Bennett (or at least his manager) may have expected that he would follow Sinatra into the world of cinema, crossing over from singer to actor in his first dramatic role for the film "The Oscar." While Bennett's film career never took off, his hit song from that film ("Maybe September," the opener here) had the unexpected side effect of providing the impetus for this recording. Aided by conductors Johnny Mandel, Quincy Jones and Neal Hefti, Bennett tackles an entire album's worth of songs from films.
While some tunes, like "Girl Talk" from the film "Harlow," seem somewhat arbitrarily chosen, THE MOVIE SONG ALBUM was no money-making knockoff job. The recording took four months to complete, an exceptionally long time for that period of the music business. On most tunes, the arrangers/conductors take the helm for their own compositions, adding a personal touch. Great jazz musicians like Jimmie Rowles, Tommy Flanagan and Zoot Sims spice up the orchestral arrangements, as does Luiz Bonfa, who adds his Brazilian guitar flavor to "Samba De Orfeu" and "The Gentle Rain." As for Bennett, well, all he has to do deliver the goods is just be Bennett, and that's exactly how it works out.