Eye of the Devil/McFarland

March 24, 2008

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Gary McFarland, primarily known for his wonderful contribution to jazz, specifically the soft samba sound, wrote only 2 major film soundtracks, and the 1966 occult/supernatural Eye of the Devil, starring Deborah Kerr, David Niven, and Sharon Tate is the only one to be released. Finally completed by the 4th hired director J. Lee Thompson, this film was barraged with one catasrophe after another ranging from an accident to David Niven, replacement of KIm Novak who was also hurt during the filming, to other calamities according to John Bender, author of the very informative liner notes. In spite of all of these problems none of them spilled over to the score and McFarland contributed an excellent soundtrack to a film that was quite ordinary.Many times this reviewer will have a preconceived idea about a score based on the composer and this score was no exception, with the idea being completely wrong. While there are some strong hints of jazz sprinkled in the score, this is a movie soundtrack! The “Main Theme/Phillippe’s Study” opening track began with a harp prelude and then the solo harp unfolds the theme along with a very nice structured harmony for nearly the entire track. Toward the end there is a bass line and the harp emulates a piano in a light jazzy section. It is a very strong theme, one that McFarland recorded more than once on his jazz style albums under the name of “13” or “One I Could Have Loved”. While this soundtrack can certainly not be classified as a monothematic one, the theme is used in several of the tracks in different keys and orchestrations. Gary makes good use of the harpsichord, something which emphasizes a feeling of the archaic. The last track “Trailer” is an exercise in a percussion only cue for the film trailer, definitely 60’s jazz, with marimba, and a fine drum solo. “You Must Help Me” is slowly building underscore with constant percussion and a slow buildup of instrumentation, not unlike Bolero in the way its arranged but there is not the influence of Gil Evans that Lukas Kendall quotes, producer and writer of the track by track analysis. The buildup continues in “Parapet Pt. 1” and “Parapet Pt. 2” to a finale. “Jacques and the Eye” concludes with a wordless choir restating the main theme, albiet somewhat dissonant.

As mentioned above, the extremely detailed liner notes about the making of the film by John Bender and excellent track by track analysis by Lukas Kendall are just icing on the cake. Also included is information about the original release including the track listing, but this Verve LP was never sold in the open market. Gary also did the film score for Who Killed Mary What’s Er Name but it has never been released and McFarland died quite tragically soon afterwards. Anyone who has even a remote interest in the 60’s jazz/pop music or if tastes gravitate toward the unusual will find this Film Score Monthly release to be quite rewarding. Highly recommended.

Golden Score Rating is ****

CD# is FSM Vol. 11 No.1

Produced by Lukas Kendall

Track listing1. Main Theme / Philippe’s Study (04:49)

2. Drive To Chateau (01:00)

3. Catherine’s Drive (01:30)

4. Int. Chateau Night / Jacques In Bed (03:21)

5. Odile And Children (01:21)

6. Arrow Into Tree (01:28)

7. Catherine In Chateau At Night / Children On Parapet / Catherine And Odile On Parapet / Children On Steeple (05:14)

8. Christian Galloping / Horses (00:50)

9. The Grave In The Forest (05:12)

10. Nightmare (02:34)

11. Procession (03:03)

12. Catherine To Tower (03:34)

13. You Must Help Me (05:30)

14. Parapet Pt. 1 (02:20)

15. Parapet Pt. 2 (02:32)

16. Jacques And The Eye (01:23)

17. Trailer (02:33)

Total Duration: 00:48:14

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