Maurice Jarre

Red Sun [Original Soundtrack]

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Maurice Jarre's score for the 1971 film Soleil Rouge -- a samurai-Western hybrid starring Charles Bronson and Toshiro Mifune -- is as idiosyncratic and distinctive as the movie itself, employing an arsenal of exotic instruments to create music that fuses traditions from the Far East and the Old West. Jarre's approach mirrors the film's narrative arc, first introducing spaghetti Western elements before gradually expanding to embrace a moody Japanese sensibility clearly influenced by Fumio Hayasaka's classic scores for Akira Kurosawa. The reliance on atmosphere over action sets apart Soleil Rouge from Jarre's most famous soundtracks, as does its use of odd instruments and fractured, experimental melodies. Not everything works, but what does is wonderful.

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