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Murder in the First
(1995)
Album Cover Art
Composed and Co-Orchestrated by:

Conducted by:
Chris Boardman

Co-Orchestrated by:
Pete Anthony

Procuced by:
Olivier Bloch-Lainé
Labels Icon
LABEL & RELEASE DATE
La Bande Son (French)
(1995)
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ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Commercial French release, but out-of-print and difficult to find.
Awards
AWARDS
None.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if all you know of Christopher Young is his plethora of horror and suspense scores, for Murder in the First is a superior and memorable venture into the historical drama genre.

Avoid it... if quiet elegies performed by strings and choir (and virtually nothing else) defy your need for more dynamic and extroverted music from the horror master.
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EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #901
WRITTEN 12/3/99, REVISED 3/23/08
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Young
Young
Murder in the First: (Christopher Young) Rarely referenced but quite memorable in its acting performances and examination of the penal system, Murder in the First was a failed 1995 historical drama starring Christian Slater, Kevin Bacon, and Gary Oldman. Bacon's character is sent to the gloomy Alcatraz prison in 1938 for stealing $5 to feed his sister, and after years of solitary confinement he commits murder and is put on trial for that crime. The attempt by his attorney, played by Slater, to gain the trust of the prisoner, as well as deal with the almost delusional torments of that man, are the focus of the film. While positive criticism met Murder in the First, especially in regards to Bacon's performance and outstanding art direction, the film fell into immediate obscurity. The same could be said of Christopher Young's music for the picture. Much praised, it too never gained mainstream appreciation. Young was best known in both the industry and the public eye as a master of the horror and suspense genres, bursting into the limelight a decade earlier with rowdy orchestral feats of terror. For fans exclusively familiar with this genre of writing from Young, Murder in the First is a striking change of direction. A dozen years later, sadly, the same statement still applied, with Young's career flirting with mainstream action films but never grasping heavy dramas in the way that he accomplished with Murder in the First. In the decades before or after, Young has rarely hinted at the same level of beauty and solace that is heard throughout this score, and a rare album release has added to the futility of the score's plight. The ensemble for the recording is non-traditional in that it features a massive string section but no brass or woodwinds. Solo contributions by harp, piano, and timpani are evident, but sparse. An adult chorus is a key factor in providing a gorgeous hint at salvation despite the film's dreary circumstances (much like the choral parts of James Newton Howard's Flatliners in terms of style). A few source cues utilize a smaller, more complete orchestra for mock newsreel material. In terms of ambience, however, the score's restraint is an asset that lends credibility to its dramatic aspirations.



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VIEWER RATINGS
478 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 3.59 Stars
***** 166 5 Stars
**** 119 4 Stars
*** 85 3 Stars
** 50 2 Stars
* 58 1 Stars
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Filmtracks Sponsored Donated Review
JJ Hinrichs - March 23, 2008, at 8:08 p.m.
1 comment  (1341 views)
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 44:42
• 1. Murder in the First (3:17)
• 2. Track 13 (2:19)
• 3. Solitary Confinement (2:43)
• 4. The Truth Be Known (3:10)
• 5. Movietone News (2:01)
• 6. She Don't Play Cards (3:08)
• 7. Ashes (1:15)
• 8. Adoramus Dei (4:06)
• 9. A Constant Spirit (3:36)
• 10. Suitcase Sally (2:39)
• 11. D Block (3:10)
• 12. Henry Young (1:17)
• 13. All Things Visible (3:04)
• 14. J.Q. 586 (2:56)
• 15. Back to the Rock (1:53)
• 16. Redemption (4:08)

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NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.
Copyright © 1999-2017, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
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 Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Murder in the First are Copyright © 1995, La Bande Son (French) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/3/99 and last updated 3/23/08.
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