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Friday, January 30, 2009


The Dead Pool
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Aleph Records 042 (US)
12 Tracks 40:09 mins

1988's The Dead Pool was the fifth and final Dirty Harry movie, all of which, save for The Enforcer (due to a scheduling conflict), carried scores by Lalo Schifrin. In addition to star Clint Eastwood, the cast also included Patricia Clarkson and Liam Neeson, with a plot regarding a serial killer obsessed with the work of Neeson's film director character.
With this release, Aleph Records has now made available all the Dirty Harry scores (including Jerry Fielding's The Enforcer). The film is quite sparsely scored, with only 40 minutes or so of the 90 minutes plus running time featuring music. Some cues are very brief, so have been edited into longer "suites" for this CD release.
The album opens with the easy blues-pop of "San Francisco Night," perfectly illustrating the city after dark. The "Main Title" follows and is firmly rooted in the drum-loop scoring culture of the times. Dark doings are obviously afoot at the start of "The Pool," but the drums kick in as the track kicks off. "Time to Get Up" hints at the killer's warped state of mind, as the music builds to a violent crescendo. The feeling of madness continues in "High and Dry," with the persistent tinkling piano from the opening of "The Pool" returning to add to the same "warped" material from the previous track, but the drums return to provide an action-based conclusion. "Something in Return" provides some light relief, an easy listening piece of sax-lead source jazz, and there's more to follow in the romantic alto-sax theme and pastoral piano tune featured in "The Rules." After a tense opening to "The Last Autograph" there's a fragment of the composer's theme for Harry as the music picks up; but sadly it doesn't last, as funky dance music interrupts. More dark doings follow in this widely varied track, as another victim obviously bites the dust. The following "The Car" is largely a tense and menacing affair, with Psycho-like murder music to boot. "Kidnap and Rescue" is largely more of the same, though Schifrin's music tells us that Harry is on the case. The penultimate track, "Harpoon," offers propulsive, keyboard-enhanced action writing early on; with the "San Francisco Night" theme returning to conclude the score in satisfying manner in "The Pier, the Bridge and the City."
Accompanying the disc is a foldout booklet, featuring Nick Redman's detailed notes on the film and its score, together with stills from the movie. You should be able to pick up a copy at your usual soundtrack retailer, or you can order direct from The album is also available via iTunes.


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