Straw Dogs/Larry Groupe

November 1, 2011

Rod Lurie directed and wrote the screenplay for Straw Dogs this remake of the Sam Peckinpah 1971 thriller starring Dustin Hoffman, released during a time when violence in films was the order of the day. Rod even went so far as to use a very similar theatrical poster. The 2011 version stars James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, James Woods, and Alexander Skarsgard. Instead of the original London location the new version takes place in Louisiana. The title of the film comes from a discussion in the Tao Te Ching which likens the ancient Chinese ceremonial straw dog to forms without substance.Larry Groupe, veteran writer of over 50 films and best known for his The Contender (2000) soundtrack offers an acoustical score from a symphony orchestra complemented by synthesizer. The electronic material, enhance the score. Larry treats the electronics as another instrument in the orchestra that makes this score sound better.

Highlights include The Main Title which offers a strong melody, one not easily forgotten, that is used throughout the score. It begins with a string chamber orchestra opening. The theme is allowed to develop as much as it can in a minute and is complemented by an echo from the synthesizer. Charlie Flirts continues the main theme with organ synth as well as the echo continuing. Southern Daddies opens with a classic sounding Herrmann cue straight from his Sinfonietta for Strings. The main theme is heard as a variation and the synth/organ motif adds to the darkness and one has an eerie feeling that something is amiss. Covet Thy Neighbor’s Wife is a variation of the main theme that is part of a dark minor underscore harmony from the low register. The Farm restates the main theme as well as offering distorted modern sounding strings. Quarry begins with an eerie organ, dissonant loud brass and offers darker underscore. The Uninvited repeats the same motif from Flashbacks. There is a science fiction motif and sliding dissonant trombones. A modern sounding motif and certainly quite different from the Victor Young theme! Hard Feelings repeat the Flashbacks motif as well as the main theme in a Herrmann style. Janice Love Theme is also used in Janice Flirts featuring the bassoon and a bit of an Irish flavor to it. End Credits, the longest cue, sums up the score quite nicely.This is a good solid score with excellent orchestration, thematic material, and arranging. It is well recorded and offers a nice first introduction to Groupe. This release has no # and is available as a CD’R on demand through Amazon and other outlets as well as a digital download.

Track listing


Main Title (From Straw Dogs) (1:17)


Charlie Flirts (0:56)


Southern Daddies (2:05)


Covet They Neighbor’s Wife (1:37)


The Farm (1:47)


Quarry (1:26)


Where’s Flutey (1:42)


David Goes Hunting (1:25)


Dogs Of Straw (2:29)


Flashbacks (1:11)


The Uninvited (1:58)


Hard Feelings (1:57)


Janice Flirts (1:03)


Dead Flutey (1:28)


Going Inward (1:05)


Coach Deddon (1:56)


Janice Love Theme (1:35)


Janice Dies (1:03)


Charlie’s Appeal (2:54)


Liason Dare (1:29)


Who’s In Charge? (2:00)


Sheriff Burke (3:15)


Man Up (2:29)


Not On My Watch (3:10)


Amy’s Revenge (1:28)


Got’em All (1:19)


End Credits (5:30)Total Time is 52:18

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