The Dead PoolIn the liner notes for this re-release of Lalo Schifrin’s score for the fifth and final installment of the Dirty Harry series, writer/Director/Producer Nick Redman states that the final track – “The Pier, The Bridge, And The City” closes the album out with “one of the loveliest instrumental renditions of Harry Callahan’s melancholy ‘love’ theme, figuratively lowering the curtain on one of the most popular, celebrated, and beloved movie franchises in contemporary history.” I’m not sure there’s much more to say after something like that, though for my money the penultimate track “Harpoon” offers a bit more Callahan-esque danger and late-’80s action-intrigue for my tastes. “The Pier, The Bridge, And The City” serves as slightly melancholy icing on a cake of shoot-em-up action.

Though only 40 minutes in length, this score by the prolific and inimitable Lalo Schifrin captures the action, slight wimsy, and closing sentiments of the fifth and final (though hints of an upcoming sixth film are still in the air) appearance of Harry Calahan. Opening quietly with the jazzy “San Francisco Night” listeners get a welcome shock when the Nintendo-sounding “Main Title” comes flying through the speakers. With figurative musical lightning bolts and bending strings, Schifrin establishes an immediate air of ’80s action – really, the hard bass line couldn’t be anything but the ’80s. Schifrin keeps things interesting throughout, switching between thrilling backdrops (check out “Kidnap and Rescue”) and heavier, almost melodramatic (listen to “The Rules”) moments of drama. Then there’s the lovely, jazzy, and dare I say, romantic “Something in Return” that works perfectly here.

No one does an action score like Lalo Schifrin (the man behind the Mission Impossible theme, the Rush Hour trilogy scores, and the Cool Hand Luke score, among others) and in 1988 he was the go-to guy for action, as well as the go-to guy for Dirty Harry (he scored four out of the five films, after all). It’s nice to see a classic score re-released, and though parts of the score feel a bit dated in today’s cinematic climate, it’s always a pleasure to visit an old classic.

Also, read Zach’s review of Lalo Schifrin’s score for Sudden Impact.

Zach says… B
Perfect For: Cinematic audiophiles looking to complete their collection of re-released Dirty Harry soundtracks
Stay Away if: You’re more into current electronic action scores

To purchase the score for The Dead Pool, visit Amazon

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