It’s Alive

N.p. N.p., 1973. Archive of Bernard Herrmann material belonging to director Larry Cohen, including the complete original autograph musical score manuscript by Herrmann, SIGNED twice by the composer, as well as Herrmann’s 63-page music cue sheet and twelve photographs from the score recording sessions for the 1974 film.

Also included in the archive is a Herrmann concert program, SIGNED twice by Herrmann, once on the front wrapper and INSCRIBED on the first page by Herrmann to Cohen and his wife Janelle Webb, “For Larry + Janelle / with love / Bernard Herrmann," as well as a narrow margin on set color photograph of actor William Wellman with the mutant baby created by special effects artist Rick Baker, and a 2004 autograph letter to Cohen from horror author, editor and producer Tony Timpone.

The centerpiece of the archive, the score, is Herrmann's 53-page autograph musical manuscript in black marker, signed on the first page, and signed and dated “Dec 1973” on the last page, and stamped “Composed by Bernard Herrmann” at the top right of the first page, with holograph annotations by Herrmann in red and magenta marker and pencil throughout, as well as amendments on overlayed labels.

The manuscript includes two variants of the score's first page: the first is missing a line for Moog Synthesizer, with the annotations "+ Moog," below Solo V. D'amore, and "Copy V. da + Moog together." The second variant includes the line for Moog synthesizer and has the right side of the page overlayed by an annotated Xerographic duplication of the first, stapled to the page. The score, written for horns, winds, harps, viola d’amore, moog synthesizer, electric bass, organ, and percussion, is composed in 38 parts, with reel and cue numbers noted.

Herrmann's 63-page music cue sheet, housed in a maroon three ring binder, with "It's Alive / music / cue sheet / by / Bernard Herrmann," in Cohen's hand on a post-it affixed with cello tape, contains three holograph annotations by Herrmann in red pencil and black marker, with one page dog eared on the lower corner with a paper clip. Interestingly, the second page of the cue sheet, stapled to the first, is two suggestions from the famously despotic composer to the director, one suggesting the police radio communications not use the word infant but rather monster, and the second to limit the end shot to no more than 15 seconds for dramatic effect.

The twelve black and white photographs, nine of which are borderless, are from either the December 24 or December 27, 1973, score recording sessions at St. Giles Cripplegate church in London. Six photographs are of Herrmann, Cohen, and Webb, two with annotations on the versos, one in Cohen's hand. Two photographs are of Herrmann at the mixing board, one with Cohen and three crew members, and the second, a blue tinted vertical enlargement of the same photograph featuring just Herrmann and Cohen. Three photographs are close up shots of Herrmann conducting, one of which has the annotation on the verso, in Cohen's hand, noting the session was "during power shortage / blackout - xmas 1974 [sic]. Freezing cold - orchestra + conductor / wearing coats." Lastly, a photograph of Herrmann and orchestra in mid performance, annotated on the verso in Cohen's hand.

The inscribed concert program is from the "Byron Concert," which commemorated the 150th anniversary of the death of Lord Byron, and was conducted by Herrmann at the Theatre Royal on April 21, 1974. The autograph letter from Timpone, dated October 28, 2004, on Starlog Entertainment letterhead, thanks Cohen for participating in the Bravo television special "The 100 Scariest Scenes of All Time," and an upcoming Fangoria convention. Photographs and supplemental materials are housed in an Image Entertainment folder, with the annotation on the cover, in Cohen's hand, of "Bill Wellman Foto with 'It's Alive'," and "Best Bernard Herrmann Photos."

One of film's greatest composers, Herrmann scored over 50 films in three and a half decades, auspiciously beginning with Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" in 1941, and ending with Martin Scorcese's "Taxi Driver" in 1976. He is perhaps best known for his seven collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, which include "Psycho" (1960), "North by Northwest" (1959), and "Vertigo" (1958), and was nominated for an Academy Award four times, winning in 1941 for "The Devil and Daniel Webster," his second film score. The score presented here, for Larry Cohen's exploitation cult classic "It's Alive," is Herrmann's antepenultimate score, and displays Herrmann's usual bravura in building a masterful, evocative, sinister tension, and features a particularly creepy use of a Moog Synthesizer, one of three scores in which Herrmann utilized the instrument. Exploitation director Cohen was one of the few directors who had struck up a close friendship with the notoriously cantankerous Herrmann, and dined with him the night before he unexpectedly died of a heart attack on December 24, 1975 at the age of 64.

Frank and Lenore Davis are expecting, but not the rampaging murderous mutant that is on the way. Blaxploitation and exploitation director Larry Cohen's conceptually ambitious and darkly comic cult classic "spawned" two sequels, both also directed by Cohen: "It Lives Again" (1978), starring Frederic Forrest and Kathleen Lloyd, and "It's Alive III: Island of the Alive" (1987), starring Michael Moriarty and Karen Black.

Set in and shot on location in Los Angeles.

Autograph Score Manuscript: 17 x 14 inches, 53 leaves. Near Fine, with many leaves attached with cello tape and many leaves previously attached with cello tape, now loose. Housed in a Very Good 14 x 17 inch photographic paper box with splitting at corners of lid.

Music Cue Sheet: 8.5 x 11 inches, 63 leaves. Xerographic duplication. Near Fine with first two leaves bound with two staples, housed in a Near Fine 9.75 x 11 inch maroon binder.

13 Photographs: 8 x 10 inches to 11.25 x 9.5 inches. Near Fine to Fine overall.

"Byron Concert" Program: 8.25 x 11.75 inches, side stapled with illustrated card wrappers. 18 pages. Near Fine, with light toning and light soiling to wrappers.

Timpone Letter: 8.5 x 11 inches. Fine.

Clover, Men, Women and Chainsaws.


[Book #154913]

Price: $28,500.00