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The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
Music  Composed by David Shire
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Price: $16.95
Limited #: N/A
Line: Retrograde
CD Release: May 1996
Catalog #: Retrograde
FSM-80123-2
# of Discs: 1

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is a superb urban thriller: four men, dressed alike in trenchcoats and calling each other Mr. Blue, Mr. Green, etc., take a subway car hostage and demand $1 million in ransom. Walter Matthau stars as the transit cop assigned to the case; Robert Shaw (Quint in Jaws) is the leader of the terrorists. It's a brilliant ’70s hostage movie with biting New York humor.

For the score, David Shire—then going through a brilliant stretch of work which included The Conversation, Farewell, My Lovely, The Hindenburg, and All the President's Men—came up with a stroke of genius. He wanted to do some kind of funk/jazz/big band, but wanted a way of making it dissonant and powerful—not too light, but not too random. So for his melodic materials he utilized the 12-tone method of composition, a technique devised by Arnold Schoenberg in the early 20th century in which you make a theme by using all 12 pitches in a specific order, and then create other themes by playing that "row" backwards, upside-down, backwards and upside-down, or transposed. Shire ended up with a monster two-note bass line with these 12-tone themes running on top.

For our CD, the first-ever release of this music, we have utilized the complete score, including around 15 minutes of music not included in the film. The 12-page booklet includes movie stills, composer photos, and track-by-track notes by Doug Adams.

Listen to the "Main Title" and decide for yourself—if you like funky '70s film music, like Enter the Dragon and the blaxploitation pictures, you'll love this.

David Shire Scores on FSM
Big Bus, The
Farewell, My Lovely/Monkey Shines
Klute/All the President’s Men
Morituri/Raid on Entebbe
Northwest Passage: Classic Western Scores From M-G-M, Vol. 2
Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The
About the Composer

David Shire (b. 1937) is responsible for some of the most acclaimed scores of the 1970s, such as The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The Conversation and Farewell, My Lovely. His film and television work extends from the late 1960s to the present day (including 2007's Zodiac), consistently excellent in its subtlety, dramatic sensitivity and musical imagination. He has also, with lyricist partner Richard Maltby, enjoyed a successful career in musical theater. IMDB


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