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Thursday, June 21, 2007

CD REVIEW - The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen
Music by Frank De Vol
Film Score Monthly Vol.10 No.5 (US)
35 Tracks 79:58 mins

Having heard much hype about this war film as a kid, I remember being very disappointed in it when I finally got to see it on TV years later. I think mostly it was the lack of sympathetic characters that left me cold. Unlike the characters in the likes of The Magnificent Seven, one just didn't care when they met their various demises.
I'm not sure whether I purchased the soundtrack album before or after seeing the film, but I think it was before. Either way, I was disappointed with that too and it didn't linger long in my collection. This new release of the score is an improvement on that album, but it is still quite a downbeat effort, save for the often comical variations on the likes of "You're in the Army Now," "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" and the "National Emblem March."
The main theme itself is quite good, a march, sometimes played low-key and just occasionally in more proud incarnations but, appropriately, it isn't the kind of heroic march, often featured in war films of the era.
The other key figure is a three-note "danger" motif, which comes into its own once the mission has began. Earlier, during the training exercises, things are kept much more light, utilising the pieces mentioned earlier. The mission is in fact, again appropriately, scored suspensefully, but there is some excitement generated as the survivors make their escape.
Within the body of the score are a couple of original songs, one sung by a popular artist of the time, Trini Lopez, who is cast in the film, but ends up as the first casualty of the mission. The 21 minutes of bonus tracks at the end of the dics are largely source cues, original or otherwise, though there are also album versions of the songs and the main theme.
Accompanying the disc is the usual high quality booklet, filled with colour stills from the film, with Daniel Champion's notes on the film and score, together with the customary cue-by-cue guide and original LP liner notes.
For further info, sound clips and to order your copy, go to


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