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Italian soundtrack composer Riz Ortolani, RIP

riz ortolani

Cinema lost a soundtrack great yesterday as Italian composer Riz Ortolani died yesterday (1/26) in Rome at age 87:

Born on March 25, 1926, as Riziero Ortolani, in Pesaro, Italy, the prolific composer started his career in his early twenties working as a musical arranger for the orchestra of Italian pubcaster RAI, before forming his own orchestra. During the 1950s he and his Riz Ortolani orchestra wound up in Los Angeles and worked at famed night club Ciro’s on the Sunset Strip.

Ortolani’s career in movie soundtracks started in 1962 with Gualtiero Jacopetti’s seminal creepy exploitation docu “Mondo Cane,” which screened at Cannes.

The “Mondo Cane” theme “More” won a Grammy, was nominated for an Oscar, and over the years has been covered by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Judy Garland to Herb Alpert. – [Variety]

In addition to Mondo Cane, he composed scores for countless genre films, from giallos to spaghetti westerns to horror films (Cannibal Holocaust is particularly good). His scores have also been appropriated by Quentin Tarantino in Kill Bill and Django Unchained, as well as Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. RIP, Riz.

Stream a few of Ortolani’s more notable scores below…

RIZ ORTOLANI -“I Giorno Dell’Ira / Day of Anger” (1967)

Cannibal Holocaust – Opening Theme Music (Riz Ortolani)

Riz Ortolani non si sevizia un Paperino

Mondo Cane(1962) – More Ti guardero nel cuore

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