Unused Score Limited Edition
Film Score Monthly (FSM Vol. 8, No. 18)
Release Date: 2005
Conducted by Jerry Fielding
Best of 2005: Best Special Release
|2.||The Water Hole
|3.||Doc And Carol
|4.||Casing The Joint
|5.||The Bank Robbery
|10.||Punch It, Baby
|11.||Shall We Gather At The River
|12.||Texas Trash Heap
|Total Album Time:||38:01|
|by Rafael Ruiz
January 2, 2006
This first adaptation of Jim Thompson's seminal heist novel was surrounded by celebrity scandal at the time. Stars Steve McQueen and Allie McGraw eloped during production (think of the whole Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie situation). The tabloid fodder propelled the movie into success. What one remembers now is director Sam Peckinpah's nihilistic approach to what could have been a very standard heist-on-the-run film (look at the 1994 remake for examples). Peckinpah brought in his regular composer Jerry Fielding (The Wild Bunch) to do the music. However, in the end producer McQueen replaced Fielding's score with one by Quincy Jones.
As much as I'd like to say I don't like Quincy Jones's score, it works. But the beauty of hindsight (and multiple soundtrack releases) is that lost works can be saved for posterity. This Film Score Monthly release finally allows us to finally hear Fielding's work, and impressively, this release wouldn't have happened without the help of Quincy Jones among many others.
You would know the score to a Sam Peckinpah movie regardless if it was used. The tone is bitter, tense and nostalgic. Like The Wild Bunch, a terse snare drum and harsh strings accompany nervous anticipation in "Casing the Joint", "Hotel Confrontation" and "The Bank Robbery." The warm moments are accented by the harmonica ("Texas Trash Heap") and guitar ("The Water Hole"). During seemingly mellow pieces ("Doc and Carol") the random odd atonal note extends ominously. And it wouldn't be a Peckinpah film without "Shall We Gather at The River" somewhere in there. Those familiar with the original Star Trek series would definitely recognize some familiar musical stings in "Punch It, Baby" and "Hombres".
Since this is a Film Score Monthly release, one expects this disk to be packed, and yet it still exceeds expectations. Included are fantastic liner notes and best of all, a bonus DVD with a half-hour documentary on Jerry Fielding's career. Interviewed are relatives who give candid, warm interviews, discussing his relationship with "Sam." We learn that Peckinpah didn't want to lose Fielding's score and how they repaired their relationship after the experience. At the end of "End Credits" there's a minute and a half interview highlight by Fielding. It's a very candid discussion of ethics in Hollywood. You can see how he could get along with Peckinpah.
This is a spectacular release with the right degree of perspective and context. The score would have definitely worked in the film and while not a definitive piece of Jerry Fielding's, it is a great one. If you're not familiar with his music, is a good album from newcomers. A must buy.
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