I can't understand how some 5 months have passed since I last posted, where does the time go. I hope everyone who visits here had a great Christmas and peaceful new year. Sadly, it seems Clint's latest movie, Trouble with the Curve failed to ignite the box office both here in the UK or in deed the U.S. I did finally get around to seeing it, and thought it was entertaining enough, but I'm not going to dwell or deliberate over it right now, but instead will probably return to it in due course within its dedicated area of this site.
What has been very encouraging is the continuing commitment to some great soundtrack releases from Intrada. I would of liked to have told you all about these in advance, but there was a slight conflict in that I was assisting in a couple of these releases and therefore had to remain silent until they were officially made available.
Over the last few months Intrada have released a fistful of very welcome Eastwood soundtracks, all of which received their debut releases. Firstly, it was wonderful to see one of my personal favourites, Coogan’s Bluff (1969) (Intrada Special Collection Volume 223) finally receive an official release. For decades it was only available on a very poor sounding bootleg LP that contained less than 10 minutes of music. Intrada has provided a fully restored CD which contains the full score as well as the memorable song ‘Pigeon-Toed Orange Peel’, unused versions of the main title, unused source cues and 3 tracks featuring Schifrin’s music from the film’s radio spots. The CD provides almost 57 minutes of music and contains an excellent booklet featuring detailed notes and colour stills.
The John Sturges western Joe Kidd (1972) (Intrada Special Collection Volume 234) featured Clint in the title role, whilst the soundtrack offers one of composer Lalo Schifrin’s most exciting and evocative scores. Joe Kidd is a former bounty hunter in the American Southwest. When a band of Mexicans (lead by John Saxon as Louis Chama) find their U. S. land claims denied and all relevant records destroyed in a courthouse fire, they are forced into conflict. Schifrin’s music provides an array of varied cues and often featuring Spanish-tinged motifs. The main title in particular, is a rather delicate piece, but don’t be fooled, the music soon grows in strength as the score advances and results in plenty of action cues, all of which are delivered in signature Schifrin style.
Intrada presents the complete score from pristine condition multi-track stereo session elements courtesy of Universal Pictures. Highly informative liner notes by Schifrin authority Nick Redman plus reversible covers containing original Universal/Malpaso art from both America and Europe complete the exciting package. On a personal level, and having assisted art director Joe Sikoryak on this project, it is particularly rewarding to see Schifrin’s long overdue score finally see the light of day.
Also released for the first time is Jerry Fielding’s score to the Clint Eastwood/Don Siegel collaboration Escape from Alcatraz (1979) (Intrada Special Collection Volume 236). Confined spaces, cold conditions and containment were reoccurring themes that inspired composer Fielding to explore 'musique concrete' techniques. As Fielding suggested, ‘There's nothing lyrical about it; there's nothing poetic about it. It's an awful place’. First performed by orchestra, Fielding’s intense music was then reshaped in a variety of styles during the mixing process to produce an unorthodox sound. The result was uniquely original and highly unusual for a feature film. The complete score appears alongside alternative and unused cues. Due to the rare nature of score, (much of it was created mechanically in the studio after recording), finished mixes in varying stages of mono, multiple mono and stereo are necessarily the only elements that can be presented. They have been expertly mixed here into two-channel stereo by Chris Malone to afford optimal listening pleasure and the result is well worth a listen. Intrada were kind enough to also include a further score from a Siegel’s film, Hell is for Heroes (1962). Starring Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin and James Coburn, the film is a stark World War II drama. Composed by Leonard Rosenman, the score is an exciting (if rather too brief) excursion into the psychology of men in war. Its inclusion makes for a fabulous bonus.