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Re: Christopher Young: Dream Lover (The Christopher Young Odyssey Part Four)
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• Posted by: Jonathan Broxton   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Wednesday, June 29, 2022, at 11:59 a.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Christopher Young: Dream Lover (The Christophe... (Robert Taylor)

> Murder in the First

> “Murder in the First” has nothing to do with that Taye Diggs television
> series, but is based on a 1995 legal drama about abuse and mistreatment of
> inmates at Alcatraz Prison that was both a moderate critical and
> commercial hit. Still, it seems to be only remembered today for Young’s
> outstanding music… which is so good that I would rank it only behind his
> two “Hellraiser” scores so far in this Odyssey.

> The word for this score is “Strings!” Young uses them exquisitely
> throughout to maximum effect, rarely even bothering to use other
> instruments in any way other than in support of those incredible,
> incredible strings. It casts its spell over the listener right from the
> start, and (almost) never lets go for the entire 45-minute runtime. Even
> in its quieter moments, it keeps you enthralled.

> And that main theme! Good lord, man! The fact that Young can pen these
> incredible themes, one right after the other, is astonishing. He also uses
> his choir brilliantly with the strings, never moreso than in “Adoramus
> Dei” and “Redemption,” the latter of which is one of my favorite cues from
> Young ever.

> My one issue is with the two cues “Movietone News” and “Suitcase Sally,”
> which are well-composed but tonally way off from the rest of the score,
> all perky, delicate and light. I recommend moving them to the end of the
> album so that they don’t interrupt the flow – they are too good to delete,
> but don’t work where they are placed.

> Still, this is a masterpiece-level score. It’s essential listening for
> score fans, and is so good it makes me want to watch the movie just to see
> how it’s used within it.

> Score: *****

Fantastic. Murder in the First is one of the four scores from 1995 which, basically, put me on the road to film music (this, and three Horners: Legends of the Fall, Braveheart, and Apollo 13). It had a massive influence on me, and remains one of my all-time favorite scores. The film is... ok. I like it because of Kevin Bacon's massively committed performance, and the music helps enormously, but I think people will find it over-scored and overly-manipulative today. It also takes some massive liberties with the 'true story' part, completely changing who the lead character was, what he did, and what happened to him, although the 'meat on the bones' as it relates to Alcatraz is basically correct.

Movie Music UK

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