Director Don Siegel's "Dirty Harry" - along with John Boorman's "Point Blank" - are two definitive classics in the action/crime-movie genre of the 1960s & 70s. Now that the original score for "Dirty Harry" finally has been made available, one can truly hear how essential composer Lalo Schifrin's music is for the overall impact of this extremely intense movie. Schifrin's urban sounding, rhythmic, jazzy and once in a while avantgardist, tracks give real punch to every scene of the film, being also highly listenable as such, separated from the visual context. Like many of the best film music, this score also is a unified whole. As such it is best appreciated when listened from start to finish with no breaks. Both the movie and its score are as fresh today as in 1971 when they came out. Schifrin's mastery as a film composer is evident, as he has integrated his music so perfectly into the storyline of "Dirty Harry" that you only realize how great this score is when you listen to it just as such, without the images. A landmark score in the film music history. The auditive quality of the original session tapes is very good, too.
When this score, along with those of the other 'Dirty Harry' films was released, I was most pleased - I had never seen this soundtrack available in any format. The score by Lalo Schifrin, who wrote all the 'Dirty Harry' scores (with the exception of 'The Enforcer'), introduced Dirty Harry with a distinct 70's flavor and a motif that was kept up until the final film, 'The Dead Pool'. Schifrin uses a jazz-type formula that Clint Eastwood seems to like, having scored many of Clint's films. The score itself retains the 70s' feel as Harry enters the rooftop after the 1st sniper death (we are introduced to Harry's theme here), then Scorpio's (the bad guy) chilling motif appears later as the fiend sizes up potential targets through a rifle sight. In places the score picks up the pace, appropriate to the action, as Harry spots the hijacked school bus & jumps down on top of it, forcing the fiend to take control of the bus. Harry's theme returns again at the end title as the inspector, disgusted at the 'legal' system, hurls his badge into a river as police units arrive, after he has killed Scorpio.
As usual, Schifrin delivers the goods when composing scores for Dirty Harry. It is a fitting introduction to the hard-hitting, intense SFPD homicide inspector.
I am totally biased. First off, Dirty Harry is one of my favorite movies. I can't tell you how many times I have watched it.
The movie is almost realistic as a cop movie. Harry actually gets hurt, for example. But this is not a review of the movie.
One of the reasons I love the movie is because I love the music. I am an unrepetant rock fan. From Rolling Stones to Nine Inch Nails. And jazz often bores me.
But not Lalo Schifrin, for some reason. For much of my adult life, I did not know who he was. I slowly realized that some of the scores of movies I loved were from one guy, Lalo Schifrin.
The opening track is amazing. Filled with suspensful energy. Great Rhodes piano. Interesting drum fills. I can't put into words how amazing I think it is. It stands out from so many instrumental pieces. Maybe it's just me, I don't know.
This is the actual music from the Dirty Harry movie. I must admit that this means the album contains a lot of material that I now never listen to. Small incidental pieces that work in the context of the movie, but do not make good general listening material in my opinion.
Having said that, there are about six tracks that I absolutely love that make the purchase worthwhile for me. Expensive ? Yes, but you can't get this music any other way. I started learning the drums as a young teenager after falling in love with the main theme. I'm now 45 and still drumming.
Another odd little tip for parents with young kids. If you ever organize giant family games of "hide and seek" in the house, or run around snipeing each other with plastic toy guns, then this CD provides a great backdrop. Just programme in the half dozen really good tracks and set it on repeat. The tension and excitement in the music makes a boring old game quite exciting for the kids (and the parents).