This genuine sequel (as opposed to the multitude of ersatz sequels) to Django (1966) was scored by brothers Gianfranco and Gian Piero Reverberi, and has been beautifully mastered from near pristine elements by DigitMovies. The first eleven cuts are in true stereo, whereas the remaining sixteen are alternates, film versions, and outtakes slightly tweaked into a gentle pseudo-stereo using spatial enhancements and signal delay; the effects lessens the transition from stereo to mono, and it doesn't give the tweaked mono cues an unwanted drainpipe quality.
Like Soldato Di Ventura, Il / Soldier of Fortune (1975), Preparati la bara! is a mono-thematic score, and that means unless you're a devoted fan, the album is one heavy repetition of the same tune, with the only exception being a honky-tonk piano source, “Nel Saloon,” breaking up the monotony. The theme variations are very slight, even when transposed to solo electric guitar and reticent strings (“David e Django”); a version with subdued voices, strumming guitar, and solo trumpet (“Il carico d'oro”); or solo acoustic guitar (as in the very lovely and tender “Nella Sierra”).
The musicians, as always, are first-rate, as are the orchestrations, but one senses either the composers' experience lay primarily in song composition instead of dramatic underscore, or the film's producers wanted a hit single and demanded the score be nothing but the main theme beaten over the heads of audiences, much in the way Hollywood employed the same subtle tactics in productions like Town Without Pity (1961), and The Best of Everything (1959).
That theme for Preparati, however, is very amusing, because it bears a passing resemblance to Luis Bacalov's lush orchestra and guitar score for The Grand Duel (1972). The Reverberi brothers, though, apply a hard rock beat and signaling trumpet solo for their big crescendo, and although the electric guitar has a genuine rockabilly coolness, the lyrics for “You'd Better Smile” are very goofy, and one can't help characterizing the tune as a cross between Luis Bacalov, and “Smile, Darn Ya, Smile” from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
© 2008 Mark R. Hasan