- The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964) [TV Series]
The Music From U.N.C.L.E. (The Original Soundtrack Affair)Razor & Tie (RE 2133-2)
Released: March 18, 1997
Format: CD (33 min)
Goldsmith Conducts GoldsmithSilva America (SSD 1135)
Format: CD (71 min)
Review: Man from U.N.C.L.E. Volume 3, The
5 / 5 Stars
Is it possible that too much of a good thing is actually bliss? I am starting to think so, based on the three sets released by Film Score Monthly featuring music from the classic 60's televised spy series, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Each 2-CD volume is packed to the nines with energetic, pulse-pounding, jazz-inflected, melodically inventive scores composed by such luminaries as Jerry Goldsmith, Lalo Schifrin, Dave Grusin, Morton Stevens and Gerald Fried. In this final presentation, the set also contains an additional treasure in the form of music from the short-lived spin-off series, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.
To begin with, the aforementioned scores from The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. are for me the highlight of this particular release. Dave Grusin composed amazingly bright, catchy and addictive tunes for his contributions, heavily influenced by a swinging, Mancini-esque big band style. For "The Dog-Gone Affair", a stacked sound of saxophones, bass, drums and brass are augmented by the ethnic flavor of Greek instrumentation. In "The Mata Hari Affair", gentle flutes, vibes, guitar and harp soon give way to a grooving conjunction of bass, trumpet and harpsichord, followed by an extended explosion of a crazy drums and sax riff. "The Mother Muffin Affair" is the longest suite of Dave Grusin's music and also extremely rewarding. A measured, suspenseful harpsichord-led opening builds into a lengthy, terrific chase cue based on an insistent, exciting motif presented primarily by flutes and brass (reprised later in the suite). The additional suites from The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., "The Prisoner of Zalamar Affair" and "The Montori Device Affair", featuring music by Richard Shores, are just as stellar in their swinging grooves and melodic hooks, utilizing harpsichord and electric guitar.
This is not to discount the fabulous examples from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. included on this set. There are additional suites of music to compliment those on the earlier sets, from the episodes "The Double Affair" (Morton Stevens), "The Fiddlesticks Affair" (Lalo Schifrin), "The Discotheque Affair" (Gerald Fried) and "The Monks of St. Thomas Affair" (Fried), the latter containing more of Fried's unusual instrumentation in a funky fight cue. Pretty much anything Gerald Fried contributed to the series is pure musical gold, in my opinion. A raucous seven minute suite is comprised of shorter cues from eight different episodes scored by Fried and each cue has a vastly different character from those which bookend it, demonstrating his chameleonic ability in composing for exotic or off-kilter situations. He is also represented in tracks from the theatrical versions of various Man From U.N.C.L.E. two-parters, in this case "The Karate Killers" and "One of Our Spies Is Missing", plus a groovy source cue with bass and bongos, "U.N.C.L.E. A Go Go".
Jerry Goldsmith is well-represented in a wonderful thirty minute suite, comprised of his original music for the first season, brilliantly re-recorded in stereo for a fourth season episode. There is also a medley of additional cues Goldsmith composed for those initial episodes, preserved here for the first time. Morton Steven's opening cue for "The Spy With My Face" has a great, percussive build, the tension mounting through low woodwinds and brass, and again the woodwinds provide an foreign feel in his score for the Indian-centric episode "The Yellow Scarf Affair".
The list of highlight could be endless with this or any of the previous volumes in this extravagant series, but I would hope that most film score fans will do themselves a fun favor and treat themselves to discovering these on their own.
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