Tip On A Dead Jockey/Rozsa

May 6, 2010

Starring Robert Taylor, Dorothy Malone, and Jack Lord Tip On A Dead Jockey, a psychological study of the effects of war on a pilot, is not a film that I could recommend to you except to hear the Rozsa score in the movie, something I always find useful when reviewing a score. Richard Thorpe, director of 184 films (no Oscar nominations) that included Ivanhoe, Knights of the Roundtable, and Tarzan’s New York Adventure, went through the motions on this one.

This 29 minute score with 13 minutes of additional tracks can be put into the category of good solid material to a very ordinary film. It would be the exception if someone ranked this as their favorite Rozsa but I’ve not read anything negative about it either. “The Main Title” has a similar sound to Brute Force, The Killers, and to a lesser degree The Lost Weekend. This noir style that Rozsa developed in the 40’s will be heard in tracks such as “Accident,” a tense filled track full of gloom, and minor chords. “Madrid” is a simple Spanish style flavor melody to introduce us to Spain where much of the film takes place. It is pretty low key in nature without the loud trumpets and percussion. It sometimes alternates with a playful Spanish theme played rather upbeat on the bassoon of all instruments. I can envision these bars going along with a cartoon character. The love theme which is introduced in the “The Main Title,” “Finale,” and other tracks is a good one filled with romance and hope. The bonus material includes the recycled “Madam Bovary Waltz,” and an easy listening dance number “Red Chips” from Hans Salter, who wrote the material for a 1950 MGM film. I found myself humming this one for a couple days after listening to it.

The casual listener to Rozsa could very easily make the mistake that the sound of this material came from his 40’s movies. I would agree that parts of the score could very easily have been interchanged with parts of Brute Force, The Killers, or other films. It does have its own theme, a lovely romantic one, some playful material, and a taste of a Spanish flavor. As far as I know the only way to get this is from the Rozsa box. There was a release on Tickertape TT3011 11 years ago which is pretty much gone. The recording is 7 minutes longer and offers alternate versions of the “Main Title,” “Plane Crash,” “Reunion,” and “Accident At The Race Track,” but doesn’t include “Improvisation.” The alternate versions offer very little from Tickertape and frankly isn’t worth pursuing. I like Tip on a Dead Jockey a lot and it reinforced my decision of getting the Rozsa box from FSM. Recommended

Track Listing:

1. Main Title 1:34

2. Madrid/ Good Riddance 1:16

3. Crash 2:35

4. Phyllis Arrives 1:29

5. Double Talk 3:25

6. Accident 2:39

7. Short Story 1:22

8. Worried/ Undecided/ Hideout 3:48

9. Accusations 2:50

10. Farewell 1:06

11. Take Off/

Cairo 5:33

12. Finale 1:02

 Total Time: 29:01

 Bonus Tracks 

13. The Happy Idiot Waltz 2:07

14. Madame Bovary Waltz 4:05

15. Improvisation 1:15

16. Red Chips (Hans J. Salter) 3:13

17. Take Off, Part 1 (alternate) 2:05

Total Time: 12:53

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