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Crazy in Alabama

4 stars

A mix of Southern gothic and dramatic intensity that successfully transports the listener to a specific time and place is what the tagline should read to the score of Crazy in Alabama. Or perhaps it should say Mark Snow does Flannery O'Connor with a dose of Pat Conroy. Although these last two names are those of famous Southern writers, it could be said that with Crazy in Alabama, Mark Snow enters an "ideal realm" of joining these names as an author of Southern ambiance and dichotomy just as profoundly as these masters of homespun literature.

Crazy in Alabama is indeed new territory for Snow, an almost cult figure in television with his extra sensory opus The X-Files and a tremendously acclaimed compilation released earlier in 1999. This is the first feature that shows Snow's complete range as not only capable of taut dramatic work, but also fun Southern fried atmosphere tailored to this project with great care and apparent passion. As with his other works for both TV and film, it seems as Snow researched, at length, the time and setting to decide what was needed for the movie and applied his talents accordingly.

From a gorgeous main & end theme, (Pool of Freedom) with a tender piano to the breezy harmonica in the Alabama enriched Mellow Ride, Crazy explores similar family dramas and mysteries as Fried Green Tomatoes but with a decidedly different effect. Snow's composition treads more challenging territory that covers the darker side of life in the racially explosive South and then on the other hand, follows the film's heroine Lucille as she tries to make a name for herself in Hollywood (with her husband's severed head in tow). These diverse musical stylings within one score could easily be miscalculated attempts in some less than capable hands, but Snow makes this his first real big screen triumph with a promise that his expansive and versatile talents are still unfolding before us.

Source: Scorelogue [www.scorelogue.com/crazy_alabama.html], 1999.

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