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Section Header
Catch Me If You Can
(2002)
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
John Williams

Saxophone Solos by:
Dan Higgins

Orchestrated by:
John Neufeld

Label:
Dreamworks Records

Release Date:
December 10th, 2002

Also See:
The Terminal
Sabrina
Stepmom

Audio Clips:
1. Catch Me If You Can (0:28):
WMA (184K)  MP3 (228K)
Real Audio (141K)

2. The 'Float' (0:32):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (251K)
Real Audio (156K)

11. Deadheading (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (244K)
Real Audio (152K)

14. Doctor, Lawyer, Lutheran (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

Availability:
Regular U.S. release.

Awards:
  Nominated for an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, and a BAFTA Award.









Catch Me If You Can

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Buy it... if you have a fond place in your heart for John Williams' jazzy styles from early in his career.

Avoid it... if you are primarily interested in Williams for his adventure scores recorded with massive ensembles, a sound completely unrelated to the tone of this film.



Williams
Catch Me If You Can: (John Williams) It had been several decades since Steven Spielberg directed and produced a comedy film, and although 2002's Catch Me If You Can is breezy entertainment, it's not competitive with Spielberg's efforts in the dramatic genres. The film chronicles the partially fictionalized life adventures of master criminal Frank Abagnale Jr., a man whose skill in disguise and fraud catapulted him to the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list at a very young age. Set in the 1960's, the film unfolds as a chase caper with style when the FBI agent assigned to the case spends the duration of the movie hunting Abagnale through every conceivable location. A lengthy epilogue was a detraction, though there is justice in Abagnale's transformation into a modern day corporate security consultant. Concluding a busy year of activity, John Williams completed his twentieth collaboration with Spielberg for Catch Me If You Can. He had soared across the stars, into a future with pre-crime, and back to Hogwarts all in an eight month span during 2002, and the final entry in the year proved the composer's knack for diversity more than any of his others that year, or, for that matter, in recent times. Only 2004's The Terminal ventures into related territory in the decade of the 2000's. As such, voters of the Academy rewarded Williams with an Oscar nomination for this film instead the aforementioned powerhouses. With the composer using all of 2003 for non-film scoring endeavors, Catch Me If You Can was his last new score available for quite a while. The collection and tone of music assembled for the soundtrack mirrored the choices of previous films that had also dealt with 1960's pop culture. In this case, that meant the fusion of several older generation songs with a similarly retro style of jazz in the underscore. It had been many years since the composer had returned to his "Johnny Williams" talents within the jazz genre, and even longer since he combined that sound with intrigue and weighty, serious drama. His most recent jazzy score at the time had been the remake of Sabrina in 1995, but Catch Me If You Can tackles its subject matter a much darker avenue of introspection and sophistication.

Williams' painstaking attention to each and every note of this score is heard in the intricacy contained in many of its vibraphone and sax performances. It is no wonder that Williams turned some of the scoring duties of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (including arrangement and conducting) over to his friend and associate William Ross; the incredible detail in many of the solo performances for Catch Me If You Can is developed to such an extent that these sequences occasionally blur the mind's ability to accurately perceive them. Like The Terminal, the tone and genre of this score may diverge from the composer's normal output in the Digital Age, but each of its parts contains mannerisms in style that firmly remind the listener that it is indeed a Williams product. The ensemble for the recording is small, with a moderate orchestral presence that remains light on its feet while filling the gaps between the popular jazz performances of the principle solo artists. The title theme, heard to open and close the album (as well as in "The Float" and "Learning the Ropes"), is a shifty, but attractive rhythmic romp that is cyclical in its vibraphone and woodwind rhythms, a neat effect created by Williams in the process of representing a perpetual chase. The performance highlight of the work comes in "The Float," which exhibits an excellent sax solo that perfectly captures the light spirit of the score and film's first half, with ominous dramatic undertones introduced sparingly on bass strings to remind of the criminal element. The piano is also required at times to provide snazzy accompaniment at breakneck speeds. The score, as an entire package, however, is deceiving. It marks an upbeat return to the days of high jazz early, but then sinks further into a miserable and introverted form as the film and score continues. The official "concert suite" for the score is the very restrained "Recollections (The Father's Theme)," a piece that pulls from a more tender and dramatically engaging attitude in Williams' 1970's body of work. By the end of the score, the seriousness of the cat and mouse game has yielded a score that plunges into the complicated and subtle-toned atmosphere of Presumed Innocent.

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The resulting overall effect of Williams' music for Catch Me If You Can is a fittingly depressing one. Do not be fooled by the seemingly frivolous direction that this score appears to be taking at the start. Short interludes of the title theme, which loses all its catchy style by the end, are performed by singular woodwinds in between low key shifts of strings. Brass exists in an accompaniment role at most, if at all. By the time the album reaches "Broken Home," the volume has been reduced to melancholy solitude carried by a slow solo harp and lonely shadows of the solo sax and piano performances that graced the score's beginning. Even the somewhat redeeming finale cue, "Doctor, Lawyer, Lutheran," provides only a glimmer of hope in a temporarily increased pace, eventually allowing the music to slowly fade into nothingness. When the lighter shades of retro, rhythmic style shine through, the resulting generational application places this score firmly in the era of The Towering Inferno, an easily recognizable trip to Williams' past. For listeners only familiar with Williams' post-Star Wars era of production, Catch Me If You Can will offer a strikingly different sound to which the unaccustomed may balk. The intrigue of the title track and the subsequent "The Float," the latter containing the sax solo that Spielberg boasts about in the notes he provided for the release, elevates those cues to the level of album highlights. After these two cues (and unless you count the reprise of the title recording at the end of the album), the product is a somber and reflective listening experience, with great emotional detail explored in each cue. Williams succeeded in producing the needed dramatic effect, but the album could suffer from a lack of engagement with many listeners as a result. By no means is Catch Me If You Can a consistently uplifting score or, for that matter, a very enjoyable one, especially when compared to The Terminal. If anything, however, Williams did avail himself of this opportunity to show that his diverse talents had not escaped him over the past decade of scoring primarily adventure films with massive ensembles. True Williams enthusiasts will likely find the album very interesting; it contains several pleasing songs from the era as well. It has always been difficult to determine if the mainstream will be attracted to this dated sound, though. A well-written, genre-constrained score. ***   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For John Williams reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.74 (in 69 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.59 (in 336,626 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.





 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  


Regular Average: 2.97 Stars
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 62:33


• 1. Catch Me If You Can (2:41)
• 2. The 'Float' (4:56)
• 3. Come Fly With Me - performed by Frank Sinatra (3:19)
• 4. Recollections (The Father's Theme) (5:16)
• 5. The Airport Scene (2:26)
• 6. The Girl from Ipanema - performed by Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim (5:15)
• 7. Learning the Ropes (8:44)
• 8. Father and Son (3:15)
• 9. Embraceable You - performed by Judy Garland (2:50)
• 10. The Flash Comics Clue (1:47)
• 11. Deadheading (2:25)
• 12. The Christmas Song - performed by Nat King Cole (3:10)
• 13. A Broken Home (4:25)
• 14. Doctor, Lawyer, Lutheran (3:12)
• 15. The Look of Love - performed by Dusty Springfield (3:31)
• 16. Catch Me If You Can (Reprise and End Credits) (5:14)




 Notes and Quotes:  


The insert includes the usual short note from Spielberg, but no extra information about the score or film.





   
  All artwork and sound clips from Catch Me If You Can are Copyright © 2002, Dreamworks Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/14/02 and last updated 1/10/09. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2002-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.