"The List Of Adrian Messenger"
Varese Sarabande Club CD
16 Tracks/Disc Time: 39:10
After the success of the psychological drama "Freud", acclaimed Director John Huston under took this intriguing comedy-thriller, "The List Of Adrian Messenger" which featured a real interesting gimmick of having famous stars appear within the film and the basic trick was to spot them before the major reveal during the end credits which featured the likes of Kirk Douglas ("Spartacus"), George C. Scott ("Patton"), Burt Lancaster ("Field Of Dreams"), Robert Mitchum ("Cape Fear"), Frank Sinatra ("Ocean's Eleven") amongst others. When Adrian Messenger (John Mervaile) asks a friend to check into a list of names before leaving on a trip, his plane is blown out of the sky, the matter becomes more serious. As his friend Anthony Gethryn (Scott) checks into the list, each seems to have died in mysterious circumstances. As he goes down the list, the deaths become more recent and a race to find the remaining survivors and what put each of them on this list ensues.The film was a mixed bag with critics enjoying the cameos as well as the audience which enjoyed a nice box office success.
After scoring a well deserved Oscar nomination, which would be the first of many of his now legendary career, Jerry Goldsmith was tapped by Huston to score this film after writing a superb score for "Freud", which would gain even further notoriety when some of the music in the film was tracked in the much revered sci-fi film, "Alien" seventeen years later. Goldsmith was at the beginning of his breakout period and establishing what would become a grand career as the 60's would go on to prove with films such as "A Patch Of Blue", "The Sand Peebles", "Planet Of The Apes", "Rio Conchos", and many others. The music for this film has an interesting side to it in that it is both a suspense mystery score and one that has a touch of comedy in it that really works. Goldsmith was in a rather serious mode around this time frame and it wasn't until the James Bond spoof "In Like Flint" and its sequel, "Our Man Flint" that he would break out of that mold a bit.
The score opens with a sultry like saxophone motif for its opening track "Opening Track/Main Title/Gleneyre" that segues into a solo trumpet and a more rhythmic suspense piece for piano and flute as bases pluck away with suspense as the track develops the score's main theme that would set the tone for both the film and this album. Suspense abounds in the tracks "Death In Disguise", "Le Borg Remembers", which incorporates an erie theremin like effect, "Cat And Louse" and "Assault On Slattery" which showcase Goldsmith's melodic, rhythmic style that would be his signature in his future scores. "Lost Love" infuses a little romance into the equation, while the score major highlight is the very memorable "Beagles And Fox", which would be renowned later on as Goldsmith would inspired to write a similar equestrian piece for "The Final Conflict" which would also be as memorable as this one. Goldsmith would end the score the way he started with final suspense licks in "Baiting The Trap", "It's A Drag" and "Broom's Doom" that are very bombastic and energetic reinforcing the main theme to the full tilt until the final track, "End Cast" which is fun, light really enjoyable as each of the cameos appear on screen to reveal themselves to Goldsmith's jaunty music reprising each characters locale within the film in his musical score.
Varese Sarabande's Club release is the premier issue of this much in demand for Goldsmith afficionados who have clammored for a legitimate release of this score for decades just in time for Goldsmith's 85th birthday which passed in February. It is a breezy and solid listen that really shows Goldsmith having some great fun with the material even through most is in a straight ahead musical tone. He was a consumate and exciting composer who always wrote original, memorable scores even for films that didn't deserve it. "The List of Adrian Messenger" is a true testament of Goldsmith's evolution of being one of the greats in film music history and still sorely missed! Fun, thumbs up for this "Messenger."