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Where Eagles Dare/Operation Crossbow (1968/1965)
Music by Ron Goodwin
Where Eagles Dare/Operation Crossbow Where Eagles Dare/Operation Crossbow Where Eagles Dare/Operation Crossbow
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $24.95
Limited #: 10000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: January 2004
Catalog #: Vol. 6, No. 21
# of Discs: 2

Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music

"Broadsword calling Danny Boy"! The 1968 WWII film Where Eagles Dare is the model of a no-nonsense military adventure, with Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood leading an Allied rescue mission into an impregnable German fortress high atop a mountain. Scripted by Alistair MacLean (The Guns of Navarone, Ice Station Zebra), who provides gripping plot twists, the film has become a virtual institution in Britain, beloved for its straight-faced depiction of machine-gun-wielding good guys blowing up everything in sight.

Composer Ron Goodwin (1925-2003) was an equally beloved British composer who contributed a number of popular scores, such as Of Human Bondage (1964), Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965), and four Miss Marple films. But Goodwin was best-known for his war efforts, such as 633 Squadron (1963) and Battle of Britain (1969), of which Where Eagles Dare was unusual in that it eschewed major-key pomp in favor of gritty, minor-mode determination. The title music embodies the single-minded ambition of the protagonists to infiltrate the mountain fortress and complete their mission, and becomes the basis for the entire score, which is full of hard-nosed suspense and pounding symphonic action.

This release also features another of Goodwin's WWII scores, for Operation Crossbow, the 1965 procedural adventure about German efforts to develop long-range rocket weapons, and the Allied mission to counter them. George Peppard stars as an American agent going undercover, with Sophia Loren top-billed in a brief appearance as a beleaguered widow, and a large multinational cast (including Richard Johnson, Patrick Wymark, John Mills, Trevor Howard, Barbara Rueting, Paul Henreid, Jeremy Kemp and Tom Courtenay) speaking their native languages with subtitles—rare for the period.

Goodwin's score to Operation Crossbow features a main theme more in line with his work on the genre—evoking optimistic British patriotism—with churning, dynamic music for the German war efforts, and flavorful suspense for the unfolding mission. The lengthy interlude with Loren features sympathetic, melodic music for the woman's allure—rare, romantic work for the genre, and a highlight of the release.

The complete underscore to Where Eagles Dare comprises disc one of this release—the first-ever release of the film soundtrack, as the LP was a re-recording. This has been newly mixed and mastered from 1/2" three-track tapes in the Turner archives. The score to Operation Crossbow can be found on disc two (complete except for one short cue); this part of the album has been mastered from 1/4" two-track tapes possessed by the composer, as studio masters no longer exist. Complete source music from Where Eagles Dare—plus earlier, alternate versions of the Eagles cable car cues—rounds out disc two. The entire release is in stereo.

Ron Goodwin Scores on FSM
About the Composer

English composer Ron Goodwin (1925-2003) was most active in the 1960s and '70s and beloved for his tuneful war scores for "boys own" adventures—see 633 Squadron, Where Eagles Dare and Force 10 From Navarone. He also wrote charming scores for the Miss Marple mysteries and was successful as a conductor (performing many film music concerts) and recording artist. IMDB

Comments (106):Log in or register to post your own comments
Where Eagles Dare is a fabulous score ... it amazes me that this classic score hasn't sold out. It probably loses a little if played through headphones as this is a score which needs power. Nowhere near my favourite score but indespensible. Not in the same class (and sound quality a little off top quality) but Operation Crossbow is a great listen, too ... so much better than the single theme to be found on many compilations of Ron Goodwin's music.

Still is my #1 favorite score of all time.

Lukas is gonna kill me for this, but do we really need to have the CD comments duplicated at the messageboard? To have the comments from the blogs posted is one thing (that kinda makes sense, I guess), but I'm not so sure about these CD "reviews", which is really an entity of its own and isn't automatically a point of discussion.

Or alternatively, is there a way to "block" out these particular comments, like we are able to block out the avatars? That would be neat.

Lukas is gonna kill me for this, but do we really need to have the CD comments duplicated at the messageboard? To have the comments from the blogs posted is one thing (that kinda makes sense, I guess), but I'm not so sure about these CD "reviews", which is really an entity of its own and isn't automatically a point of discussion.

Or alternatively, is there a way to "block" out these particular comments, like we are able to block out the avatars? That would be neat.


You're right. Lukas is going to want to kill you.

LOL Thor's just pissed because his original threads could be superceded. :)

Thor, my initial impression was the same, but then again I think it's a new feature and the popping up of new threads resulting from this new feature might slow down a lot after an initial make-up period. Let's see how it works out first.

And there's a good side to this: This guarantees that additional comments through this new feature always remain in the SAME thread! :)

Or alternatively, is there a way to "block" out these particular comments, like we are able to block out the avatars? That would be neat.

No, but thankfully we're able to block out posters.

And there's a good side to this: This guarantees that additional comments through this new feature always remain in the SAME thread! :)

Not really, because there are already many threads on WHERE EAGLES DARE and OPERATION CROSSBOW that ARE actual discussions, initiated for that purpose. These CD comments - posted at a totally different place and not really intended for interaction in the first place - wouldn't necessarily form a discussion and is really out-of-place on a messageboard, IMO. But hey, I like the whole CD comments thing.

Not that big of a problem, I guess, but I just picture the board full of CD comment threads with lots of incoherent and individual posts that aren't really adressing each other. But I'm willing to see how it plays out first.

Of course, the even more confusing thing is that my comments are also now posted simultaneously below the CD, in "comments" area, disrupting what is supposed to be list of relevant comments about that particular CD!

I've an idea...

Let's change the name of this board to THOR SCORE MONTHLY.

I guess, but I just picture the board full of CD comment threads with lots of incoherent and individual posts that aren't really adressing each other. But I'm willing to see how it plays out first.

I don't know why you think that because for most of us, we see these show up on the board first and not on the CD page, so its like any other discussion thread.

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