Press Release from Dragon's Domain:
Dragon’s Domain Records presents the soundtrack release of THE QUEST/THE TRUE STORY OF ESKIMO NELL, a collection featuring music composed by Brian May (MAD MAX, THE ROAD WARRIOR, CLOAK & DAGGER) for a select group of Australian films produced by Antony I. Ginnane during the boom of the Australian New Wave of cinema in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Released in 1986, THE QUEST, also known as FROG DREAMING tells the story of Cody (Henry Thomas, E.T.), a young boy who confronts an Aboriginal myth whose dark magics may be more real than most people suspect. Recently orphaned, Cody is taken in by a family friend in Australia after the death of his parents. With his new foster sisters, Cody explores the local woods and comes across a water hole known by the local aborigines as Donkegin Hole, which is known to be a “frog dreaming” place, and that something unknown and very frightening may – or may not – live in its watery depths. The film was written by prolific Everett de Roche, author of a brawny handful of Ginnane’s successful fantastic thrillers. May’s score inhabits the characters and their environments with an adventurous enthusiasm but as their exploration of the haunted pond proves to be more dangerous than expected, the music turns threatening, closely following the advancing contours of the story and giving the drama an effective emotional substance. The music is performed by the Australian Symphony Orchestra, which gives the score an especially powerful sonic dynamic through the ASO’s muscular forces.
Released in 1975, THE TRUE STORY OF ESKIMO NELL is Brian May’s first film score. Based on a bawdy ballad of unknown authorship that is believed to date back to the 1940s, this film was an early venture of the Australian New Wave. It was written and directed by Richard Franklin in his feature directorial debut, and was immediately followed by the acclaimed science fiction thriller PATRICK which is what really launched Franklin’s career and sent him to the USA to direct PSYCHO 2. Antony Ginnane was on board in an uncredited de facto executive producer capacity during post-production. He met Brian May while working on the ESKIMO NELL movie, so this film was the beginning of a significant collaboration which brought them together for seven succeeding films. May’s score for ESKIMO NELL and her amorous admirers maintains a light-hearted and breezy vibe, focusing primarily on Deadeye Dick and Mexico Pete in their single-minded but oft-distracted search for Nell, with plenty of scherzos and fun (but never outright comic) music. The score is fully orchestral and May takes plenty to opportunities to engage in large orchestral gestures whenever appropriate
Born in Adelaide in 1934, Brian May (no relation to Brian Harold May of Queen) was one of the first composers to achieve international acclaim as an Australian composer and was best known as the composer of MAD MAX and THE ROAD WARRIOR (MAD MAX II). May received his musical training as a pianist, violinist and conductor at the Adelaide Elder Conservatorium. He joined the Australia Broadcasting Company in 1957, where he formed the ABC Adelaide Big Band, an ensemble that performed all manner of light music for broadcast, and May became a leading figure in Australian light music as a result. He moved to Melbourne in 1970 to arrange and conduct the ABC’s Melbourne Show band. Moving into film music in a period of time when Australia’s film industry was just beginning to take its place among international film circles, May composed such notable film scores as RACE FOR THE YANKEE ZEPHYR, ROAD GAMES, CLOAK AND DAGGER, DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR, MISSING IN ACTION 2, SKY PIRATES, STEEL DAWN, DR. GIGGLES, FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHT MARE and BLINDSIDE. He won the Australian Film Institute Award for best original score with MAD MAX; many other awards followed, including the Golden Award from the Australian Performing Rights Association. He continued to score films until 1993, composing music for more than 30 films and many hours of television, most of which he orchestrated himself. Sadly, the composer passed away in 1997 at the age of 63.
Dragon’s Domain Records is excited to bring the THE QUEST and THE TRUE STORY OF ESKIMO NELL together, newly remastered by Digital Outland. The booklet includes liner notes written by author Randall Larson.