The Wicked Lady
I was well into the writing and recording of my second solo album, The Fugitive, when I was approached to write the music for the film The Wicked Lady. Initially I thought of turning it down, as I felt I would not be able to give the project enough time. However I came round to thinking I couldn’t really not do it, as writing music for films was something I had always wanted to do. I saw the film as it was at that stage and despite the rather negative way it was received when it came out, I quite enjoyed it and it did have a great cast. I had an instrumental piece written for possible inclusion on The Fugitive, that I had decided not to use, having gone for a couple of quirkier pieces instead and I thought that this had a theme that would work well for the film. I sent a demo of it to Michael Winner who was the film’s director and his response was very enthusiastic. He wanted an orchestral score, which was quite exciting but a new experience for me, consequently he brought the arranger Christopher Palmer on board to assist me. As Michael wanted a lot of music in the film I thought it would be easiest to get together a few themes, prepare demos and then draw from them to create the score. Tracks 9 to 15 on this album are those demos, including the main theme. The way I worked with Christopher was to send him piano sketches of each of the cues, which he would then arrange. As time was sometimes a little short, some of the cues he did on his own, mainly drawing from my themes but occasionally using one of his own. One of his themes did make it all the way through, that is the second more swashbuckling theme on Jerry Jackson, it works OK but I am keener on my brass fifths. Tracks 1 to 8 are rerecorded composite versions of all the cues relating to the various characters etc. It means some are perhaps a little bitty, and I would have liked to have done orchestral versions of each of the themes more fully but it was felt the extra time and money could not really be justified. The only time we really had a bit of space in the film to do the main theme justice was during a somewhat gratuitous soft-porn sequence in the middle of the film which was unfortunately heavily cut for the cinema release. I have used this as the opening track for this album. Finally there is track 16, a version of the main theme recorded with synths and relentless drum machine, some nice sounds but rather dated. During the time it has taken to put this album together, Michael Winner has died. We always got on well; he was obviously a man who liked to offend but could also be surprisingly kind. I am grateful he gave me the opportunity to do the music for The Wicked Lady, I just wish as a film it had fared a little better!
© 2013 Anthony Banks Ltd