THE DEAD POOL (1988)
Music composed, orchestrated
and conducted by Lalo Schifrin
12 Tracks (Playing Time = 36:56)
Album produced by Nick Redman. Score copied by Harvey Cohen, Camillo Fidelibus, Barbara Franklin, Dan Franklin, Joel Franklin, Bob Manrique, Joe McGuire, Lolita Ritmanis, Al Sanders, and Eric Stonerook. Music remixed from the original multi-track masters by Michael Matessino. Music edited by Donald Harris. Music recorded at Scoring Stage 1, Warner Brothers Studios— Burbank, June 6 and 7, 1988. Album art direction and design by Theresa E. Schifrin.
Aleph Records 042
With these release of THE DEAD POOL, Dirty Harry fans now have had a chance to enjoy each of the scores for this popular Eastwood character. In an earlier review here for SUDDEN IMPACT (1983), also released by Aleph, I mentioned that each of the scores for these films gives you window on the changing world of film scoring. That can be seen in the jump even in five years to 1988 with this score. This was not a really “great” year for film music looking back to it as a whole. A quick glance at even the scores noted for critical attention at awards time illustrates the kind of changing world of film music (Jarre’s electronic score for GORILLAS IN THE MIST, Zimmer’s RAIN MAN, Fenton’s DANGEROUS LIAISONS, Williams’ THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST, Grusin’s winning score for THE MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR). Morricone’s beautiful score for CINEMA PARADISO, though written in 1988, did not even appear here until the following year.
Into this unusual variety of styles and underscoring methods, steps Lalo Schifrin. In THE DEAD POOL we hear Schifrin exploring a great deal of his past while also trying his hand at some of the contemporary tools of the trade. “San Francisco Night” opens the disc with a sound reminiscent of the composer’s television scoring days. Scored mostly for brass, this is a jazzier though quiet contemporized track recalling earlier Dirty Harry scores but only mildly placing us in the current period. That is quickly accomplished in a heavily synthesized “Main Title” with the sort of rhythmic syncopation one expects from a Goldsmith electronic score. Though sounding a bit odd in this day of over-synthesized music, Schifrin’s commanding use of electronics here and throughout the score, is one of the most striking new things that distinguish this particular film. The music tends to avoid a grittiness that felt at home in the 1970s for a more sinister thriller sound. There is some nice lyrical writing as well which gets a fuller display in the rather exquisite “The Rules.” The thematic idea which opens the disc does not permeate the score, being hinted at briefly in spots, and only returning at the end of the music presented here to wrap things up into a satisfying whole. The score has a few moments of action, often laden with electronics, that help add some variety and strings appear mostly for tension in the score, reminiscent of the composer’s work on THE AMITYVILLE HORROR.
There is a short essay by producer Nick Redman to wrap up the series of releases on the label in a way. As with previous releases in the series, the score has been remixed and remastered from the original multi-track recordings. THE DEAD POOL will not be a score for everyone, but for those interested in a score that shows off the combinations of Schifrin’s scoring techniques from the 1960s in a 1980s orchestral and electronic sound, there will be much to admire.
---Steven A. Kennedy, 8 January 2009
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