line.

As with Intrada’s release of The Lost Weekend, selected cues from the original optical music tracks for Desert Fury were transferred to 35mm magnetic film long ago— but only recently discovered and digitized. Two cues were never preserved (the complete, original “Bridle Trail” and “Fritzie’s Designs”). Of what remains, most survived in fairly good condition, although a few cues were too damaged to be transferred to digital. As a result, approximately 10 minutes of what Rózsa recorded for the film is gone forever, but—in compensation—nearly eight minutes of previously unheard alternates comprise the “Extras” section of this disc.

At the center of the plot in Desert Fury is Paula Haller (Lizabeth Scott), a 19-yearold college dropout who has returned to her Nevada home town. Her mother, Fritzie (Mary Astor), runs the local gambling establishment. When gambler Eddie Bendix (John Hodiak) arrives in town, Paula is smitten. But Eddie and Fritzie are ex-lovers and Eddie is suspected of having killed his wife. Fritzie warns her daughter to stay away from him.  Deputy Sheriff Tom Hanson (Burt Lancaster) has unrequited love for Paula, and although Fritzie offers him money if he will propose to Paula, distracting her from Eddie, he refuses to play along…

As with the release of Rozsa’s The Lost Weekend, this CD was made possible courtesy Paramount Pictures release of 35mm transfers of the optical music tracks made many years ago but only recently discovered. Almost all of the score survived in excellent condition, save approximately ten minutes of material lost to the ages. In balance, however, some eight minutes of never-before-heard alternates did survive those seven decades! A total of 56 minutes of powerhouse Rozsa now available for the first time ever! Part of Paramount Picture’s ongoing Historical CDs preservation efforts. Artwork courtesy Universal Pictures. Informative liner notes from Frank K. DeWald, colorful graphic design by Joe Sikoryak. Eugene Zador orchestrates, Miklos Rozsa conducts.

INTRADA Special Collection Vol. 329

Date: 1947
Time: 56:03
Tracks: 17


01. Prelude (revised)/The First Meeting (3:02)
02. A Mother’s Advice (revised) (3:20)
03. A Strange Likeness (1:05)
04. Bronco Broken (2:39)
05. Bridle Trail (insert) (1:57)
06. Tom’s Proposal/Paula’s Flight/Paula Returns in Love (8:24)
07. Everybody’s Manners Stink (1:48)
08. A Domestic Paula? (3:15)
09. Fireside Chat (with inserts) (3:19)
10. Eddie’s Decision (0:58)
11. Paula’s Lock Up Montage (4:11)

12. Paradise Lost (1:49)
13. On to Vegas (0:40)
14. Johnny’s Story/The Chase/Blazing Wreck/Cast of Characters (11:05)
Total Score Time: 48:08

The Extras
15. Prelude (original version) (1:01)
16. A Mother’s Advice(original version) (3:20)
17. Fireside Chat (original version) (3:21)
Total Extras Time: 7:48