Review: Police Story
4 / 5 Stars
Back in the mid-70's, police crime dramas were all the rage. Shows such as "The Streets of San Francisco", "Baretta", "Kojak" and "S.W.A.T." were big hits. So it was that in 1973 a television show called "Police Story" came to be. It ran for five years and accumulated two Golden Globe nominations and two Emmy nominations, including one win. The original pilot for the television show contained original music by veteran composed Jerry Goldsmith. Now, for the first time, that Pilot score has been released - and it's a treat to listen to.
Beginning with the thirty-second theme from "Police Story", we immediately get a sense of the style for the score. It has "1970s" written all over it - the snazzy bass line and catchy theme is pure Goldsmith. He has the uncanny ability to come up with very simple and memorable themes, and "Police Story" is no exception. In "The Tail", the theme shows up again with punchy almost Bond-like brass section, and the main theme performed on flute is jazzy and upbeat. "Stakeout #1" has some darker brooding moments, and "Love Affair" has a soft, almost sad quality about it. It reminded me a bit of "The Piper Dreams" from The Omen, which Goldsmith would write two years later.
"A Lack of Trust / The Stoolie" is a dark atmospheric cue that ends in a big brass hit. The following track, "The Phone Booth", starts out with all percussion - similar to Goldsmith's work on Planet of the Apes. It's dark, it's primitive, and it definitely connotes fear. But when it builds up and breaks into a kickin' rendition of the main, theme, it's just plain fun. The six-minute long "The Market / Quick Draw" cue has large moments of quiet atmosphere, followed up with percussion and tense orchestrations. "The Hospital / End Credits" brings us a reprise of the love theme, followed by a quiet version of the main theme - which then goes into the full version for the end titles.
Also included on the album are the library cues recorded for the television show - they basically consist (for the most part) as mono recordings of slight variations on the cues we've already heard. But it's good to hear them, even though the variances are slight. A few of them aren't from the Pilot episode, but mesh into the style and themes that Goldsmith created seamlessly. Also included is a suite from the ill-fated "Medical Story", which only ran for 11 episodes. Goldsmith also wrote the music for that Pilot episode, and the suite begins with the main theme that is definitely more dramatic and sweeping than the "Police Story" theme. Goldsmith also utilizes synthesizer effects for this 1975 television show, which in conjunction with the orchestra lend a creepy effect. Interestingly enough, the love theme from "Police Story" makes an appearance in the score, which explains its presence on the album.
All in all, there is over 50 minutes of music on this album. While some of it is not any big deal, there are quite a few cues that are definitely worth checking out, and with a classic Goldsmith-style theme, you simply can't go wrong in getting this limited release. Released through Prometheus Records, this album is available through Soundtrack Magazine at http://www.soundtrackmag.com/.
If any information appears to be missing from this page, contact us and let us know!