"A Man, Woman And Child"
26 Tracks/Disc Time: 62:48
During the late 70's and 80's, dramas about families really seemed to dominate Hollywood and was a major success after "Kramer Vs. Kramer" starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep score major box office business and not to mention Oscars. Soon films such as "On Golden Pond" and "Ordinary People" which were also major box office and Oscar darlings which came out within a year of each other, which pretty much set the bar of high standards for the genre. Then in 1983, Paramount Pictures released, "A Man, Woman And Child" which was based on the novel by acclaimed "Love Story" best selling author, Erich Segal which was released in 1980. The film stars Martin Sheen as Robert Beckwith, a seemingly happily married man to his wife, Sheila (Blythe Danner, "Meet The Parents" mom of Oscar winner Gywenth Paltrow) and their two daughters, Jessica and Paula. It seems that a few years ago while visiting France, he had an accident and had an affair with the doctor named Nicole Guerin, who treated him. Now he has learned that she just died and is informed that had son stemming from his affair with Nicole. Robert then tells his wife, who suggests that they bring him over so that they can get to know him. While there all sorts of tension begin to arise as Robert starts to bond more and more with his son alienating his own family in the process.
After the success of films such as "Kramer vs. Kramer" and "On Golden Pond", the latter which featured a memorable, flavorable score by jazz legend Dave Grusin, most late 70's and 80's dramas feature rather sappy, string or piano filled scores that were pretty much the norm at the time. Some were memorable, others were dismissed as tearjerkers. As the case with "A Man, Woman And Child", the film required a score that would delicately balance all of those things but with a high standard. Now enter the late Oscar winner Georges Delerue, who had pretty much perfected this sound way before his full time arrival to Hollywood. After winning the Oscar for the wonderful, charming score for the little seen "A Little Romance" which is notable for the feature film debut of Diane Lane, Delerue was soon flooded with offers to score every film in Hollywood which included the likes of "Rich And Famous", "True Confessions", "Something Wicked This Way Comes", "A Little Sex" and "Silkwood" to name a few. "A Man, Woman And Child" perfectly fits the rich musical tapestry that Delerue developed in France and continued its' magical musical convience.
"Man, Woman and Child Theme" opens the score with a delicate and lush mix of solo soprano saxophone and strings which sets up the score's memorable and somewhat haunting theme which would set up the rest of the scores rich, thematic, but somewhat repetitive feel. "Main Title" is a full and broad extension of the "MWC Theme" with bolder orchestrations but also balancing the haunting material with lush and delicate themes. While the score is peppered with serious drama with tracks such as "Intelligencia", "Flashback / Monfleur", "The Kiss", "Bonjeur Papa" and "Conversation", Delerue also infuses some much needed playfulness as he perfectly exhibited in "A Little Romance" with fun, lush material in "Trash To Chicken" and some light sultry jazz in "Mellow Margot", which is trademark Delerue. The score's finale with the tracks "I'm Your Father", "To Airport" and "Au Revoir" are pure heartstring tugging with delicate and weepy eye feel that only Delerue can successfully getaway with with great success and not to mention they're very solid tracks on their own. "Never Gone" ends the score with a nice and haunting vocal by Edie Lehmann based on Delerue's main theme which is a perfect and fitting ending to the score.
Quartet Records premiere release of this score in its' full and complete form is a nice little gem that fans of the composer will definitely eat up and enjoy. I will be honest and say that this score is a little too heavy handed at times in terms of its' overemphasis of the film's dramatic aspects which are already in place, but I have to say that really do work for the darker moments. It's solid dramatic score is a nice discovery for a film that pretty much came and went 30 years ago without making a real dent at the box office. Georges Delerue was a real master and one that still makes an impact even after his long passing over twenty years ago. Recommended.