12" 33rpm acetate record made at IBC Sound Recording Studios
in London, England for Commonwealth United:
THE NUTCRACKER (1st Draft Demos)
1. I'll Take You On A Journey
2. The Dream
4. Tell Me Who I Am
5. The Morning
7. In Love
This intriguing in-house record appears to be the first demo for a song cycle created by the famous composer and songwriter Leslie Bricusse, featuring lyrics set to music from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, and intended to be used for a movie musical extravaganza titled The Great Music Chase.
I do not know who the male and female vocalists who sing the songs on this demo are.
The following five press clip articles will provide the chronological details of how this ill-fated project started out as a can't-miss attempt to ride the excitement generated in Hollywood by Russian-themed blockbuster films in the late 1960s, eventually involved stars such as Gene Kelly, Liza Minelli and Ben Vareen, but ultimately became an abandoned project over 6 years later.
A bit of musical unobtainium...and by a major composer/lyricist of the era.
PRESS CLIP #1
Looking At Hollywood by Florabel Muir
Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph
April 29, 1969
HOLLYWOOD - The Russians capitalized on their Oscar-winning presence (for "War and Peace") in Hollywood by calling a press conference to announce a joint venture with Commonwealth United to make a motion picture version of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite."
Russia's famed actress and dancer, Ludmilla Savelyeva, was at the conference with the gold statuette she had accepted at the academy presentations for "War and Peace," in which she played Natasha. The Russian picture won the Oscar for best foreign language picture.
Ludmilla will also have a starring role in "The Nutcracker Suite," and the film will feature the Bolshoi Ballet, the Moiseyev Dancers, the Leningrad Kirov Ballet, the Moscow State Circus, the Ice Circus of Russia and either the Leningrad or Moscow Symphony Orchestra.
I think it's wonderful to see such cultural masterpieces and the $15,000,000 budget indicates how big a production the picture will be. It will be filmed in Russia, and Leslie Bricusse has been signed to both write the screenplay and adapt the music for the film score.
PRESS CLIP #2
Bricusse, Lubin to Produce "The Great Music Chase"
March 20, 1972
HOLLYWOOD - Leslie Bricusse and Kenny Lubin have joined forces to make a new motion picture "The Great Music Chase," in Belgrade, Dubrovnik, and other sites along the Adriatic Coast. The original screenplay and contemporary lyrics were written by Bricusse, who also has adapted the songs from Peter Ilyich Tchaicovsky's "Nutcracker Suite."
As indicated by the title, "The Great Music Chase" is planned to be a fast-moving picture from start to finish, always being driven by the music and lyrics and culminating in a huge ballet sequence involving Russian dancers. It is blueprinted as a film for people of all ages and countries. Final discussions are now going on regarding financing and distribution.
The film will be Bricusse's third major project of the year. The first is the Broadway production "It's a Funny Old World We Live In and the World's Not To Blame," written in conjunction with his partner Anthony Newley. It is scheduled to open in October starring Newley. The second Bricusse project is a musical based on the life of King Henry VIII, to be presented in London by Bernard Delfont at the end of the year with Peter Hall directing.
Lubin has just returned from Europe after spending approximately a year selling the Jicarilla Apache Indian film "A Gun Fight," with Kirk Douglas and Johnny Cash, and location-hunting and budget-making for "The Great Music Chase" in Yugoslavia.
PRESS CLIP #3
Marilyn Beck's Hollywood Hotline
Los Angeles Times
May 19, 1974
Lesilie Bricusse, who for years teamed with Anthony Newley in composing endeavors, now has joined forces with veteran star Gene Kelly. Gene, the musical's master entertainer, and Leslie, the master at writing musicals, are creating two motion pictures for Kelly's newly-formed production company.
The first is a musical version of Jean Giradoux's "Ondine" which originally starred Audrey Hepburn. The second is an original titled "The Great Music Chase" for which Bricusse is writing music and lyrics to some of the great Tchaikovsky music.
If the fellows can firm the deal, it will star Liza Minnelli and one of the loves of her life, Ben Vereen. Screenplay will be Leslie and Tom Mankiwicz.
PRESS CLIP #4
Successful Song Writing Duo United First By Girlfriend
The Daily-News Times Burlington North Carolina
December 22, 1974
HOLLYWOOD - You wonder how great songwriting teams get together like, for instance, Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. "Tony and I had the same girl friend," said Leslie the other day. Instead of getting peeved at each other, they collaborated and wrote the music, book and lyrics for the smash for London and Broadway hit "Stop the World I Want to Get Off."
The hit song from that show "What Kind Of Fool Am I?" has become a standard, so much so that there have been 472 different recordings of it. Which brings Leslie to Jerry Lewis. "Jerry, at his own expense, made the first recording of that song. He sent it off to a recording executive who wired back that the material was not suitable. "Each Christmas, Jerry sends the wire back to him as a Christmas card. This year, he is listening each recording."
Leslie, at the moment, is collaborating with George Axelrod on a new Broadway musical starring Jerry called "Feeling No Pain" which will open next year. It will be Jerry's Broadway debut.
Leslie, musically, has been working alone. He recently completed the screenplay of a new film musical called "The Great Musical Chase," for which he adapted the music of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" and wrote original lyrics.
PRESS CLIP #5
1972 Rose Queen Weds Raquel's Ex
September 21, 1975
The 1972 Tournament of Roses Queen, Margo Lynn Johnson, married Patrick Curtis, the former husband of Raquel Welch, in a ceremony Saturday in Arcadia. Curtis, who was divorced from Miss Welch in 1972, is a film producer and director who has made, among other movies, "Kansas City Bomber" and "Hannie Caulder."
A reception followed the wedding at the home of Leslie Bricusse, the Academy Award winning musical composer. Bricusse is scheduled to work with Patrick Curtis next year in producing the musical film "The Great Music Chase."