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Comments about the soundtrack for The Thomas Crown Affair (Bill Conti)

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Filmtracks Sponsored Donated Review
• Posted by: Danny Gonzalez
• Date: Saturday, September 27, 2008, at 6:43 p.m.
• IP Address:

(The following donated review by Danny Gonzalez was moved by Filmtracks to this comment section in September, 2008)

The Thomas Crown Affair: (Bill Conti) When I first heard that they were remaking the classic 1968 film starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, I was absolutely ecstatic about the idea. I enjoyed the original film dearly especially for it's visuals and Michel Legrand's surprisingly wonderful jazzy and inventive score. Which has pretty much worn out it's use on my cd player since Rykodisc reissued it on CD a couple of years ago. And I'm greatful for them for doing so.

Fast forward to 1999, where Pierce Brosnan is in for Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown and Rene Russo is in for Faye Dunaway as Catherine Banning. Who was a perfect choice I might add and as radiant as ever on screen. Under the direction of the vastly underappreciated John McTiernan, who done some excellent movies like Die Hard, Predator and my personal favorite, The Hunt for Red October. As underrated as he may be, you can't say that when it comes time to choose a composer for his projects. He's had the talents of illustrious composers such as the legendary Jerry Goldsmith, Michael Kamen, Alan Silvestri, Basil Poledouris and Bill Conti scoring for him. And when it came time to choose one from the hundreds awaiting to be hired for this tough task, McTiernan reached back to his roots and chose Conti. Which was as much of a surprise and shock of the film music community and soundtrack collectors everywhere including this one.

The more and see the finished product, many can't argue the fact that McTiernan made the perfect choice in hiring Conti and has written one the most easily enjoyable and commercial soundtracks in the 90's. After winning a much debated Academy Award for The Right Stuff, Conti work had suffered somewhat to the lack of decent projects. Karate Kid, Masters of the Universe and F/X are the exceptions. In between that time he scored a little known thriller called Nomads which ironically starred Brosnan and was directed by McTiernan. With the strength of that work, it's was really an easy choice since Conti provided the film with what it needed. A fun, hip and inventive score that perfectly set the moods and tones for the film.

This limited promotional CD represents the brunt of his Conti's work in The Thomas Crown Affair and for those people who really dissappointed with the commercial release, you'll wanna get your hands on this CD. The disc starts out with the two opening cues on the commerical album Black and White X 5 and Never Change is combined on the album, as it's Main Title. With 5 dueling piano opening and playful undertones, the theme for the illustrious self-made millionare Thomas Crown is established and appears in various guises throughout the rest of the score. Most notably in the cues "Closing the Gallery", "Catamaran", and "Glider". Closing the Gallery is the lengtheist cue on the disc at around nine minutes and underscored with a playful toe tapping, string led strings and brass and is finally capped off by nine rock guitar rendition of Crown's theme. To cap off his successful little heist. The top-tapping inonnvations are brought to the forefront in cues like "Haysticks", "Trojan Horse/Crown at His Office", "From the Horses Belly" and most of "Closing the Gallery". These cues are somewhat annoying and bog down the score a bit and at times, sounds like what James Horner did for The Mask of Zorro. Which isn't suitable for a movie such as this, but give Conti credit for trying something different and defintely quirky.

But truely The score's best assest is the way he scores the budding romance between Crown and Catherine Banning, suspicious investigatior trying to catch him and instead begins to eventually fall in love with. Crown and Catherine Meet, which is called Meet Mrs.Banning on the commerical release set tone to for things to come with it's soothing strings, keyboard and trumpet solo. And the more romance to follow with cues like, "First Date", "Cipriani" (a lengthy five-minute cocktail piece)", "Bulgari Necklace" ("Cocktails" on the regular album) and the "Finale", which is a beaufiful and enchanting reprisal of the Crown and Catherine's love theme, scored for keyboards, strings, brass and finally capped by piano theme.

Composer Jamshied Sharifi, who composed the score to the vastly underappreciated Muppets In Space, contributes three wonderful cues to perfectly compliment Conti's score. "Catherine at the Crime Scene" is definetly the best of the three, with it's 70's pop-techo like jazz and brooding trumpet solos. Other fun things on this album include latin-jazz redition of "Windmills of Your Mind" arranged by Chico O'Farrell, and is marvellous. Nina Simone's Sinnerman, which is ingeniously incorparated in the track "Returning the Monet" and adds the excitement. Finally, Sting's wonderful, jazz vocal rendition of "Windmills of Your Mind" caps off this exciting and very stylish album. ****

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