Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Soundtrack #1: Passion Flower Hotel (Francis Lai)
French composer Francis Lai has been one of the most interesting and prolific film composers of the last forty years. The Oscar winning Lai is often remembered the most for his remarkable scores for French director Claude Lelouch, especially his haunting A MAN AND A WOMAN theme. He also composed the very memorable score for Arthur Hiller's LOVE STORY, which fueled one of the biggest selling soundtracks of the seventies.
In the early part of the seventies, Lai began to experiment more and more with synthesizers and electronics in his scores. The masterpiece of this period is his score for EMMANUELLE PART TWO. The PASSION FLOWER HOTEL soundtrack was recorded just three years after that mind blowing work, and while it is not among Lai's most memorable scores it is a fine addition to his catalogue.
The soundtrack was originally released in Germany in 1978 and then Italy in 1979 and finally Japan in 1982. It doesn't appear to have ever had a release in the States or Britain, nor has it apparently appeared on CD except as part of the rare 14 box Lai collection that he released in 2004.
Running just under 45 minutes and featuring 18 tracks, Lai's work on PASSION FLOWER HOTEL ranges from slightly silly late seventies frothy pop to more of the orchestrated, with electronic flourishes, pieces that he had perfect with EMMANUELLE 2. Highlight's include the two versions of DEBBY'S SONG and the fine SCENE D'AMOUR.
The album is a bit repetitive at times and it will never be considered one of Lai's definitive works but it is well searching out. Collectors might also want to seek out the single taken from the album, MY BABY BLUE, which was released in certain European and Eastern markets in 1978.
Francis Lai's PASSION FLOWER HOTEL soundtrack, issued under the German title Leidenschaftliche Blümchen, is not a easy album to track down. Out of print for years, copies do occasionally pop up on eBay but usually fetch pretty steep prices. Fans of Nastassja and Lai shouldn't be without it though and it is well worth any reasonable price you can get it for.