SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL (1959)
L'EPOPEE DANS L'OMBRE
Real. Michael Anderson
Mus. William Alwyn
Dir. Mus. Muir Mathieson
Orch. The Sinfonia Of London
LP United Artists UASF 5043 - Stereo (FRA)
1. Dublin 1921 (3:08)
2. People of Erin (2:14)
3. Kerry O’Shea (2:04)
4. The Black and Tans (2:25)
5. Men of The Republic (2:21)
6. Lighthouse at Wicklow Head (2:24).
1. Professor Sean Lenihan (2:37)
2. Pretty Kitty Brandy (1:53)
3. Trouble (1:49)
4. Rescue at Garda Depot (1:32)
5. Death at Ashtown Docks (5:11)
6. Rebel to The End (2:21)
Notes Back Cover
Why does a man rebel? The essence of man's difference from other forms of life is his ability to reason. From this ability stem many of the problems in our lives because the reasoning of one man will differ from that of another man. And if one man in a position to enforce the conclusions of his reasoning, a strong man of different beliefs will rebel.
The film "Shake Hands with the Devil" is essentially the story of one man's rebellion, although it encompasses the rebellion of a people. It is the story of the last days of the Irish Rebellion, culminating a seven hundred year struggle for independence from England. It is, therefore, a story of people tired of a seemingly never ending struggle with peace in sight, and of other people in whom the bitterness of the struggle has implanted an unbending hatred which even victory cannot placate.
A man rebels and becomes enmeshed in the essence of rebellion to the point of forgetting the cause for which he rebels. When the cause is removed he cannot stop rebelling. It is one of the great tragedies of war, of rebellion, and sometimes of a mere difference of opinion.
James Cagney enacts this role in the film as Sean Lenihan, an Irish Republican Army leader who, with victory in the form of a peace treaty in sight, cannot give up the power which he has wielded for so long in the underground or the excitement of the struggle. He is supported by a cast of the finest actors in England and the United States: Don Murray, Dana Wynter, Glynis Johns, Michael Redgrave, Sybil Thorndike and Cyril Cusack.
This album is the music from that movie. Necessarily, it is exciting, but it also has something more than excitement. It has pathos.
In the last few years, the music for films has been given increasing attention as an important, integral part of the entire production. Important composers are engaged to write for screenplays and important conductors are engaged to conduct fine orchestra. The renowned William Alwyn composed the music for "Shake Hands with the Devil", and Muir Mathieson, perhaps the most distinguished conductor-composer in the film industry, conducted the Sinfonia of London.
With such increasing emphasis on the quality of film music, of course, has come recognition of its worth apart from the film - as ballet music is recognized apart from the ballet it is essential that music which is combined with another art strikes a delicate balance. It must not intrude, and yet it must enhance. When it is great, it can strike this balance and still stand alone.
The music of "Shake with the Devil" stands alone and yet reflects the great struggle depicted in the film of one man's rebellion projected against the larger struggle of one nation's rebellion.