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Love Field
  • Composed by Jerry Goldsmith
  • Varèse Sarabande / 1993 / 29m

A surprisingly good film from director Jonathan Kaplan, Love Field deals with prejudice on several levels as a Texan woman, dismissed as white trailer trash, and a black man travel across America against the backdrop of the Kennedy assassination (she is going to Washington DC to attend the president’s funeral).  It prompted fine performances from Michelle Pfeiffer and Dennis Haysbert in the lead roles and garnered reasonable reviews but barely anyone went to see it (if IMDB is to be believed, it grossed under $2m at the US box office!)

Jerry Goldsmith’s score – one of two he wrote for the director, the other being the under-rated Bad Girls – is in some ways a throwback to the kind of bluesy scores he wrote at the beginning of his career in the 1960s.  Sadly, and inexplicably, many of its finest moments weren’t even featured in the film, being dialled out in favour of very similar, but considerably worse, music by another composer, but all of Goldsmith’s score for the film (running to only 29 minutes in total) is featured on this disc.

Jerry Goldsmith

Jerry Goldsmith

“Family Album”, the opening theme, is excellent, a furiously catchy and attractive piece of blues for piano and strings, actually amongst the loveliest Goldsmith ever wrote, and hearkening back to some of his lighter 1960s music.  In the second cue, “The Posters”, it gets an even lovelier arrangement.  “The Assassination” is a moving piece, but Goldsmith does it in a very subtle way; strings reach a fever-pitch of drama, but it’s not heavy-handed and is all the better for it.  “Lost Luggage” introduces a new concept; some more gentle writing gives way to a synth-augmented piece of action music, extremely simple but very effective as well.  It’s not nearly so furious as most of the composer’s action music of the time, but then nor should it be, given the nature of the film; it’s seasoned with a twinge of tragedy yet nobility.

I suppose a piece like “Roadside Incident” will either make or break the score for many listeners; a very low-key piece representing the fragile state of mind of the film’s protagonists, it is gossamer thin and liable to fall over with the slightest gust of wind – you need to really listen to get anything out of it, give something of yourself in order to get more from the music, something modern day listeners might not be willing to do.

“The Motel” underscores a disturbing and violent scene in the film and the music does slightly seem to come out of nowhere, reminiscent in many ways of the previous year’s Basic Instinct, but it’s good material.  Then comes the score’s pièce de resistance, the exceptional finale “Together Again”, a stunningly beautiful piece based around the main theme, wonderful stuff.  Love Field is not a score for all; it is low-key and subtle music, but ultimately rewarding.  It is a fairly minor work when compared with most of the composer’s scores, but still one worth discovering.

Rating: *** 1/2

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