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Category:    Home > Reviews > Spy > Action > Thriller > Soundtrack > Deadfall (Limited CD)

Deadfall  (Limited Edition CD Soundtrack)


Sound: B     Music: B



John Barry was in rare form in the late 1960s, logging up scores for two of the best Bond films ever made (You Only Live Twice (1967) and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)), as well as serious classics like Born Free (1966) and the late John Schlesinger’s masterwork Midnight Cowboy (1969).  Less seen and heard is Bryan Forbes’ Deadfall, a 1968 20th Century Fox film, that offers Barry reuniting with Shirley Bassey, and scoring another Michael Caine film.


Barry had Bassey for the 1964 Bond film Goldfinger, then did the music a year later for The Ipcress File, a film that helped put Caine on the map.  It seemed like a good combination, but even the Fox Movie Channel is not showing this 1968 film, where jewel thief Caine falls for the daughter of a woman actually married to her gay father!!!


Whatever kind of film that is supposed to be, and the advertising makes it look more like a thriller than a drama, this score is not bad.  The biggest problem is simply that there are only eight tracks to this CD and half of them are “My Love Has Two Faces”.  Though track seven has an unknown male vocalist, leaving five and eight all-instrumental versions, it is track one that is bound to be the one to discuss.  This is Shirley Bassey’s version, when her voice was still in the stage it was when she cut Goldfinger.  Her voice would get a little lower and fuller by the time she cut the stunning Bond title theme to 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, but this was more like the same voice that launched thousands of imitators and remains an all-time standard for vocalists singing for film.  Her version is supposed to remind us of the ’64 Bond, while the male version sounds like an attempt at a redux of Tom Jones’ theme for Thunderball, the Bond film a year later.


Either way, the lyrics by Jack Lawrence are not bad.  He never wrote a Bond theme, or anything I am familiar with, but the words are not corny or unintentionally funny, so he did well.  Barry’s music may be short here by CD standards, but some of the music is impressive, with the centerpiece being “Romance for Guitar and Orchestra”.  It is a 14:18-long work that goes with the most important action in the film, a multi-layered and uniquely edited section that sounds like it was partly inspired by Hitchcock and his 1956 remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much down to having absolutely no heard dialogue.


Given that it plays so well and offers some fancy guitar work by Renata Tarrago, it is no surprise that it is a Barry-fan favorite and some outstanding work that can be easily enjoyed without ever seeing the film.  I liked all eight tracks, but sonically, this CD is a little brighter at the high-end than I expected.  It was issued in 1997, when Polygram Records still existed, since bought out by MCA/Universal Records.  All the tracks are in stereo, except the last two, which are bonus monophonic versions of the title song.


Despite sonic and length limitations, this is a nice CD and is good film music.  It is still in print, and available at www.filmscoremonthly.com while supplies last.  Once this version runs out, it may not be for a few years until DVD-Audio or Super Audio CD reissues, that we’ll get it again, so think about that if it sounds like a buy.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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