Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder won six Oscar nominations in 1959, and this tautly paced courtroom drama shocked audiences at the time with its forthright stance on Hollywood taboos like contraception and rape. James Stewart as defence attorney Paul Biegler heads a strong cast which includes Lee Remick and Ben Gazzara, and Duke Ellington’s brooding, evocative soundtrack gives the picture an added bonus for jazz lovers.
Anatomy wasn’t Ellington’s only film soundtrack, and he also scored Martin Ritt’s 1961 Paris Blues, which featured Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier as ex pat jazz musicians living in Paris. Directing his legendary orchestra for five decades, Duke’s output was enormous and with film music, as with everything else that prompted Ellington to put pen to manuscript, the great composer’s hallmarks of strong melody coupled with flawless orchestration are never far from the surface. The soundtrack was recorded by Ellington’s orchestra and soloists include Paul Gonsalves, Clark Terry and the peerless Johnny Hodges.