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Game of Death / Night Games (Original Soundtrack Recording)

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Album Review

British film composer John Barry, known for his scores for the James Bond films From Russia with Love (1963) and Thunderball (1965) seems an unusual choice to write the music for The Chase, a politically charged escaped convict drama set in rural Texas, a long way from the casinos and high-tech villains' lairs frequented by the sophisticated super spy. But then, the project, an elaborate misfire stuffed with celebrated, high-priced talent (director Arthur Penn, screenwriter Lillian Hellman, stars Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda, and Robert Redford) was littered with odd participants, and Barry was no odder than the rest. One is hard-pressed to find elements of the Southwest in his music. The only local references seem to come in "The Chase Is On," which makes use of a mariachi-style trumpet, as well as banjo and harmonica, but has more the feel of the scores for the recent Spaghetti Westerns A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More, and some stereotypical Hollywood Western sounds, or, as reissue annotator Richard Torres aptly puts it, "in other words, it's Morricone-meets-Steiner." Strangely enough, the chief style of the score is cocktail jazz, with saxophones, walking basslines, and Hammond organ swatches characterizing one after another of the cues. This is interspersed with fairly standard orchestral passages meant to support specific plot points, as demonstrated by titles like "The Beating" and "The Killing — Next Morning."

Biography

Born: 03 November 1933 in York, England

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

John Barry was one of the best-known composers of soundtrack music of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, but his career carried him through a multitude of music genres and styles. He was best-known in film in connection with his work on the James Bond pictures, but Barry was also the holder of five Academy Awards, none of them for the Bond movies. Born Free (for which he won Oscars for Best Score and Best Song), The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa, and Dances with Wolves are hardly unknown films...
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