For a fellow named Mancini to score a film set in Italy (Sicily, to be more exact) is not an assignment, it is a labor of love. Visions of my early flute-playing days in the Sons of Italy Band of West Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, are still quite vivid in my memory. I suspect that more than a bit of those memories is present in my score to Blake Edwards' World Ward II comedy "What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?"
The festival scenes were great fun to score. Tarantella Mozzarella, Echoes of Sicily, Festal, Wine and Women, Sicily Forever formed the background for the nutty goings-on that were on the screen during the festa. In doing research on Sicilian folk music I came across a curious fact: the most prominent rhythm instrument was the Jew's-harp. This, together with the reed flute, gives Sicilian music a sound all its own.
Gina (dedicated to the Italian actress Giovanna Ralli, who played the part in the film) and A Tavern in Valerno show that even Sicilians have their quiet moments. Laurindo Almeida * is the guitar soloist on Gina. Carl Fortina is the accordion soloist on Valerno.
The characters of Benedetto and Frederico were the inspiration for The Tender Thieves. Dick Nash's baritone horn (another typically Italian sound) is featured here. Hearing him play with such heart, I sometimes suspect Dick's last name was once Nashionni. Dominick Fera's soulful clarinet is presented in Buon Giorno (Good Morning).
In the Arms of Love accompanies two of the major scenes in the film. In these, Captain Nash (Dick Shawn) finds himself in an extremely unusual and compromising situation. There are two versions of the song. With the instrumental version I give a deep bow to my friend and colleague, Bert Kaempfert. The choral version contains the lyrics of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.
The Girls Up-A-Stairs, a throwback to the "Mickey" bands of the '40s, provides backing for a scene in the local fun house.
The Main Title music, the Swing March features twelve bugles, eight piccolos, five drums, plus assorted brass. Visions of my piccolo-playing days in the 528th Air Force Band during World War II are still vivid in my memory. Come to think of it, considering my background, I feel that I was likely choice to write the score for "What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?"
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