Film Noir’s Finest/Compilation of Composers
June 23, 2013
Many of the films featured in this compilation from BSX (digital download only) are not noir films but all of them do feature a nice laid back arrangement featuring the piano and synthesizer, with trumpet and sax solos when called for. My template for a noir film is “Out of the Past” or “Gun Crazy,” films that I own and have seen many times. This release is your classic ‘elevator’ background music that is a lot nicer to listen to while on hold while you’re waiting on hold than some of the music, if you can even call it that.
While this compilation includes some of the ones you’d expect to hear such as “Body Heat,” “Chinatown,” “Laura,” and “Basic Instinct” it also includes an original composition “Film Noir Suite” by Dennis McCarthy, the other Laura theme by Henry Mancini from “Remington Steele.” I’ve included this track as an audio clip. https://sdtom.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/15-remington-steele-lauras-theme.mp3 Hank does his usual fine job with a laid back trumpet introducing the melody which is eventually taken over by the synths. Jerry Goldsmith offers the theme from “The Detective” a haunting melody with strings, xylophone, trumpet, and piano, a good example of a bar song that you might pay attention to. The Christopher Young composition from “Jennifer Eight” is performed by Dennis McCarthy with the staccato notes from the right hand blending in perfectly with the chords from the left hand. In my mind it is one of the better melodies from Young. A second Mancini selection “Physical Evidence” was arranged for solo piano by Mark Northam and hardly sounds noir at all in fact it plays out like an etude with a nice melody as well as harmony from the left hand. “Eastern Promises from Howard Shore is another selection that doesn’t fit the noir mold but does offer a duet for piano and violin. This reviewer was so taken with the trombone work on the OST of “Farewell My Lovely” that I didn’t recognize it in the prelude portion. As it turned out it was another lovely piano solo from Mark Northam. “Dirty Harry” was performed by Northam but this time the offering came on the synth, which was a good choice for the Schifrin main title.
Selections that do fit the mold of noir include “Body Heat,” “Basic Instinct,” “Chinatown, “Shamus,” and “Laura.” The Laura theme is played quite nicely again in a classical style in parts along with a laid back style.
This release is not going to be for everyone with its overall ‘elevator’ style as I explained before. The digital file sounds fine at 256kps for the type of arrangements that were used. I would say that it was designed to be listened to on an MP3 player or computer which isn’t close to audiophile quality.
1… Body Heat (Barry) (3:18)
2… Jagged Edge (Barry) (2:14)
3… Basic Instinct (Goldsmith) (2:21)
4… Chinatown (Goldsmith) (2:01)
5… Physical Evidence (Mancini) (2:28)
6… Blade Runner (Vangelis) (4:57)
7… 2 Days in the Valley (Goldsmith) (2:26)
8… Blow Out (Donaggio)
9… Eastern Promises (Shore) (4:39)
10…Jennifer 8 (Young) (2:55)
11…Farewell My Lovely (Shire) (3:32)
12…Dirty Harry (Schifrin) (4:57)
13…Laura (Raksin) (4:30)
14…Bodyguard (Silvestri) (2:45)
15…Remington Steele (Mancini) (2:11)
16…Shamus (Goldsmith) (3:38)
17…Still of the Night (Kander) (3:19)
18…Detective (Goldsmith) (3:10)
19…The Unsaid (Davis) (2:54)
20…Film Noir Suite (McCarthy) (7:23)
Total Time is 70:34