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Dick Tracy
Album Cover Art
1990 Sire/Warner
2016 Intrada
Album 2 Cover Art
Composed and Co-Produced by:

Co-Orchestrated, Conducted, and Additional Music by:
Shirley Walker

Co-Orchestrated and Co-Produced by:
Steve Bartek

Co-Produced by:
Bob Badami

Co-Orchestrated by:
Jack Hayes
Labels Icon
Sire Records/Warner
(June 28th, 1990)

Intrada Records
(November 14th, 2016)
Availability Icon
The 1990 album was a regular U.S. release, but it fell out of print later in the decade. The 2016 Intrada set is limited to an unknown number of copies and retailed at soundtrack specialty outlets for an initial price of $30.
Nominated for a Grammy Award.
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Decorative Nonsense
(inverts site colors)

Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you can forgive Danny Elfman for merging a pompous and extravagant superhero theme of Batman heritage with grandiose, George Gershwin-style romance to fill the awkward gaps between Stephen Sondheim songs.

Avoid it... if you expect there to be any continuity in film or on any semblance of an appropriate soundtrack album between the Elfman score and Sondheim songs, their chaotic co-existence primed to make your head spin.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 7/20/98, REVISED 3/18/17
Dick Tracy: (Danny Elfman) If ever there was a film that existed solely to stoke one person's ego, it was Warren Beatty's 1990 adaptation of Dick Tracy. Not only had Beatty been so obsessed with the comic book character that he eventually took over directing duties on the film himself, but he later fought a nasty legal battle for the better part of two decades to personally retain the rights to the concept on film. Never mind the fact that the 52-year-old actor was already too old to play the titular crime-stopper in 1990; he continued to stir rumors of a sequel well into the 2010's. The original movie was an attempt by the Walt Disney camp to take advantage of the explosively powerful success of Warner Brothers' Batman a year before, even to the extent of teaming with Warner to produce and market this picture. But due to a poor script adaptation and endless cuts and re-shoots at the behest of Beatty's odd perfectionism, Dick Tracy received mixed reactions from critics and audiences never really embraced the occasionally impressive visuals. Wacky make-up, famous supporting actors (including Al Pacino in one of his most bizarre roles), several Oscar nominations in technical categories, and a sultry performance by Madonna couldn't even save the project; nor could rumors of kinky off-screen activities between Beatty and Madonna generate substantial interest. The soundtrack for Dick Tracy became a nightmare the moment Beatty conceived of the film as a musical. He was so entranced with the 1930's romantic element that he hired veteran stage composer Stephen Sondheim to write five songs for the picture, some of which performed by Madonna in source-like settings. Beatty also asked Sondheim to write the score for the picture, which was a fitting request given that several of the songs in the movie are used for otherwise sound-less montages. Not surprisingly, Sondheim declined to write the score, so the actor/director turned to a composer who would essentially tackle the same task on 2002's ultra-popular Chicago: Danny Elfman. The young rocker-turned-composer was a safe choice after his immense success on Batman a year earlier, and he was well equipped to write to the trio of non-song needs in this film: blustery hero theme, vintage sappy romance, and outright zaniness for the villains.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.26 Stars
***** 126 5 Stars
**** 137 4 Stars
*** 167 3 Stars
** 104 2 Stars
* 64 1 Stars
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Read All Start New Thread Search Comments
So many years later and still just as good. Classic.
Matt Thompson - October 26, 2007, at 5:31 p.m.
1 comment  (2631 views)
Wow, was this review misguided.   Expand >>
Eric - February 5, 2004, at 2:13 a.m.
3 comments  (5129 views)
Newest: September 12, 2009, at 11:13 a.m. by
OK Score... Amazing songs
Tim - February 4, 2004, at 9:43 p.m.
1 comment  (2556 views)
"Crime Spree" and other thoughts   Expand >>
Will - February 4, 2004, at 9:06 p.m.
3 comments  (4713 views)
Newest: February 5, 2004, at 1:58 p.m. by
I disagree with this review   Expand >>
dmw - February 4, 2004, at 8:16 p.m.
2 comments  (3553 views)
Newest: February 4, 2004, at 8:42 p.m. by
Sean Bentley

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1990 Hollywood Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 34:55
• 1. Main Titles (3:36)
• 2. After the "Kid" (1:45)
• 3. Crime Spree (1:53)
• 4. Breathless' Theme (2:13)
• 5. Big Boy/Bad Boys (2:10)
• 6. Tess' Theme (1:09)
• 7. Slimy D.A. (1:41)
• 8. Breathless Comes On (2:54)
• 9. Meet the Blank (1:43)
• 10. The Story Unfolds (1:59)
• 11. Blank Gets the Goods (2:25)
• 12. Rooftops (2:01)
• 13. Tess' Theme - Reprise (1:17)
• 14. The Chase (2:57)
• 15. Showdown/Re-united (4:07)
• 16. Finale (1:00)
2016 Intrada Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 103:08

Notes Icon
The insert of the 1990 album includes no extra information about the score or film. That of the 2016 Intrada album includes extensive notes about both.
Copyright © 1998-2020, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the 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 Dick Tracy are Copyright © 1990, 2016, Sire Records/Warner, Intrada Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/20/98 and last updated 3/18/17.
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