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The Last Belle (Stuart Hancock)

January 31, 2015

Cover_thelastbelleTHE LAST BELLE

Stuart Hancock, 2014, MovieScore Media
10 tracks, 14:00

A small film doesn’t necessarily have a small score. Stuart Hancock’s “The Last Belle” is a fully orchestral rollercoaster… One you’ll want ride again and again.

Review by Pete Simons

What is it?

“The Last Belle” is the writing/directing debut of animator Neil Boyle  (“Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”, “Space Jam”). The film is a 20 minute animation extravaganza about two people going on a blind date. Rosie (Sienna Guillory) is there at the bar on time, impatiently waiting for her admirer. Wally in the meantime is recovering from a hangover and is on his way – but it seems the whole universe is conspiring against him. You can watch “The Last Belle” online, here!

The lively score for this film is by Stuart Hancock. If you didn’t already know he was British, you will after hearing the score. It’s hard to explain, but there is something very English about it – the melodies, the orchestrations. It reminds me of the late Michael Kamen (“The Iron Giant”) and of Julian Nott (“Wallace & Gromit”).

What does it sound like?

The album opens with “I’ve Got Myself A Date”, which introduces Rosie’s theme – a lovely tune for woodwinds. Stylistically, it reminds me of Kamen – there’s something about the way flute, oboe and bassoon interact, whilst strings are dancing in the background. It’s sweet, but playful and it has great energy about it. It reccurs several times throughout the score, as you would expect. A melancholy version is heard in “Giddy Rosie”. It’s reprised beautifully, for full orchestra, during “The Last Belle”.

In contrast, Wally’s theme is a short, carnivalesque affair. It too pops up several times throughout the score, in various guises. Wally is drunk whilst trying to make his way over to the date; as a result he is the victim of many slapstick mishaps. Cues like “Going Down The Tubes” and “Rushing to Ripov’s” are full-blown orchestral whirlwinds.

Throughout the score the orchestrations are exquisite. The playful interactions between the different instruments are a joy to listen to listen to. The score is performed flawlessly by the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, with every section getting a proper work-out.

Is it any good?

Stuart Hancock’s “The Last Belle” is a wonderful little (very little) score. It may only be 14-minutes short, but every note is perfect. It features a charming main theme and various vibrant action/adventure cues. The orchestrations alone are a delight; and the whole thing oozes with English pomp and frivolity.

Rating [4/5]

Tracklisting

01. I’ve Got Myself a Date! (3:38)
02. Giddy Rosie (0:36)
03. Drunk Wally (0:55)
04. Five Past Eight (0:47)
05. Going Down the Tubes (1:34)
06. Where’s Wally? (1:08)
07. Rushing to Ripov’s (0:56)
08. The Date (1:55)
09. Finding Love in London (1:34)
10. The Last Belle (0:57)

Availability

Digitally – and check out the samples on MovieScore Media‘s website.
And you can watch the full animated film on YouTube.
And why not check out the composer’s website too.

 

 

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