Edition CD Soundtrack)
B Music: B
When Dirty Harry was originally planned, it
was going to star Frank Sinatra instead of Clint Eastwood. The result was a phenomenal hoped-for hit and
Warner Bros. scrambled to have more than a sequel to the film. One project that surfaced in its wake was McQ (1974), an interesting attempt to
put John Wayne in such a film. When it
works, it is good, and when it does not, it is a real hoot.
the things that clearly worked is the music by Wayne veteran Elmer Bernstein
and it has finally been issued for the first time ever from Film Score
Monthly’s FSM CD soundtrack label, even if it is a limited edition at 3,000
pressings (available for order exclusively at www.filmscoremonthly.com). Bernstein is somewhat emulating the Lalo
Schifrin score from the original Dirty
Harry, but moves on into other areas that are less “street” and more
smoothed out than the Schifrin work. It
also harkens back top the more typical style of detective/police drams, though
at Bernstein’s higher level. He had
never really done music for this kind of storytelling before.
many films of the past, the actual film was issued in movie theaters in optical
mono sound, while the music was recorded in stereo. That is not including the many films that had
vinyl LP soundtracks of the day that were rerecorded especially for record
store release. The music here is exactly
what you hear in the film, but better, as Bernstein was in rare form when he
laid these tracks down. They are diverse
and the exceptional booklet included explains that part of this is due to
several different orchestra configurations.
It feels like Bernstein had all these ideas to get out of himself about
this kind of storytelling and the film benefits greatly as a result.
CD Stereo is good for its age, as the tracks have not been played much and
somehow stayed in good shape in the Warner archives thirty years later. Warner has yet to issue this film on DVD, but
when they do, they ought to offer more than just the usual Dolby Digital 1.0
Mono that most of us are tired of. They
ought to really remix the film, as they did with Enter The Dragon, by adding the music in a 5.1 surround mix. That will still not be as great as having the
score stand-alone as it is here, but would make the film even more entertaining
than it is now.
- Nicholas Sheffo