An updating of the Faust legend, with a dash of Fritz Lang's "Der Müde Tod", to a 1950's Paris recreated in vividly abstract expressionistic sets. The film cost a small fortune to make and was virtually ignored on its release, demolished with vitriol by the critics of the Cahier du cinema. Because of that, its reputation is virtually zero. The film is, in fact, a gem of inventive, imaginative, technically stunning filmmaking totally out of reach for most of the New Wave directors.
Best known for his "Mission: Impossible" theme song, Lalo Schifrin is an Argentinean-born composer, arranger, pianist, and conductor, whose jazz and classical training earned him tremendous success as a soundtrack composer. Born Boris Claudio Schifrin in Buenos Aires on June 21, 1932, his father was a symphonic violinist, and he began playing piano at age six. He enrolled in the Paris Conservatoire in 1952, hitting the jazz scene by night. After returning to Buenos Aires, Schifrin formed a 16-piece jazz orchestra, which helped him meet Dizzy Gillespie in 1956.
Lionel Hampton is joined by a number of top French jazz musicians plus Nat Adderley and American expatriate Benny Bailey for this 1955 studio session, playing Christian Chevalier's charts. "All the Things You Are" features the vibraphonist with the rhythm section, with strong solo efforts by guitarist Sacha Distel and pianist René Urtreger, along with the leader. The low-key, lengthy treatment of "I Cover the Waterfront" almost suggests a Jazz at the Philharmonic session, showcasing nice features for trumpeter Bernard Hullin, tenor saxophonist Maurice Meunier, Urtreger, and Hampton.