Composer Riz Ortolani has been associated with numerous European / Italian and also American made movies. His style of composition lends itself particularly well to the genre of the romantic variety, but he has also penned a number of films scores that are certainly hard hitting, movies such as THE VALACHI PAPERS, DAY OF ANGER, THE GLORY GUYS, DAYS OF FURY, THE 7TH DAWN, THE McKENZIE BREAK, BATTLE FOR ANZIO and THE HUNTING PARTY to name but a handful of examples that have benefited from his unique style of composition. The composer’s career began in 1954 with LA VACANZE DEL SOR CLEMENTE but it was not until 1962 that Ortolani was thrust into the limelight with his score and also the haunting and popular theme for MONDO CANE entitled ‘More’. Ortolani was one of the very few Italian or European composers from the silver age of film music who managed to work outside of his native Italy and become successful. He was called upon by numerous directors and filmmakers to enhance their films with his beguiling and attractive themes and although at times his scores were a little sparing in quantity, the composer made up for this in the quality department. IL CONSIGLIORI (1973) aka COUNSELOR AT CRIME was directed by Alberto de Martino (BLAZING MAGNUM) and starred Heavyweight American actor Martin Balsam, who played a ruthless San Francisco mob boss Don Maggadino, and popular Italian actor Tomas Milian who is Maggadino’s lawyer or Consigliori. The movie is a prime example of Italy’s Poliziotti genre and contains a couple of terrific car chases and some great visuals of San Francisco and Sicily. Ortolani fashioned a score that works on a number of levels and includes a particularly relaxing and haunting central theme (‘Tomas Theme’) which is in many ways similar to his main theme for THE VALACHI PAPERS; the composer utilising to great effect the string section of the orchestra to create a simple yet enduring and bittersweet sound that has now become associated with the Maestro. The theme can be heard throughout the score, but it surfaces in varying arrangements or as part of another cue creating a continuity to the work. The composer also employs a more laid back lounge or jazz influenced style within the work which for the most part is low key and basically could be used as a background to a dinner party but none the less these interludes are pleasant and also welcomed. Then there is the more dramatic and slightly atonal style that the composer adds to the mix as in track number two, ‘The Advisor’ which begins in an almost sinister style but then launches into an upbeat pop led piece. Again this is a composition that is repeated at various stages of the score.
One particular cue that I think stands out is track number eleven ‘Pupi Siciliani’, and although it is downbeat and even mournful to a degree, it also posses a lilting and near romantic attraction to it. This is an interesting release and one that I know will be welcomed by Euro Score collectors.