Elmer Bernstein's music from The Scalphunters (1968) is a long way from his score for The Magnificent Seven, as was the underlying Sydney Pollack-directed movie. The freewheeling, relatively lighthearted Western yielded a score of similar character. The foot-tapping, horn- and brass-heavy loping main title theme, which anticipates the more cheerful elements of Bernstein's music for True Grit the following year (without the latter's development), sets the mood for the rousing action underneath in a movie in which even the principal villain (played by Telly Savalas) is rather likable. Moments in "Squaredance for Loco Horses" threaten to turn into the Marlboro commercial theme, but otherwise this is a pleasant if hardly substantial score from the catalog of a film music giant. Although never reissued complete on CD, highlights from The Scalphunters can be found on a 1990s-vintage British EMI CD alongside highlights from Dominic Frontiere's music from Hang 'em High and Bronislaw Kaper's score for The Way West.
Share this page