If Elmer Bernstein's over-the-top score to the classic Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker disaster movie spoof Airplane! was the soundtrack equivalent of a manic vaudeville gag, then Maurice Jarre's deadpan score to the ZAZ team's espionage satire Top Secret is an inside joke. Jarre's bombastic, taut melodies evoke the kinetic suspense of classic spy thrillers sans nudging and winking, marshaling stiletto-sharp bursts of brass and pulsating percussion to pay wry homage to past masters like John Barry and Lalo Schifrin. Performed by London's Royal Philharmonic, no less, Top Secret! enables Jarre to indulge his most outsized impulses, yielding grandiose action themes like "The Potato Farm Siege" and "The Big Fight" as well as deliriously romantic melodies like "Love and Resistance." To his credit, the music never stoops to gimmickry and obvious comedic gestures, instead trusting that listeners will grasp its delightful absurdity.
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