Thursday, October 05, 2006

It is time to get geeky: James Clavell's Noble House.

It's pretty safe to say that Jen's never seen Tai-Pan, mainly because neither has most of the rest of the world; it was a big critical and commercial flop in 1986. Which may explain why James (Shogun) Clavell's modern-day followup, Noble House, was filmed two years later as a miniseries with Pierce Brosnan (after Remington Steele but before James Bond) and Deborah Raffin (who had prior experience with non-world-shaking miniseries after replacing Bess Armstrong in Lace 2 - she was the one who was the bitch who was Phoebe Cates's mother).
Maurice Jarre, who did Shogun and Tai-Pan, may well have been courted by DeLaurentiis Entertainment Group to score the miniseries, but Paul Chihara ended up doing it; I got burned from his exceedingly boring King of the Olympics, but this time the qualities that drove me to tape off the main title when CBC showed it (about the only thing I remember from the series itself) are throughout the record. Said opening music combines a majestic fanfare for the titular Oriental business establishment and the series' lush love theme, both of which wear rather better over the course of the album than the more threatening cues - the latter, apart from the unintentional comedy value of such low-rent music being credited to the London Symphony Orchestra (which performed the score under the baton of the composer), sound like they belong in a bad '80s crime show. To be fair, when this approach is mixed with the main theme ("Dunross") it does manage to avoid sucking, so what do I know?
Presentation of the album on CD (by Colosseum, under license from Varese Sarabande) could've been better - a few of the cues are misnumbered (i.e. there are two number 5s, two number 6s etc on the packaging) and there's almost no information about the music or the miniseries apart from the basics, but it's no frisbee. And in these days of minimal TV scoring (for the most part, that is), this kind of blast from the past is welcome. The Thorn Birds it's not, but it doesn't have to be.

1. Main Title (2:07)
2. Stormy Night (2:39)
3. Taipan In Love (4:12)
4. John Chen's Plot (2:03)
5. Love Boat To Macao (3:12)
6. 4 Finger Wu (2:06)
7. Dunross (1:38)
8. The Curse (2:49)
9. The Day After (4:10)
10. Opium Drop (2:17)
11. Linc's Death (1:59)
12. Coin Joined (2:35)
13. Finale (4:25)


The Archivist said...

So, were these misnumbers in order, or was it just randomisation?

Cindylover1969 said...

In order.