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Classic Movie Merchandise

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 Movie Music & Soundtracks:

Soundtracks | Sheet Music | Radio

SOUNDTRACKS

Now that you've heard clips of movie music in the Audio/Video Gallery and on various pages of Reel Classics, it's time to own the real thing.  Soundtracks to classic movies can be hard to find, but the following links should help.  Specialty Dealers do a good job stocking frequently hard-to-find titles, while the General Dealers are sometimes cheaper -- if they have what you want in stock.  Always shop around and compare prices, and don't forget shipping.

A few helpful hints: First, use the search features of those sites that have them.  For musicals, enter the name of the film.  For instrumental soundtracks, try the name of the film as well as the composer, because often this music will only be available on compilation recordings for several films scored by the same musician.  Second, be sure to find out the details of what you're getting before you buy.  "Original Cast Recording"s are soundtracks for stage shows (not movies), whereas "Original Motion Picture Soundtrack"s and "Original Soundtrack Recording"s are music from the film.  Also, sometimes modern orchestras record new versions of classic film music, often labeled "Original Motion Picture Score" -- this is not the actual sound you hear in the film, but is the same music, and often sounds very similar.  In cases where the original recordings have been lost or were of primitive sound quality, often this is the best you're going to do.

 

Specialty Classic Movie Music Dealers:

  • MovieMusic.com --specializing in movie scores and soundtracks, including classics.
  • Collectors' Choice Music --a good selection of classic movie soundtracks as well as albums by classic artists; available on CD and cassette.
  • Screen Archives Entertainment --featuring current releases as well as some discontinued titles.
  • Rhino Records and Rhino Handmade --soundtracks to many MGM movies and musicals, and celebrity compilations of the greats.
  • Varese Sarabande --recording label for several instrumental classic soundtracks and scores.
  • Footlight Records --self-proclaimed out-of-print record specialists who sell rare and hard-to-find music, including many classic movie titles, in formats ranging from vinyl records to CDs.
  • Film Score Monthly --the noted movie music magazine also sponsors two labels under which it releases classic soundtracks on CD.
  • Monstrous Movie Music --a record label specializing in CDs of music from classic science fiction, fantasy, and horror films.
  • The Disney Store --carrying soundtracks to both modern and classic Disney movies.
  • American Music Classics --create your own custom tape or CD from their extensive collection of recordings from 1900-1960, organized by era, artist and title.

General Music Dealers who carry some Classic Movie Music:

  • Amazon.com --one of the Internet's largest online retailers, featuring a large selection of soundtrack CDs, both new and used.
  • Alibris --an online bookseller also specializing in new and used music in a variety of formats.
  • Barnes & Noble Music Store --the Internet outlet of one of the United State's largest brick-and-mortar retail bookstore chains; in-print soundtrack CDs competitively priced.
  • CD Universe Soundtracks --online music and movie retailer.
  • Colony Music --specializing in Broadway and movie musical soundtracks and sheet music.

Vintage Recording Dealers:

  • B&M Collectibles --classic movie soundtracks on record
  • Rare Discs (18 Bloomsbury St., London WC1B 3QA, tel: (0)171-580-3516, fax: (0)181-788-3809; (calling from the U.S., add 011-44 and drop the first 0)) --thousands of LPs of hard-to-find soundtracks.
  • Footlight Records --self-proclaimed out-of-print record specialists who sell rare and hard-to-find music, including many classic movie titles on vinyl records.
  • Golden Oldies Records
  • Records Unlimited
  • Metro City Records

More Movie Music Sites:

  • Kohn on Music Licensing --a website devoted to explaining copyright and other laws governing the distribution of music and sound recordings, especially internet related issues.

SHEET MUSIC

I can't claim to be much of an expert in this category, but I do my best.  In general, there are two kinds of classic movie sheet music -- new and vintage.  The vintage music is often a collectors item in itself and was usually released about the same time as the film.  New sheet music however, is sometimes a reprinting of the original release and other times a new arrangement of music from a classic film.  Be sure to find out for sure what you're getting.  Also, whereas vintage music is most often only single songs, new music frequently compiles whole movies or even several movies, together into one book.  

Vintage Sheet Music | New Sheet Music | Further Resources

Vintage Sheet Music Dealers:

  • Music for the Nation --no purchase necessary here -- it's free! The Library of Congress' online collection of sheet music from 1870-1885.
  • The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection --a searchable index of popular American sheet music from 1780-1960 with scanned pages for those items in the public domain.
  • Rare Discs (18 Bloomsbury St., London WC1B 3QA, tel: (0)171-580-3516, fax: (0)181-788-3809; (calling from the U.S., add 011-44 and drop the first 0)) --specializing in vintage sheet music from classic films.
  • Vintage Sheet Music --specializing in hard-to-find and out-of-print sheet music from the '50s, '60s, and '70s; they do special searches too.
  • Steve's Collectibles --some vintage sheet music.
  • JS Dietz Movie Related Sheet Music --vintage.
  • B&M Collectibles --features some vintage sheet music.
  • Hollywood Collector--a private collector selling his sheet music.

New Sheet Music Dealers:

Further Resources:

  • ACE database --the ASCAP (the organization that represents songwriters, musicians, composers and their estates) maintains an online database of almost every song ever copyrighted, and you can use it to look up the current publishers or administrators of a song you're looking for.  The database will also give you the publisher's address and phone number so you can contact them about the availability of the song.
  • Kohn on Music Licensing --a website devoted to explaining copyright and other laws governing the distribution of music and sound recordings, especially internet related issues; with links to many music licensers and music copyright owners.

VINTAGE RADIO PROGRAMS

Not only do classic radio programs tend to conjure up the same sort of nostalgia as classic movies, they were often integrally related.  Radio versions of classic movies were very common through the 1940s, and they frequently starred several members of the original cast.  Though much of this material is difficult to find, here are a few good resources to consult:

Return to the Classic Movie Merchandise Index.

 

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Last updated: March 10, 2011.
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