Director Rod Lurie makes it clear in his liner notes to the soundtrack album of The Last Castle that he always intended to use Jerry Goldsmith to score the film and that Goldsmith gave him exactly what he wanted. The septuagenarian veteran, who has been a major Hollywood composer for nearly 40 years, is known for his restraint and sense of the functional in film music, often reworking a single theme through the course of a movie to create a variety of coloristic effects that rarely call attention to themselves separately. As Lurie notes, he has also made a specialty of military films such as Patton and MacArthur. It is the former that is recalled here, as he quickly introduces one of his overarching themes with a single trumpet played by Malcolm McNab on "The Castle" and then varies it throughout, building it up into a big orchestral piece in "Let's Go Ladies," for example. The haunting, heroic theme must take on added complexity for a film that combines the military and prison genres, and assistance is provided by a cover of Tom Waits' "Get Behind the Mule" by blues singer John Hammond and Dean Hall's bluesy "Chiseled in Stone." But Goldsmith always returns to his theme, which is both lonely and triumphant, just as the one for Patton was. It makes its point within the context of the film, and did not need to be renamed "September 11, 2001-- Theme From the Last Castle," as it has been here in the filmmakers' misguided scramble to latch on to the stunning events that occurred after the film was shot, but just before it was released.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
|The Last Castle, film score|
feat: John Hammond, Jr.
feat: Dean Hall