Henry Mancini and Jerry Goldsmith were two of the last studio-era composers to benefit from the kind of invaluable working apprenticeship that is almost impossible to come by today. Mancini initially labored, often anonymously, in the assembly line music department of Universal-International, while Goldsmith received a similar background of eclectic experience with his early television work.
Director Blake Edwards recognized Mancini’s potential when he chose him to score Peter Gunn, a popular 1958-1961 television series. But it was Edwards’ Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) which certified Mancini’s status as one of the last great song composers to come out of Hollywood (“Moon River”) and the first score composer to create a hip new sound which would influence Hollywood scoring for the next two decades.
Charade (1963), a stylish Hitchcock homage, is just one in a series of great early ’60s Mancini scores. Like Tiffany’s it features a song which does double duty, in this case as a driving Main Title instrumental, and, with lyrics (like “Moon River”) by Johnny Mercer, also serves as a romantic ballad with a somewhat plaintive minor-mode Continental feel.