The Dead Pool/Lalo Schifrin

January 8, 2009

Whenever a theme uses a lonely mourning trumpet, it immediately attracts my attention. “Farewell, My Lovely,” “Chinatown,” and “L.A. Confidential” are similar in nature and some of my favorites themes. Such is also the case with “The Dead Pool”, the fifth and likely the last installment of the “Dirty Harry” Callahan series. As Clint is approaching 80 at the time of this writing the odds of a #6 are remote but with Hollywood one should never say never. The film, directed by Buddy Van Horn, usually a stunt coordinator and even today works with Clint on stunts, starred Patricia Clarkson, and Liam Neeson, both rising stars at the time and even had a small role for the now superstar Jim Carrey, who played a drug addicted rock star killed off early in the film. The idea of a pool of who will die is a bit of a reach for a plot and this reviewer had little interest in the film itself. It offered little more than an opportunity to cash in on “Dirty Harry” as a character and violence to produce a box office success. However, there is a cool car chase sequence between a radio remote car full of explosives and a real one that does keep your attention for a time, but overall the main reason to watch or re-watch the film is for the musical score, especially if you’re interested in the music of Lalo Schifrin.”The Dead Pool” features a blending of synthesized and traditional acoustic instrumentation for the 40 minute score giving it a modern sound for the plot of the film dealing with newer age horror movies yet also telling the sound of Callahan by now a grizzled veteran and definitely out of the past and not fitting in anymore. “The Pool” offers the listener somber low register underscore along with some traveling material featuring hints of “Bullitt” and “Mission Impossible” in the cue. “Something In Return” is a lounge jazz quartet piece featuring the sax in an improv style work all too short. “The Car” is a clever cue which is a eerie lower register sprinkled with dissonant brass and synthesizer, including a clever use of the tick tock in the car bomb using brass and percussion, an excellent track! “Main Title,” opening the film to an extended shot of the city at night, is mostly synthesized material setting the mood for the story. “San Francisco Night” and “The Pier, The Bridge, and The City” are very similar and feature the unforgettable Callahan “love” theme, a trademark sounding Lalo melody. Even though I would have preferred a real sax instead of the electronic wind sound it is still top notch.

CD booklet notes are provided by the producer Nick Redman who gives general information about the 5 “Dirty Harry” films Eastwood did, including more detail about this final installment as well as the editing together of some of the cues into suites to make it more pleasing for listening purposes. Included in the notes is a listing of the orchestra members for the scoring session.

Overall I found this to be a pleasant listening experience and a welcome addition to the Aleph label of music from this superb composer.
Track listing

1. San Francisco Night (03:42)

2. Main Title (01:42)

3. The Pool (02:39)

4. Time To Get Up (02:06)

5. High And Dry (03:03)

6. Something In Return (02:19)

7. The Rules (03:04)

8. The Last Autograph (04:09)

9. The Car (05:53)

10. Kidnap And Rescue (04:30)

11. Harpoon (03:09)

12. The Pier, The Bridge And The City (03:41)

Total Duration: 00:39:57

CD# is Aleph 042
Mastered by Daniel Hersch
Composed, Conducted, and Orchestrated by Lalo Schifrin


3 Responses to “The Dead Pool/Lalo Schifrin”

  1. Nice review. Initially I was going to get this only to complete my Callahan collection, but reading your review makes me want to see the film again; this time with my attention focused on the score as it “appears” in the film. Besides, anything that makes the interminable remote control car sequence less unbearable can’t hurt.

  2. Glenn Says:

    A very good review, sir.

    I have been waiting for this to get released for 20 years. Wonderful score.

    However, I’m very curious as to why “San Francisco Night” and “The Pier, The Bridge, & The City” are the exact same cue… weird.

  3. Paul Tlusty Says:

    Can you buy this soundtrack of the movie?

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