After a brief hiatus, I now present the next entry in my Goldsmith Complete Score Breakdown series, this time with detailed "advance liner notes" for the TV movie Pursuit (1972), available here to stream online and follow along with every original Goldsmith cue, as indicated by time index below: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3as9mq Edit: just found a YouTube upload too!
None other than Lukas Kendall declared this score to be one of Goldsmith's best in his "mod style", and I have to agree. It was very enjoyable to listen to and much of it plays in the film over extended sequences with minimal dialogue over it. Unfortunately as with Shamus, another "mod" score from the same time period, this score appears to be lost. If tapes were somehow uncovered some day (or if James Fitzpatrick produced a full new recording of the score), I would buy this in an instant. Two main recurring elements of this score are a cool (almost badass) main theme as well as a ticking clock motif to accompany the onscreen countdown (sort of an early version of the ticking clock on 24). The end credits features an entirely new theme, ironically recorded as the "Theme from Pursuit" by James Fitzpatrick for Silva Screen -- the only track ever made available from this score, even though it has little in common with the rest of it. I think the new Silva recording may be somewhat extended as its runtime is longer than the end credits version in the film.
12:07 - 14:36 1. There He Is 2:29 A cool mod cue opens the score during a sequence where Ben Gazzara’s character, an intelligence agent named Steven Graves, follows a man suspected of a plot against the government, James Wright. It seems to end rather abruptly in the film so may have been longer as recorded than it appears. (The cue has the feel of a main title, but the film actually has no main title sequence and music doesn’t appear until over 12 minutes in. Does anyone else besides me think that the main theme that appears a little bit into this cue has a bit of a proto-Gremlins feel?)
15:18 - 16:55 2. The Dare 1:37 As the covert pursuit continues, the main theme gets developed further, with a new lovely counterpoint joining it at the very beginning of this cue.
18:10 - 19:38 3. The Game 1:28 The scoring continues in a similar vein as Graves and his driver discuss the game of cat and mouse being played. About half a minute in, a new queasy percussive motif interjects to accompany the return of a mysterious countdown clock on the screen (the first time it has been punctuated with music, though it appeared unscored earlier in the film). Afterwards a new trumpet melody appears over the continued mod beat before the main theme returns.
23:13 - 23:25 4. Steven Graves :12 This brief cue begins as Graves discovers that Wright knows who he is and has stolen his psychological profile, ending with a statement of the main theme as the film goes to a commercial break.
24:41 - 27:41 5. Preoccupation with Impotence 3:00 As the main title theme continues for more scenes of Graves being driven around, a new flute accompaniment appears, with a cool jazzy feel. Later developments include prominent synthesizer as agents spy on Wright through a telescope.
31:15 - 32:59 6. The Warehouse 1:44 Dramatic tympani playing a fragment of the main theme’s rhythmic accompaniment open the most avant garde cue of the score so far, with unsettling acoustic sounds and echo effects building suspense until the main theme appears briefly in slow, sinister fashion.
35:39 - 35:52 7. Compound C :13 Another brief act-out tag accompanies the second ominous appearance of a countdown clock with score accompaniment, as the agents learn that Wright has been making a plastic explosive.
42:36 - 44:25 8. The Plan Revealed 1:49 This tense cue builds up suspense until the final reveal (over the return of the ticking clock and accompanying musical motif) that the president is en route to San Diego, where Wright plans to release a deadly nerve gas on the population.
46:45 - 47:10 9. Wright Arrested :25 A brief development of the main theme, perhaps the most lively thus far, plays as Wright is apprehended after setting up his device.
51:40 - 53:33 10. To Catch a Plane 1:53 An exciting barrage of percussion begins the the score’s action cue, as Wright makes a run for it and a chase ensues, developing the main theme over strident brass until the chase ends abruptly in a musical stinger as Wright crashes. The end of the cue plays the theme in subdued and defeated fashion as Graves realizes Wright has died.
55:05 - 55:32 11. Making a Move :27 As the countdown clock appears once again on the screen, Goldsmith’s ticking motif returns as well, this time augmented by synths and other eerie sounds, as well as rising brass to represent the threat.
58:55 - 62:15 12. The Apartment 2:20 Percussive synths accompany Graves as he descends to the window of the room containing the explosive device. As he swings and breaks through the glass, queasy brass begins to play for the effects of the poisonous nerve agent (he coughs and sweats a lot, and seems a bit dizzy and disoriented but fortunately he was provided with an antidote to inject and doesn’t die). The second part of the cue accompanies his search throughout the empty apartment with a more laid back jazzy approach.
67:09 - 69:41 13. Get It Fast 2:32 The score’s second and most sustained action cue, with a fast mod rhythm and punctuations on the off-beat. The tension builds with synths and brass figures above the rhythm as an agent runs around searching for a device to detect the plastic explosives. As he exhaustedly runs up a long flight of stairs (the elevator is down), the brass grows more dominant and the main theme returns in full again.
72:48 - 74:02 14. Worry (End Credits) 1:14 As the crisis is anticlimactically averted and the characters are left to merely worry about future threats, this lovely end credits cue introduces what seems to be a brand new peaceful theme, played on flute. It may be loosely based on one of the motifs that played in counterpoint to the main theme earlier in the score, but the main theme itself does not appear at all. Strangely enough, this is the only representation of the score commercially released, as “Theme from Pursuit” on a Silva compilation, newly recorded by the City of Prague Philharmonic — though it is a one-off for the end titles and not really representative of the score.
You do amazing work, Yavar, and I do read them all. I just can't sit at a computer for 90 minutes and watch some these movies on youtube. Wish more of them would be on TV. Maybe someday there will be a compilation of these shorter and rather rare scores.
Actually I thought that, just as sometimes the ticking clock plays sans score and just with the ticking sound, sometimes it's only music.
Thanks for the support, CCOJOE and Joan. Some of these have gone without a single reply so it's great to know they've been getting read at least! That encourages me to do more. Joan, if you have limited time to check out one of these, at least give The Ceremony, an episode of The Waltons, a shot. It's only 50 minutes or so, and has about as much music as many of these longer TV movies I've been doing (so more concentrated). It's also some of Goldsmith's best TV work.
Listening and looking at the movie and score, it seems Goldsmith was still using Flint-type 1960s musical stylings for a certain kind of "guy picture" well into the 70s. It's also heard in movies like Shamus and The Last Run to varying degrees.
I have to say that Jerry never quite nailed the 70 crime/intrigue pop sound in the way that composers like Roy Budd, Quincy Jones, Dave Grusin and even Jerry Fielding (The Outfit etc) did.
I think it's a rare, indeed the only, case where Goldsmith was slightly behind the fashion curve, and that he just may not have been entirely comfortable with that particular 70s sound. Interesting.
Well it sounds pretty darn cool to me, Heath! Personally I think Goldsmith was more "behind the curve" with some of his synth work in the 80s. The 60s and 70s stuff comes off much better on the whole IMO.
I thought I'd bump this thread on this exciting Goldsmith score, because I saw someone uploaded the film to YouTube a couple months ago! (I've therefore now added an embedded video in the first post, though I haven't double checked to see whether the times match up with my breakdown.)
Regardless of speed change, the timings would be consistently thrown off; but even accounting for those about three seconds, there are additional seconds. That would have to mean, and I've seen zero indication in any part of the video I have watched, that the speed speeds up, and goes down in parts of the video.
Stand out cues for me:
The Game Steven Graves (even though short) Preoccupation with Impotence Wright Arrested To Catch a Plane Get It Fast Worry (End Credits)
The score is good (in my opinion), but not great like "Damnation Alley", and since it's short, even if they found a little dropped score or alternates, it's not enough for me to purchase the score. It would either need to be paired with something else or have so much dropped score that it makes it worthwhile.
I'm amazed that Archer from a few years later survived for LLL to release. So who knows what might turn up?
I'm confused who even owns Pursuit, to be honest. On IMDb it says ABC is the distributor, but under production companies it also lists 20th Century Fox Television! And most confusingly, the DVD was put out by MGM!
Now Indict and Convict also says ABC is the distributor, but under production companies it doesn't mention ABC at all but only Universal Television and Groverton Productions. So does that mean this is Universal owned? Is it possible it has the same owner as Pursuit, even though the latter was released on home video by MGM?
One TV movie score from the same year I think we know *won't* be paired with Pursuit (and it's actually IMO the best of the three): Crawlspace -- pretty sure that's CBS. So hopefully that survives!