Enrico Nicola "Henry" Mancini was an American composer, conductor and arranger, who is best remembered for his film and television scores. He won a record number of Grammy Awards, plus a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.
His best-known works include the jazz-idiom theme to The Pink Panther film series ("The Pink Panther Theme") and the theme to the Peter Gunn television series. Mancini had a long collaboration with the film director Blake Edwards and won numerous Academy Awards for the songs in Edwards films, including "Moon River" from Breakfast at Tiffany's, "Days of Wine and Roses" and for the score to Victor Victoria.
Director Alfred Hitchcock hired Mancini to score his film Frenzy (1972). According to Mancini's autobiography, he met with the director do discuss ideas for the score during the autumn of 1971 and it is likely Hitchcock specified which scenes required music. Mancini was sent a copy of the final screenplay at the start of November and had completed the score by early December — for which he was paid a flat fee of $25,000.
Speaking to Catherine Stott of The Guardian, just after the recording sessions, Mancini talked about the score:
You want to know how I go about scaring people? Really it is a matter of colours. Of using the orchestra in various combinations to create tension. "Frenzy" is very low-key picture about a neck-tie murderer, and what I have done is to just cut off the orchestra round middle C. There is no high — there are no violins nor high flutes — it is all from there down with ten cellos, ten violas, basses, horns, bassoon, and bass flutes ... none of the screeching, high, intense sounds that would be though a little melodramatic today. It is very sparse... there's not a lot going on, but what there is will, I trust, sound pretty spooky.
Hitchcock attended the end of the London recording sessions in mid-December (12th-15th) but then subsequently rejected the composer's score after hearing it mixed with the film. Hitchcock then hired British composer Ron Goodwin to create a new score. In his autobiography, Mancini wrote:
It was not so much a matter of his being there as that [Hitchcock] didn't say much when we were doing [the recordings]. He sat through every piece and nodded approval, and finally, when he was alone in the dubbing room, he decided that it didn't work. His reason for thinking so, I was told, was that the score was macabre, which puzzled me because it was a film with many macabre things it in. It wasn't an easy decision to accept, and it was crushing when it happened...
Unlike Hitchcock's acrimonious split with Bernard Herrmann over the rejected score for Torn Curtain, it seems Mancini was not left too bitter by the experience and fondly recalled in his autobiography how Hitchcock had sent him a case of Château Haut-Brion magnums.
The claim that Hitchcock rejected the score during the recording sessions by telling Mancini, "Look, if I want Herrmann, I'd ask for Herrmann!" is apocryphal and was made by Herrmann in a 1975 interview with Royal S. Brown.
Mancini's "Main Title" to Frenzy was included on the album "Mancini in Surround: Mostly Monsters, Murders & Mystery" (RCA, 1990).
Henry Mancini's "Main Title" for Frenzy:
Notes & References
- No documents detailing the meeting have survived in the Hitchcock archives held by the Margaret Herrick Library.
- Hitchcock Annual (2011) - "Murder Can Be Fun": The Lost Music of Frenzy - Gergely Hubai
- Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy: The Last Masterpiece (2012) by Raymond Foery, page 106
- The Guardian (29/Dec/1971) - Henry Mancini
- Henry Mancini - "Did They Mention the Music?", pages 155-6
- Wikpedia: Château Haut-Brion
- An Interview with Bernard Herrmann (August 1975)