24 Tracks/Disc Time: 52:50
During the late 70's and the early 80's, films involving gay characters and situations started to appear on the big screen as the times were changing as well as sexual tolerance. Films like "La Cage Aux Folles", "Crusing" and 1982 alone saw no more than five films about the subject that included "Making Love", "Personal Best", "Victor/Victoria" and "Partners". The film which was the directorial debut of television director James Burrows ("Taxi") was supposed to be a take off on the much controversial Al Pacino film "Crusing" which was released two years prior to this film. The film stars Ryan O'Neal ("Love Story") as straight laced and macho police detective Benson who after a series of murders in the homosexual community is ordered to go undercover with a friendly police clerk named Kerwin (John Hurt, "Alien"), who happens to be gay as his partner. In order to be noticed they have to be flamboyant enough to attract attention which Benson finds rather disturbing. Soon they start to develop a solid friendship that could lead them to the culprit behind the murders. The film was not well received when it was released, but is a little discovery that most have found entertaining thanks to it resurfacing on DVD in 2008.
While the film was not was intended even to the point that screenwriter Francis Veber ("La Cage Aux Folles") would apologize for the stereotyping, there was a gem of an aspect that unfortunately also suffered much like the film did. Oscar winner Georges Delerue was one of France's leading composers to which he won the Academy Award for the romantic 1979 comedy "A Little Romance" which led to his permanent move to the U.S. around 1981 which lead to his first American film in the drama "True Confessions" starring Oscar Winners Robert DeNiro and Robert Duvall, along with "Rich And Famous" starring Candice Bergen and Jacqueline Bisset and another romantic dramady in "A Little Sex" starring Tim Matheson and future Mrs. Steven Spielberg, Kate Capshaw, who was making her film debut. "Partners" much like "A Little Sex" was a project that was a-typical of the composer because Delerue hardly ever scored comedies and once he started getting more U.S. assignments, they began to fall into place that led to films such as "Maxie", "Crimes Of The Heart", "Her Alibi", "Joe Vs. The Volcano", "Curly Sue" and "Rich In Love" (his last film ever).
The score to this film is based on a wonderful single theme, which was a specialty of Delerue's that just completely anchored the score and peppered it with dramatic or tender material based upon that singular theme. Not a bad way to write a film score considering that many master composers have done it in the past. "Partners Theme" is another great example of this with Delerue providing his unmistakable Parisian and romantic sound that is lush and magical much like a waltz. Sweeping strings, woodwinds and drums guide us into what Delerue was hoping to do with this score and this theme isn't too far off from the wonderful theme he wrote for "A Little Sex". Delerue pokes a little fun for Benson's tough character with emphasis on harmonica and a muted trumpet in the tracks "1M2/1M3", "3M1", "Domestic Scene" and a little sultry jazz in "10M1/10M3". He also underscores the budding friendship between O'Neal and Hurt's characters very tenderly in "Where's Everyone?", "The Market", and "Thanks Kerwin", with a classy acoustic guitar solo performing the main theme with lush strings backing it. It's a lovely track all around. Delerue throws a little suspense into the mix which is just as excellent in the tracks "The Bait", "The First Clue", "Kerwin Searches House/Close Encounters/The Invitation/Kerwin's Suspicion", and "Find Benson/I Want The Negative" where Delerue displays some wonderful dark elegant writing as the characters get closer to resolving the case with the proverbial curveballs thrown in. Dark violin strains, frenetic brass, pounding tympani "I'm Not Crying (Finale)" is a wonderful reprise of the main theme that ends the score on a high and happy note Delerue style.
Quartet Records release of this score is the first time that the entire score since the original 1982 sessions as Delerue intended them to be in the film. This release is surprise in itself because almost the entire score was dropped from the film as James Burrows just decided to drop in music when needed as he had been accustomed to directing in television which was a real shame because the music might have helped the film in every way possible. (I don't see why it wouldn't have!). The score is tender and romantic and there is plenty to like here about it especially for fans of Delerue, whose work is still as special today as it was recorded yesterday. While the film is largely forgotten for the most part, Georges Delerue's music now has seen the light of day. I have two quibbles with it however and the first one being is the lack of track titles which is a little annoying as the listener really doesn't have an idea where the music was intended for and the other is that with Delerue's scores, they are a tad repetitious at times and this one after a while starts to wear itself a little thin. Regardless of this, I still recommend it because it is a very lovely score in its' execution and that excellent main theme. Nice! Thumbs up!