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Gruisin Score, "Murder By Death" Sees Reissue

Varèse Sarabande and Craft Recordings Team Up to Reissue the Soundtrack for Neil Simon's 1976 Film

Tothnotes: As a big Gruisin fan, I'm excited for this release. I must admit, however, that I've never seen the film or heard the music! However, with Grusin's name attached, I'm always interested; add in the gorgeous Charles Addams illustration (sourced from the original artwork), the fact that this is a Neil Simon project, and the two color variants and I'm hooked. Throw in Peter Sellers and David Niven and I'm almost angry that this film has eluded me throughout my lifetime. Read more below and pardon me while I search out where I can stream the film tonight. Where's the popcorn?

Varèse Sarabande and Craft Recordings are excited to announce the first-ever vinyl release for Dave Grusin’s score to Neil Simon’s whodunit comedy Murder by Death. The original 22-track program will be released on a Translucent Clear pressing, its jacket featuring artwork by iconic cartoonist Charles Addams, sourced from the artist’s original illustration. Set for release on March 22nd, and available for pre-order now, the album will also be available in a Varèse Sarabande Vinyl Club variant (pressed on Diamond Yellow marble vinyl and limited to 500 copies) exclusively at


Murder by Death (1976) was legendary playwright Neil Simon’s send-up of the murder mystery genre, with take-offs of famous detectives invited to undertake an archetypal country-mansion whodunit. The all-star cast of the film includes Alec Guinness, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith, Peter Falk and Truman Capote, playing parodies of well-known fictional sleuths, including Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Charlie Chan, Nick and Nora Charles, and Sam Spade. The film revolves around a group of five renowned detectives, each accompanied by a relative or associate, being invited to "dinner and a murder" by the mysterious Lionel Twain. Having lured his guests to his mansion, he presses a button which seals off the house and announces that he is the greatest criminologist in the world. To prove his claim, he challenges the guests to solve a murder that will occur at midnight; and promises a reward of one million dollars to the winner.


Scoring Murder by Death was the Academy Award®-nominated composer Dave Grusin (The Goonies, The Firm, Havana), who approached the comedic affair relatively straight—albeit with a light touch. “It was supposed to be a comedy…but that didn’t mean that it ought to be funny music,” Grusin told Tim Greiving in a new interview for the liner notes. “The intent was to try to score it as if it were a serious period piece, in terms of that kind of story.” Thematic, delightful, and full of charm, Grusin found the exact right tone in his score for Murder by Death—paying homage to the traditional, British murder-mystery roots while pushing the envelope of its eclectic references. “It was like nothing was out of bounds,” he recalls with fondness.





Side A

1.      Suite: Main Title / House Of Twain / Sand And Wang

2.      Suite: M. Perrier / Mushroom Idiot / Sam And Tess

3.      Broken Bridge

4.      Strange Weather

5.      Angry Cat And Cozy Fire

6.      I’ll Park The Car / Cobwebs

7.      Yetta

8.      Suite: Trust And Change / No Kissing / Hands Of Time / Wang Is Wrong

9.      Suite: Jessica Marbles / Death Mask / Toast To Lionel


Side B

1.      Gather At Table

2.      Swords And Beans

3.      Lockin’ It Up / Twain Tango

4.      Mirrors

5.      Butler’s Demise

6.      Suite: Holy Merde / Empty Room / Gun Shots / Re-Entry

7.      Suite: Almost Midnight / 12 Chimes / Knife In Twain’s Back

8.      Suite: Mannequin / Dirty Work / Jilted / Fathered / Wang’s Father / Gay Bar / Goodnight

9.      Suite: Deadly Steam / Scorpio / Gas Works / Think I’m Gonna Cry

10.  Getting Taller / Cross Off Snake

11.  Suite: Irving Goldman / Marvin Metzner / Poodle Session / Not Born With Beauty / Sam Enters

12.  Numero Uno / Openin’ Up / Gwine Home

13.  End Title



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