While perhaps not proclaimed in the same, appreciative breath as a John Williams or Jerry Goldsmith, Argentine maestro Lalo Schifrin has followed a similar career arc within his unadulterated reliability and razor-sharp skill as a legendary composer of television and film.
Best known for composing the iconic theme to Mission Impossible, Schifrin also made his stylistic mark with Clint Eastwood’s high impact ‘Dirty Harry’ films in the 1970s, utilizing big, bombastic brass and bold, brash rhythms to inflict maximum impact upon the listener.
The inclusion of these classic Schifrin elements is only one of the reasons why it becomes so easy to get lost here within Film Score Monthly’s reissue of his score for 1977’s spy action film Telefon, for the maestro’s work here is actually quite restrained and subdued most of the time, focusing more upon driving suspense and tension than evoking any jazzy syncopation.
In this regard, Telefon is actually a resounding success for Schifrin, rounding out nicely the artist’s varied influences, while proving in spades Schifrin’s flexibility and range as a composer. Given the the film-directed by noted action film auteur Don Siegel and starring hardened 70s star Charles Bronson-contains so many explosive elements within its tale of Cold War sleeper cell agents lurking in late 70s America, it actually proves quite refreshing to hear Schifrin’s cues seemingly delegated to supporting roles during the film’s dialogue pieces, designed to drive home the ever-looming threat of nuclear war. This effect is actually quite similar to FSM’s release of Frank De Vol’s score for The Dirty Dozen, although Schifrin’s execution is noticably more involved and enjoyable overall.
To sweeten the pot here even more, FSM has decided to include a bonus soundtrack to go along with Telefon, the Laurence Rosenman composed score for James Caan’s directorial debut-actually, the Godfather star’s only directing credit to date-Hide In Plain Sight, which was release theatrically in 1980. Although Caan-who, according to FSM’s ever-reliable liner notes, apparently didn’t want to use any music for his film-only ended up utilizing four of Rosenman’s cues within his final product, the brief presentation here of the finished score is actually quite enjoyable, leading the listener to believe that perhaps Caan was mistaken in his assessment.
Hide In Plain Sight manages to be both romantic and mysterious in execution, evoking legitimate emotion amidst its well-performed, maturely composed cues. The influence and air of John Williams is present here-which is to be expected-yet the score never really indulged in plagiarism of any kind, serving as a cool, if short film score which balances off the preceeding Telefon presentation quite nicely.
Overall: a solid package for fans of tense, short scores.
ORDER THIS FILM SCORE DIRECTLY FROM FSM OR SCREEN ARCHIVES!
FOLLOW THE CAPE COD MOVIE EXAMINER ON TWITTER!