The Red Pony Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score The Red Pony by Aaron Copland.
At a glance:
Geek Score: 89
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 15.6
Album Excellence: 52.1%
The Red Pony us a 1949 American western drama film directed by Lewis Milestone and starring Myrna Loy, Robert Mitchum & Louis Calhern. It is based on the 1939 novella of the same name by John Steinbeck. In the Salinas Valley of California, young Tom Tiflin (Peter Miles) lives on his family’s ranch with his parents, Fred (Shepperd Strudwick) and Alice (Myrna Loy), who are constantly at odds, and with his rambling grandfather (Louis Calhern). Capturing Tom’s admiration, however, is the hired ranch hand, Billy Buck (Robert Mitchum), a venerable horse expert. When his father gives him a pony as a gift, Tom learns the importance of responsibility, but also has to face the pain of loss. The score is composed by Aaron Copland.
It seems like a classic coming of age story, one that I must see, if only to get a glimpse of a very young Robert Mitchum. This score has been released on vinyl by Varese Sarabande in 1986 and also as a suite on an American Classics cd from Naxos in 2006. But here for the first time on CD released by Intrada Records is the score, as good as it gets. It is paired with The Heiress, another lovely 1949 gem by Copland. The score opens with it’s ‘Main Title’, a bold and fun ride into the prairie, a bit comical, quite dramatic and most of all quite excellent. The theme from The Heiress is maybe a little bit better, but this is surely almost as good.
The themes here are great as you would expect and it sounds remarkably good from being from 1949. It seems like a million miles better than The Heiress in that respect and the people responsible for cleaning this up must be quite the genius in his or her field. As for the music itself, it’s as lovely as you would expect mixing uplifting drama, comedy and the occasional march. It has the double cue syndrome, meaning that there usually are a couple of cues mixed together in one cue. I usually have no problem with that, but for those that do, you have to get over it because you will miss out on a timeless gem if not. As if The Heiress wasn’t enough to wet your appetite, you get The Red Pony as well for the price of one. It’s a no brainer, one of the easiest purchase decisions you’ll make this year. Go get it.
1. Main Title
2. Tom’s Theme / The Ringmaster
3. The Clipping / Walk To The Bunkhouse
5. The Gift / The Red Pony Debuts
11. Tom’s Theme / I Want Rosie’s Colt / End Title