Lalo Schifrin

The Dead Pool [Original Score]

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When The Dead Pool, the fifth and last film in the series devoted to the detective Dirty Harry, played by Clint Eastwood, opened in 1988, it had no accompanying soundtrack album to honor the score composed by Lalo Schifrin, who had also written music for three of the other four films in the series. More than two decades later, Schifrin corrects that oversight with this release on his own record label, Aleph, resurrecting the music recorded in June 1988 for the picture. As an album under the control of the composer himself, this, like other Aleph releases, presents a more coherent set of themes than one would have experienced in the theater or than one might have heard on a standard soundtrack album released simultaneously with the film. Rather than present the short cues as edited into the movie, Schifrin uses more complete musical pieces, either by developing them further than there would have been time for onscreen, or by putting them together in suites. Hence, this is a more listenable soundtrack album than many. That said, it is a collection of fairly conventional jazz, rock, and pop arrangements, along with a lot of music that sounds like it could have come from any number of suspense movies of the 1950s. Some of it is particularly beholden to Bernard Herrmann. The Dead Pool was something of an afterthought in the Dirty Harry series, described by annotator Nick Redman basically as a sop thrown to Warner Bros. Pictures by Eastwood to compensate the studio for the bath it was about to take on his "art" film, Bird, a labor-of-love bio-pic of Charlie Parker. The score doesn't break any new ground, either, though it is a typically competent effort from the composer.

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