100 Rifles (Limited
Edition CD Soundtrack)
Sound: B Music:
Knowing he was scoring a film that was a button-pressing
B-film that happened to be a Western, Jerry Goldsmith went all out to come up
with an interesting score for Tom Gries’ 100 Rifles (1969). Despite a fine cast that included Jim Brown,
Raquel Welsh, Burt Reynolds, Fernando Lamas, Eric Braeden, and Dan O’Herlihy, a
screenplay disappointed filmgoers. Instead, the film tried to get by on the
then-hot sex scene between Welch and Brown, but that made it seem all the more
exploitative, despite their appeal.
Of course, Goldsmith’s score was one of the few
highlights, released here for the first time ever as a stand-alone release from
the FSM label of the magazine Film Score Monthly. As always, there is a nicely illustrated,
informative booklet in the case and the CD is limited to the usual 3,000-only
The nice thing about this edition is that it offers the
score twice: once in stereo, then in a monophonic version that actually offers
a few more tracks. Either way, the
music is good, though broader and comparatively more commercial. This is not a Western score that inspires
deep thought or is profound like Rio Conchos (reviewed elsewhere on this
site) or Ennio Morricone’s work on Italian “spaghetti” Westerns. It is very serviceable and likely did its
best to save the film.
The PCM CD sound is very good, including on the mono
materials, which is not always easy, but these tracks were taken for the Fox
archive and the stereo mixes are brand-new from the original stems. The results are so good, they film could be
reissued on DVD with a nice 5.1 mix, if the non-music materials are in good
enough shape. The get-up-and-go
attitude of the theme song comes through we either way.
This is the kind of score that could appeal to non-Western
fans, but especially to Goldsmith fans and those who would enjoy an extensive
look and listen for an underrated film score.
You can order your copy at www.filmscoremonthly.com
along with other great scores now.
- Nicholas Sheffo