The 5-Man Army/Morricone

November 19, 2009

One of the more successful spaghetti westerns, due to backing from MGM and the hot box-office actor Peter “Mission Impossible” Graves, the The Five-Man Army (1969), directed by Don Taylor, provided an above average story of a $500,000 train robbery. The suspenseful 30-minute train robbery, one of the better filmed, makes this well worth watching. If you haven’t seen the film before, the ending is also a bit of surprise. Overall, a good watch.

Ennio Morricone, of the most prolific composers of all time, created a theme even more memorable than his previous spaghetti western films. Using an unusual quirky combination including flute, woodwinds, and violin fiddling the haunting melody will definitely get into your brain and if your anything like me it will be stuck there for quite sometime and yes it is repeated a lot but downloading just the main title track (the only one in stereo) would cause you to miss a lot of good additional material.

The death march theme “Muerte Donde Vas?” appears first as a lyric sung in Spanish to a condemned man, a quieter version played on the Cor Anglais as traveling music out of the city, and a slow funeral like pace again featuring the English Horn. The “Death of the West Theme” is a quiet somber one also that could remind you of similar themes in other western films Morricone did. Used in the background when the group was recalling old times and as a motif that refusing to cooperate meant death it is yet another effective theme. Both themes are one that could easily be mistaken for any of a 100 similar themes that Ennio composed over the years for his endless output of material for the Italian silver screen. In addition to these three main themes that dominate much of the score there are some nice additional underscore tracks, which are noteworthy. “I Bambini e I Fiori” is a romantic interlude for guitar, “Tension Theme,” a somewhat dissonant escape cue with uneasiness in the music. No score from Morricone would be complete without a harmonica solo and albeit a short cue “Harmonica Source “ offers a somewhat comical one. “Out of Time” features repetitive bars with the sound of a clock adding to the urgency of the scene.

With the exception of the “Main Title” this recording is in monaural with a very slight amount or reverb added. According to the liner notes previous recordings have had issues with speed among other problems. As a reviewer who has listened to this recording multiple times I found no issues with this FSM release. The liner notes from Bender and Kaplan were well written with all of the appropriate information included about the film and the tracks.

This is yet another score that will definitely grow on you with repeated plays and is one to consider for your collection to even the casual Morricone listener. If you already have one of the previous releases this one may very well be to your liking considering the audio improvements and the addition of extra material. This is not a limited release. Recommended.

CD# FSM Vol. 12 No. 16

Produced by Lukas Kendall

Digital Mastering by Douglas Schwarz

Track listing

1. Un Esercito di Cinque Uomini (Main Title, stereo) (02:53)


2. Un Esercito di Cinque Uomini (The Chicken Farm/The Mining Colony) (02:04)


3. Un Esercito di Cinque Uomini (The Circus/To Morales) (02:42)


4. Muerte Donde Vas? (The Execution) (02:32)


5. I Bambini e i Fiori (Flowers and Food) (01:17)


6. A Cinque Amici, Cinque Eroi (Introductions) (02:18)


7. Muerte Donde Vas? (The Journey) (02:49)


8. A Cinque Amici, Cinque Eroi (Interrogation)/Muerte Donde Vas? (Captured) (01:46)


9. Tension Theme (Escape) (03:31)


10. Un Esercito di Cinque Uomini (Maria’s Goodbye/Pursuit) (02:13)


11. Muerte Donde Vas? (Rebel Aid) (01:23)


12. Heroic Theme (The Train) (00:33)


13. Comic Theme (Ambushing the Truck) (00:12)


14. Harmonica Source (To the Station House) (00:42)


15. A Cinque Amici, Cinque Eroi (Already Dead) (02:17)


16. Un Esercito di Cinque Uomini (Departure/Army in Disguise/Underneath the Train) (01:57)


17. Comic Theme (Close Call)/Tension Theme (The First Move)/Tension Theme (The Next Move) (02:51)


18. Una Corsa Disperata (Samurai Runs) (04:14)


19. Contro il Tempo (Surprise Guests)/Contro il Tempo (Mesito Prepares) (00:58)


20. Contro il Tempo (Out of Time) (04:25)


21. Un Esercito di Cinque Uomini (Success) (01:02)


22. Muerte Donde Vas? (The Dutchman’s Cause) (02:44)


23. Tension Theme and Muerte Donde Vas? (New Recruits) (04:59)

Bonus Tracks

24. Un Esercito di Cinque Uomini (Main Title, mono) (02:54)


25. Muerte Donde Vas? (Album track) (04:11)


Total Duration: 00:59:27