There may be some confusion over how many CDs you get with this set. My own set came on 3 CDs, but I note that many web-sites now describe it as a 4 CD set, but with exactly the same tracks just spread out differently. There is no confusion over the quality of the collection. It is excellent!
It starts off in fine style with the opening fanfare from 20th Century Fox by Alfred Newman and then proceeds through some of the top movies from this "century", or at least since 1931 which is the earliest film in the collection. The recordings are not the originals straight from the soundtrack, but have been rerecorded by a variety of orchestras such as City of Prague Philharmonic under a variety of conductors. The scoring is in general a fairly authentic recreation of the originals, or at least it would take some scutiny to notice the differences. In most cases you'll hear the main theme or main title of the movie, but in some cases you get a performing suite of various themes pulled from it, or occasionally a theme which is prominent in a particular part of the movie. Either way there is a good variety from many important film composers (not to mention Puccini and Clint Eastwood!), covering all the genres from epic to love story to thriller. The tracks are in order of the cinema release so you get a real impression of moving through the decades, with changing film and music styles.
This collection is highly recommended to anyone interested in the history of film music, and we list all the tracks below to whet your appetite. In the meantime, if you're looking to purchase this set online, you can try Amazon.co.uk in the UK, or Amazon.com in the US.
It is difficult to see how this collection can be topped, but why not also take a look at our overview of the second cinema century collection, Cinema Century 2000. Depending on your own personal favourites, this is at least as good.