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Deadfall (1968)
Music by John Barry
Deadfall Deadfall
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $11.95
Limited #: N/A
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Retrograde
CD Release: August 1997
Catalog #: Retrograde
# of Discs: 1

Deadfall is a little known British film which John Barry scored between You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, two of his best James Bond scores. It was directed by Bryan Forbes, with whom Barry had an ongoing relationship, and starred Michael Caine as a jewel thief mixed up with a weird, incestuous couple. The movie is fairly obscure, but the score is a lost Barry treasure, unavailable since the original Fox LP was released in 1968.

The score is best described as a tense, romantic effort, like a '60s Bond/spy score crossed with Body Heat. The title song was performed by Shirley Bassey ("Goldfinger," "Diamonds Are Forever"), and we've unearthed two never-before-heard demo versions which Barry had arranged—one is a male vocal, featuring a singer since identified as Malcolm Roberts, and the other is an instrumental with a cool Thunderball-style opening.

The highlight of the CD is the 14-minute guitar concerto, Romance for Guitar and Orchestra. This is Barry's only long-form concert work to date, and was featured in the best segment of the film: while Caine loots a safe in a mansion, the occupants attend a concert of music by—John Barry (like with Herrmann in The Man Who Knew Too Much). He conducts this piece on screen, and it functions both as a concert work and as an underscore for the robbery going on elsewhere.

We lucked out on this one because the sound quality is terrific—other Fox Records masters of this era are terrible but Deadfall survived the ages with crystal clarity. The CD is in stereo except for the last two demo tracks, which were only available in mono. The 16-booklet features new liner notes by Jon Burlingame, who interviewed Barry anew for it, as well as photos from the movie and of Barry then and now.

John Barry Scores on FSM
About the Composer

John Barry (1933-2011) is a five-time Oscar winner and one of the most successful and beloved composers ever to write for the movies. His career encompasses everything from the James Bond films to Hollywood epics like Out of Africa and Dances With Wolves. His style is marked foremost by melody but also by a thoughtful economy of gesture that has always added a great sense of style and scope to his projects.FSM has released on CD as many of his scores as possible, from intimate dramas like Petulia to the classic Born Free, the 1976 King Kong and the obscure 1968 gem Deadfall. IMDB

Comments (4):Log in or register to post your own comments
I just saw this film on dvd last week and enjoyed the music a lot.

The "romance for guitar and orchestra" was quite fun to see finally, having owned the cd for a while now.

yes indeed and what a great vocal version by Shirley Bassey.

This is a fantastic score.

Just don't buy it wanting to hear Rambo.

It's essentially a romantic score but very brooding and dark in tone, because while it's about love and robberies, it's also about secrets and betrayal. And everyone -- *everyone* -- is ultimately doomed by the bizarre love triangle that is formed.

Barry reads the film perfectly in my opinion.

There are two great musical set pieces: the fantastic Bondian song for Shirley Bassey, plus the Romance For Guitar And Orchestra, which is famously set to the grand robbery.

However, the real genius in this score is that very romantic, yet extremely haunting and foreboding love theme, which holds the score together.

The album program is great, but the album doesn't really represent the progression of the central love theme. Sadly, it seems there are no elements for an expanded score release, although there was that DVD with the isoldated music track.

(The isolated music track is okay, but it's mono, post-edit, post-volume adjustment and contains slight bleed from the dialogue and effects tracks.)


I've bought very little over the last month and this is on my list of potenial buys. Anyone know if this is going discounted anywhere?

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