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Porgy and Bess 1959 in Stereo!
Posted by marknyc 2012-11-18 01:35:51

Just uploaded 15 songs from the 1959 film, for which I replaced the audio with tracks from the soundtrack CD. Also restored the title sequence!

Mark M.

Porgy and Bess 1959 in Stereo!
Posted by frontrowcentre2 2012-11-18 15:22:08

Thank you for sharing this.

I have always suspected that the Columbia records "soundtrack" album was not taken from the actual film soundtrack, since the performances did not seem to match those in the actual film. I thought that the album was complete studio redo. Sammy Davis Jr.'s contract with Decca prevented his participation in the album. How did you find it comparing the actual film track to the recording?

Porgy and Bess 1959 in Stereo!
Posted by PalJoey 2012-11-18 15:38:46

Thank you!

Porgy and Bess 1959 in Stereo!
Posted by justoldbill 2012-11-18 18:36:00

The music on the soundtrack recording is indeed the music heard on the soundtrack of the film. Soundtrack albums are done front to back, as it were. The music is pre-recorded before filming and mixed to the filmed elements after major photography has been completed. Then they remix and refrequence the music for a commercial album release. Soundtrack music always had to be refrequenced and "brought down" for "wax" before the digital age.

The orchestral, choral and most of the vocal tracks heard in the film are the same as those heard on the Columbia album, the exceptions being, of course, the Cab Calloway vocals mixed into the soundtrack orchestral tracks, and an alternate vocal track for "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin", which Poitier found too smooth initially and asked Robert McFerrin to re-record for the actual filmed sequence. The middle section of the same number was re-recorded for the finished film, as well. The reason the video part of this middle sequence is missing is because these videos are taken from an edited TV print of the film.

And the reconstructed main title sequence (with music taken from the Overture instead of the Main Title music) is nice, but missing two of the film's credited orchestrators.

Porgy and Bess 1959 in Stereo!
Posted by frontrowcentre2 2012-11-19 14:26:50

Thanks Bill or the informative post. I knew that often record producers would opt for different (sometimes longer) takes which explains why sometime the performances do not match exactly.

I remember seeing the film on TV several times in the early 1970s, but all the TV prints I saw were edited ("My Man's Gone Now" was never included) and then after about 1974 the film vanished from Tv - later I read that the Gershwin estate refused to extend the music rights.

Porgy and Bess 1959 in Stereo!
Posted by justoldbill 2012-11-20 00:02:49

Yes, all the current bootleg copies of the film, both wide-screen and full-frame, reflect the 1967 ABC-TV edit. (They seemed to have had no trouble showing the complete GUYS AND DOLLS that year!)

The cuts include snippets of "Gone, Gone, Gone", the spoken part of Porgy's prayer over Robbins, the entire last half of the wake scene, including "My Man's Gone Now" and "The Train Is At The Station", the afore-mentioned middle section of "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'" (you can see and hear the washer-women humming along in the background during the second part of the number), Maria's approximation of "Struttin' Style", the entire Lawyer Frazier divorce scene, and the buzzard landing ominously over Porgy's doorway as everyone leaves for the picnic. Once we get to Kittiwah, the rest of the film is pretty complete. When I finally saw Ken Kramer's general release CinemaScope/stereo print a few years ago, I was in heaven!