Elmer Bernstein

McQ [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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As an aging John Wayne transitioned from Westerns to crime thrillers, he brought with him Elmer Bernstein, and even if the composer didn't redefine the urban sprawl of contemporary America with the same larger-than-life majesty he brought to the sand and sagebrush of the old west, 1974's McQ nevertheless reaffirms the Duke's tougher-than-leather stature via Bernstein's trademark melodic bombast and orchestral bluster. Love 'em or hate 'em, Bernstein's two-fisted themes perfectly communicate Wayne's no-nonsense screen persona. McQ makes few concessions to subtlety or nuance, instead favoring widescreen action and relentless pacing galvanized by exaggerated symphonics, brash percussion, and explosions of brass. Film Score Monthly's limited-edition reissue is typically top-notch, with detailed liner notes and superlative fidelity. Recommended, assuming the above review reads more like a compliment than a criticism.

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