Wednesday 24 February 2010


Way back in '63 anyone who went to the movies in the UK to see 'The Day Of The Triffids' sat through a Stewart Granger B-movie called 'The Legions Last Patrol'.
This was a German/Italy/Spain co-production that was noticeable for just one thing - the theme tune.
In Italy it was a hit for Nini Rosso under the title Concerto Disperato which was written by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino.
In the UK it was the surprise chart for Ken Thorne and His Orchestra - with an emotional solo trumpet played by Ray Davies.
One thing that never appeared in the UK charts back in the early sixties were film themes but 'The Legions Last Patrol' reached No.4. A phenominal success then - but rather forgotten these days.
Except that I can still hear every note and whistle the theme - just as I did way back when I walked out of the cinema.
With all the compilations of film music around today it is just surprising that this theme has never been included.
If you have never heard this theme then it can be heard on You Tube and is now available to download on MP3.


Todd Mason said...

Was trumpeter Ray Davies related to the Kinks' RD?

Shall have to seek that out.

Ray said...

Todd - I've never been too sure about that. There have been suggestions that it was The Kinks Ray Davies but no proof that I have come across.

Evan Lewis said...

Great piece, Ray. They never served up anything good with showings of the Triffids over here.

George said...

You can listen to this great theme song at:

Scott D. Parker said...

I'm listening to the track now. In the trumpet, there's a whisper of the future style of the Ennio Morricone music from the Eastwood westerns in this song. Nice.

Ray said...

George - Grateful for the link.

Scott - I agree with you and the Morricone piece that comes to mind is 'March Without Hope' from 'The Good, The Bad And The Ugly' soundtrack.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I seem to remember best the music I danced to. Philadelphia and Dick Clark, I guess.

Nik Morton said...

Good nostalgia piece, Ray. I'm not musical, but I can still hear those echoing notes. With B movies, of course, that meant more work for screenwriters; those were the days - we missed our chance!

Anonymous said...

I never knew a thing about the movie. At times I wondered if it was ever released, but I've known and loved that haunting tune for years. It's 'up there' with Il Silenzio. Good post, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Nini Rosso went on to do Il Silenzio "The Silence" which became a huge hit. Having served in the RN for 21yrs and done service in the Falklands, both of these trumpet pieces always bring tears to my eyes. Both beautiful pieces of music.

Ralph Stephenson said...

I showed Legions Last Patrol as a 16 year old trainee cinema projectionist in Nottingham.
those were in the times when there were between 6-8 projection 'box' staff in shifts of 3 plus a trainee usually.
Technically one person operation wasn't possible at most cinemas until the 1980s.
I well remember the brilliantly evocative theme being in the charts for what seemed like years.
I can still whistle my way through it note perfect - when I untangle it from the later Theme from The Ballad of The Green Berets! Two back stories: I was taught to play trumpet from age 3 by my father, accomplished in all brass range instruments and piano but we fell out about my career intentions and direction and my revenge was junking further playing.
the Ben Bled character in Legion was a portrayal of Ahmed Ben Bella who became Algeria's first president when France caved in and granted independence.
In 1995 a big internationally attended London Conference on ending the sanctions on Iraq which I supervised vide coverage of was attended by Mr Ben Bella. The conference organizer and myself and two other crew and secretaries met him the day before at his hotel and although he only spoke French it was a fascinating hour talking with him through an interpreter. I asked him if he ever saw Legion's Last Patrol and he replied:
"Yes and it was far more dramatic than my role in the real life events!"