One day, out of curiosity, producer Sam Spiegel happened to acquisition the novel “Le Pont de la Rivière Kwaï” by Pierre Boulle, which was, at the time, the speak of the day. He check out the novel top top a plane flight and also by the time he arrived in London, that was established to carry the story come the big screen. Complications arose immediately together his reliable screenwriters, Michael Wilson and Carl Foreman, to be on the infamous McCarthy blacklist of people accused that Communist sympathies, and also were required to ghost-write, if Boulle, who can not speak, let alone create in English, was assigned the single writing credit. Spiegel brought in David lean to direct the film and they assembled a stellar cast for the project, including Alec Guinness as Colonel Nicholson, Jack Hawkins as significant Warden, william Holden together Captain Shears and also Sessue Hayakawa together the brutal Colonel Saito.

You are watching: The bridge on the river kwai overture

The story is attracted from real occasions in WWII whereby British detainees of war were notified to develop a bridge to connect a rail heat connecting Burma and also Siam. Nicholson, ~ above principle and also citing the Geneva Convention, refuses Saito’s order because that his policemans to join in hand-operated labor. Saito tortures him, however he refuses to succumb. Faced with a deadline, Saito acquiesces and also releases Nicholson, who agrees come organize his guys for the effort. Nicholson believes the this venture will offer enduring testimony come the strength, dignity and also indomitable heart of brothers soldiers under harsh circumstances. Return Nicholson is one honorable man, he i do not care obsessed and we slowly start to view the bridge transition from a testament to the ship of brother soldiers to a monument the edifies his ego. A Special forces team is sent to damage the bridge on the day of that inauguration throughout a Japanese supply train’s transit. Charges space set, which Nicholson discovers and, remarkably, he alerts Saito come the danger. As they check the leg a firefight ensues, death Saito and also some that the unique Forces. A covering shocked Nicholson experience an epiphany when viewing the dead brother soldiers and also utters “what have actually I done?”, realizing that he has actually been collaborating with the enemy. The film ends poetically as we watch Nicholson collapse indigenous his wounds on come the gunpowder plunger, thus ruining the leg as the train passes. The film was an huge commercial and vital success, earning eight Academy award nominations, and also winning seven, amongst them, best Picture, finest Director, best Actor and Best movie Score. Together fate would have it, Boulle likewise ended up winning the Oscar for his ‘screenplay’, i m sorry precipitated good controversy. In 1984 all was do right as soon as the Academy retrospectively forgive the Oscar to Wilson and also Foreman.

Spiegel had actually wanted to release his movie by December 31, 1957, the deadline because that it to it is in eligible because that Academy compensation consideration, but by early on December 1957, he had actually still not hired a composer come score the film! he sought the end British composer teacher Malcolm Arnold, who was in ~ that suggest best known for his scores for The Sound barrier (1952), The Belles the St Trinian’s (1954), Hobson’s an option (1954), and Trapeze (1956), as well as his numerous ballets, symphonies and also works because that the british theatre. Arnold was tasked v writing the score in a only ten days, and he climbed to the occasion. Originally, Lean wanted the brother troops to be presented singing the “Colonel Bogey March”, a well-known tune composed in 1914 through Frederick Ricketts, a British army bandmaster who later ended up being the director of music because that the royal Marines, and used the pseudonym Kenneth J. Alford. However, throughout WWII, brother troops had adjusted its melody to companion bawdy new lyrics – “Hitler has actually Only got One Ball!” – and also Spiegel to be appalled, refusing to enable this “vulgarity” into his film. However, Lean and also Arnold were still maybe to do their patriotic suggest as they adjusted the march, having the men whistle its melody.

The Colonel Bogey March and also Arnold’s river Kwai March serve as the main thematic identities of the score. The 2 marches are kindred in construct in the The flow Kwai March’s countermelody uses the same chord progressions as The Colonel Bogey March. The British military Theme is rendered in 2 forms; the an initial is a classic forthright march carried by strings nobile and horns, in the finest traditions of the brothers military, however the second variant is a truly twisted rendering by dissonant and eerie tremolo strings, which speak to united state of its corruption through Colonel Nicholson’s loss of perspective and egotistical obsession through the bridge. Lastly, because that Colonel Saito, Arnold offers a basic motif, a dark and descending low it is registered line, which educates us that his menace.

The opened “Overture” is a an effective cue and a score highlight. It is a harsh, brutal and also militaristic piece, which opens powerfully through horns bellicoso, informing us of the drama quickly to unfold. It begins as the opened credits roll and also we see the prisoners getting here by train. Together the beleaguered men march through the sweltering tropical to the camp, Arnold juxtaposes pastoral strings and also harp that speak that the jungle’s beauty with martial trumpet call alluding to the misfortunes that war. Gradually the music evolves into a marcia brutale together they march to their fate. A short respite through the festive river Kwai in march lightens the moment, and ushers in spirited strings and woodwinds, i m sorry ends v a vista shooting of the camp. “Colonel Bogey March” offers one more score highlight. The plays as the males march into camp, and speaks to the indomitable heart of the brothers military. The design template is gift in its totality with the A expression emoted together a standard march, when its B expression is how amazing lyrical, providing a stylish embellishment. Together the males arrive and assume formation, Arnold bring in the full orchestra for a grand end up atop recurring statements that the A Phrase.

“Shear’s Escape” is a complicated multi-scenic cue. The reveals Shears escape indigenous the camp, his travails and also ultimate success in achieving freedom. Arnold weaves the thematic material of the overture right into Shear’s trek, i beg your pardon unfolds energetically to support his flight. We shift scenes come the Japanese guards returning to the camp v the three guys that were killed, which unfolds as a grim march. Swirling strings v trumpet counters take it us earlier to the jungle whereby Shears is seen struggling to crawl ashore indigenous a raging river. Together he struggles against the jungle’s oppressive heat a marcia brutale takes form and crescendos together he get the sanctuary of a village. Us conclude with villagers see him off in a watercraft to celebratory strings, yet the music again becomes dissonant and also oppressive together he battles in the opening heat. Us conclude his trip to liberty with dissonant horn fare, which notify us of him reaching the ocean, and also freedom. “Nicholson’s Victory” is a complicated dichotomous cue. It opens on warmth strings, which water level in a explanation of the an initial variant that the British armed forces Theme. This is short-lived together it mutates into the second much more twisted different on eerie tremolo strings as we witness Colonel Saito’s capitulation v the release of Colonel Nicholson and also his officers. This twisted and dissonant rendering of the British army Theme plagues Saito and also reflects his within torment as he has actually lost face and is viewed crying in solitude in his cabin. In ~ 2:30 together the males realize Nicholson has actually triumphed, the music i do not care celebratory and also Arnold support the moment with a festive calculation of The flow Kwai March.

“Sunset” is a score highlight, a delight, and what I believe to be, it’s many beautiful cue. We view a contented Nicholson walking atop the completed bridge v a sense of pride and also accomplishment. Once Saito joins him, Nicholson lets his safety down and shares a an individual moment together he recounts his life. Saito but maintains the veneer the his stoical Japanese bearing and does not respond in kind. Arnold perfectly captures the minute by stripping the end the martial nature of the flow Kwai March, instead providing a warm, lyrical and also extended rendering v gentile strings, harp and also pastoral woodwinds. Merely beautiful! “Working on the Bridge” is a similarly complicated cue, which features interplay in between Arnold’s themes. The step reveals a currently energized, determined and organized brothers led labor force working top top the bridge. A sparkling calculation of the river Kwai March supports the activity. An ominous interlude through Colonel Saito’s motif plays as a stoic Saito look at on. The 2nd variant the the British military Theme then joins in interplay through the flow Kwai March as Nicholson summarily rejects the doctor’s tip that their leg building activities could be understood as collaboration, or worse, treason. Arnold perfectly attenuates his music come the psychology of this scene.

“Trek to the Bridge” attributes the commando team’s arduous trek through the unforgiving jungle. We open up with a forthright expression of the British army Theme, however its luster fades and dissonance rises as they progress, for this reason reflecting their travails. Arnold uses nativist-sounding piccolos to recommendation the neighborhood Thai women bearers accompanying the team. The British army Theme dead the men ever onward, however it battles in that is expression, mirroring the team struggle. In “Camp Concert Dance” we view a drag display as the males entertain and also celebrate. Arnold offers campy source music in the heart of Vaudeville together the guys celebrate the perfect of the bridge. “Finale” features the results of Nicholson’s death and also the bridge’s destruction. It opens up with ominous horns, which usher in a festive rendering of the flow Kwai March, which celebrates the brother victory. After ~ an interlude that horns nobile the flow Kwai in march reprises together the finish credits roll.

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“River Kwai March” is a glorious cue, which supplies a full and also extended rendering of the British march in all its pomp and martial glory. “I offer My love To No One however You” is a source song written by Carl Millocker and also Richard Leigh. The singer is uncredited. “Dance Music” plays as background source music because that the scene where we watch Shears relaxing through his girl top top a beach in Ceylon. Lastly we have the Mitch fearbut medley the “The flow Kwai March/Colonel Bogey March”, which is a exorbitant score highlight! It attributes the 2 marches presented with orchestral accompaniment and chorus in marvelous contrapuntal interplay! the does not acquire any much better than this. Bravo!

While the sound high quality on the Legacy/Columbia records CD does not match current 21st century qualitative standards, the digital modifying does control to existing a lower listening experience. This is a standard score well worthy of your exploration. It uses three splendid marches in the best of armed forces traditions, which perfectly record the heart of this film. How Arnold attenuates his music to flesh out the basic psychology that the film’s narrative is point out on and testimony to his mastery that his craft. I believe this score to be a classic, a fine example of the gold Age, and one important for her collection

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Track Listing:

Overture (4:24)Colonel Bogey march (2:52)Shear’s to escape (3:58)Nicholson’s win (4:45)Sunset (3:54)Working top top the leg (2:58)Trek come the bridge (8:28)Camp Concert dance (2:36)Finale (2:12)River Kwai march (2:58)I provide My love To No One however You (written by Carl Millocker and also Richard Leigh) (3:16)Dance Music (written through Dave Shand) (4:54)River Kwai March/Colonel Bogey march (performed by Mitch miller & His Orchestra) (2:28)

Running Time: 49 minute 50 seconds

Legacy/Columbia CK-66131 (1946/1995)

Music composed and conducted by Malcolm Arnold. Performed by The royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Orchestrations through Malcolm Arnold and also Charles Camilleri. “Colonel Bogey March” by Kenneth J. Alford. Score developed by Malcolm Arnold. Album produced by Tom Null and Richard Kraft.