Adolph Deutsch

Deutsch: The Maltese Falcon & Other Classic Film Scores

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AllMusic Review by

Adolph Deutsch is not a name that looms too large in the field of soundtrack music, this despite the fact that he made his career in Hollywood for nearly 25 years, from 1938 until 1961, and worked in every idiom from crime dramas to big-budget musicals. This release gives the composer just about the best exposure he's ever had for his dramatic film scores, and delineates his strengths and weaknesses. On the positive side, Deutsch was excellent at setting moods using short cues, whether lighthearted, as in the comedy George Washington Slept Here, or dark and serious, as in The Maltese Falcon and, even more so, The Mask of Dimitrios. The latter score, clocking in at 16 minutes of music, is arguably the masterpiece among the soundtracks represented here, dark and threatening and written in an accomplished late-Romantic/post-Romantic style, with superb writing for the strings and brass, and excellent use of the winds in a suspenseful mode. The score for The Maltese Falcon is almost too short to make an enormous impression, as a dark-toned dramatic piece, but George Washington Slept Here, with its much lighter, more playful tone, works much better, and is a good counter-balance to the ominous Dimitrios score that follows. The bulk of this disc is given over to thrillers, however -- High Sierra with its uplifting horn parts and gorgeous solo violin part (representing the heroine), and Northern Pursuit, which mixes patriotic symbolism with thriller scoring. They all work well as freestanding music, despite Deutsch's tendency to slip into musical conventions; Deutsch also occasionally slips into the Steiner mode of relying on anthems and other familiar signature material as shorthand, but it's no more obtrusive here than it is on Steiner's work. The playing is excellent and finds just the right balance between the musical materials as concert repertory and dramatic underscoring.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
The Maltese Falcon, film score
1 2:07
2 1:37
3 0:28
4 2:46
5 3:01
6 2:07
7 0:54
8 0:44
George Washington Slept Here, film score
9 1:22
10 2:06
11 0:59
12 1:48
13 2:39
14 2:23
The Mask of Dimitrios, film score
15 2:21
16 1:43
17 0:35
18 2:07
19 0:43
20 1:42
21 1:28
22 1:26
23 0:25
24 0:55
25 0:39
26 2:02
High Sierra, film score
27 0:50
28 2:57
29 3:52
30 3:10
31 2:28
The Apartment, film score
32 1:46
Northern Pursuit, film score
33 3:28
34 1:45
35 1:58
36 1:08
37 2:04
38 0:47
39 2:42
40 4:46
41 0:42
blue highlight denotes track pick