Frad Claus (2007)
Director: David Dobkin
Score soundtrack released 2008.1
"Ho ho... holy cow..."
Resentful sibling of Santa is forced into a reunion, makes trouble, learns the meaning of Christmas, bakes a cake, meets a groundhog... are you still here?
[Film not viewed by Bluntinstrument, so review based on music, plot synopsis and trailer, placed under "The CD"]
Chris Beck's 7 minute (and 41 seconds, count 'em) suite gives us a quick and peasurable tour of the film's main themes, running through the friendly (acoustic guitar and marimba(?) with strings), the festive (full orchestral extravaganza, led by booming brass), the wiked (bassoon then flute, with brittle strings), the suspenseful (tremolo cellos, hugging violas, eerie high violins and mysterious oboe solo) gently reflective (marimba theme over harp, answered by piano and chorale strings), the friendly optomistic (over a larger acoustic guitar-led orchestral accompaniment), the cheeky (a theme begun on trumpet and passed to full orchestra). It is suites like this that make the classical musician in me let out a cheer: as an orchestral suite this is a beautiful summary of the film's themes in a satisfying package which bursts with themes in an enjoyable orchestral ride with none of the loose ends, rough edges and cue-dictated abrupt stops of the raw film score. Naturally there will have been moments from the score that have been sadly missed from here but the luxury of a 40 minute soundtrack release is always at the cost of quality and invention. Film scores are written in obeyance to the film (containing necessary repetition, odd phrasing and unnatural shifts) and run to tight schedules. In Bluntinstrument's view it is a rare alchemy of a score that warrants repeated playing away from the film in anything close to its entirety, and the choice of a suite feels right, if just a little rushed and too packed with ideas, for this case and is definitely worth listening to again. With online services selling discs by the track, this would make a rewarding purchase, but to buy the whole disc, you will need to be prepared to endure the "Christmas pop/easy listening classics" compilation that preceeds the suite.
01. Jingle bells (Johnny Mercer)
02. Santa Claus is back in town (Elvis Prelsey)
03. Sleigh ride
04. Here comes Santa Claus (Right down Santa Claus Lane) (Doris Day)
05. I want you for Christmas (Russ Morgan & His Orchestra)
06. Santa Claus is coming to town (Jackson 5)
07. Christmas wrapping (The Waitresses)
08. Silent night (Sinead O'Connor)
09. Auld lang syne (Guy Lombardo)
10. Somewhere over the rainbow / What a wonderful world
11. First noel
12. God rest ye merry gentlemen
13. Suite from Fred Claus [clip] performed by The Chamber Orchestra of London
Degrees of Beck:
Paul (Nick "Santa" Claus) Giamatti starred in both Big Fat Liar and Confidence, both scored by Christophe Beck.
Full music credits
[not noted from film as yet. IMDb entries below]
Alastair King (conductor)
John Ashton Thomas (orchestrator)
Erica Weis (music editor)
Music credits on CD
[not yet noted]