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Monsignor
(1982)
Album Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Orchestrated by:
Herbert Spencer

Performed by:
The London Symphony Orchestra
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LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Intrada Records
(October 16th, 2007)
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ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Limited release only, with 3,000 pressed copies valued at about $20 each.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you desire every last, fleeting piece of John Williams majesty from the most memorable time in his career, a score of individual melodramatic highlights without a cohesive personality.

Avoid it... if you would be surprised to hear Williams collect a score's components in haste and apply three completely unrelated themes to a terrible film that could have used a dose of the composer's knack for capturing the true spirit of a tale.
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EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #1,611
WRITTEN 8/12/09
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Williams
Williams
Monsignor: (John Williams) A project destined for failure, Monsignor was a 1982 adaptation of a 1975 French novel about a corrupt priest at the Vatican whose dealings in love and organized crime force the religious hierarchy to intervene. While such an outrageous view of the Vatican, shot almost entirely in Rome, seemed like an idea ripe for box office-spurring controversy, Monsignor suffered so many ills in its production that it was generally mocked and has since been long forgotten. The most prominent detriment to the film was the insertion of actor Christopher Reeve into the role of the priest, his attempt to shake the Superman label never successful throughout the 1980's and early 1990's. Reducing itself to the level of an average crime story completely incapable of competing with similar themes as the Godfather franchise, Monsignor could not muster enough genuine dramatic gravity to make audiences care about a priest who already had some significantly alienating personality flaws to begin with. The project also revealed itself to be one of difficulty for composer John Williams, who was otherwise in the midst of the most successful period in his career. His commitments to the Boston Pops and the challenging duo of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Return of the Jedi afforded him only six weeks in the summer of 1982 to write and record his score for Monsignor. Perhaps sensing the disaster that awaited the film's final cut (which impressed Twentieth Century Fox so little that the studio moved it from its prime December release slot to an October dumping to clear it out of the system), Williams scratched together a score that seems improvised by his standards. A very short effort considering the extensive length of his surrounding assignments, Monsignor would drop a significant portion of Williams' music in conclusive post-production editing, reducing its placement in the film to less than thirty minutes and marginalizing its already suspect identity. This final usage of music should have come as no surprise, for Williams' score is little more than three hasty themes pasted together in an incongruent whole that has its strong parts individually but understandably suffers as a whole. The instrumentation is familiar to the early 1980's period of hits for Williams, utilizing the services of the London Symphony Orchestra with accent performances by harpsichord and trumpet. Also representative is the style; every moment of Monsignor, despite structural congruency problems, is distinctly saturated with the composer's general sound. That should place it well above 1981's awkward Heartbeeps for many Williams collectors.

Ratings Icon
VIEWER RATINGS
143 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 2.98 Stars
***** 25 5 Stars
**** 29 4 Stars
*** 35 3 Stars
** 27 2 Stars
* 27 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 37:58
• 1. Theme from Monsignor (3:24)
• 2. Reunion in Italy (1:32)
• 3. Forgotten Vows (4:10)
• 4. The Meeting in Sicily (3:52)
• 5. Audience with the Holy Father (3:40)
• 6. Gloria (5:10)
• 7. Monsignor (2:10)
• 8. Appolini's Decision (3:12)
• 9. Santoni's Compassion (4:57)
• 10. At the Forum (5:15)

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NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert includes extensive information about the score and film.
Copyright © 2009-2015, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Monsignor are Copyright © 2007, Intrada Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 8/12/09 (and not updated significantly since).
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