Original Soundtrack

Dennis the Menace [Warner Brothers]

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Dennis the Menace remains the most relentlessly slapstick effort of Jerry Goldsmith's long and distinguished career. Abandoning all pretense of sentimentality, romance, and heart-tugging drama, the score is just one musical gag after another, with none of the complexity one expects from the composer's work. Goldsmith establishes two dominant themes -- one for demon-spawn Dennis and the other for his everyday mischief-making -- and beats them like rented mules: tuba and harmonica dominate the ensemble arrangements, which escalate in volume and scope like a child throwing a tantrum. If this sounds like unpleasant listening, it certainly is -- it may work better within the scope of John Hughes' film, but who wants to watch it to find out?