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  • Composed by Georges Delerue
  • Quartet Records / 2014 / 53m

A film that sounds like it came from a different era, Partners – actually from 1982 – paired Ryan O’Neal and John Hurt as a pair of detectives – one straight, one gay – pretending to be a couple and infiltrating the gay community in Los Angeles where there has been a spate of murders.  It attracted much scorn for the stereotypes employed by Hurt’s character (he just loves doing the housework), though it was intended just as a light comedy (from the writer of La Cage Aux Folles).  Georges Delerue was trying to make a career for himself in America at the time, having had such a glorious one in Europe, and wrote a typically heartfelt score for this film, virtually all of which went unused; and it makes its album début on this 2014 release from Quartet Records.  It is fairly typical of his work on American movies at the time – light, airy, wonderfully tuneful and very enjoyable.

The two main themes are presented in the first two tracks.  “Partners Theme” is one of those characteristic waltzes the composer did so well, with the sweeping strings and rhythm section such clear identifiers of his work (it’s probably closest to the outstanding Steel Magnolias).  Then in “1M2 / 1M3” (seriously, why don’t the record labels just make up titles when for whatever reason the composer didn’t name the cue!?) comes the folksy secondary theme, a lovely homely feel from the harmonica solo.  There’s a beautiful, summery melody in “I Need Some Air”, highlighted by a cheerful dancing flute solo.  “M52” is a peculiar bit of action music, all madcap and jolly; elsewhere the suspense material is mostly more straight-faced, done fine but not the most interesting music apart from when Delerue dials up the melodrama a bit with some dramatic horns.  Perhaps the highlight of the album is the heartfelt “Domestic Scene”, the lilting theme at its most attractive.  Partners is slightly odd, the mix of gorgeous melodies with darker suspense and comedy action never quite flowing as naturally as the composer’s music usually does; having said that, the good parts are certainly good enough to make it an easy recommendation to any Delerue fan – and it’s a nice breezy album that is never unappealing.

Rating: *** | |

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  1. ANDRÉ - CAPE TOWN. (Reply) on Wednesday 21 May, 2014 at 13:34

    I’m amazed that there’s been no reaction to Quartet Records’ premier release of this ‘new’ DELERUE score. It lay unheard and forgotten in studio vaults for 32 years > and no applause for its discovery from collectors – following James’ favourable critique. The music is gorgeous — from the bromantic title theme that celebrates an unlikely ‘Partners’ relationship to variations of that cue for the John Hurt character. DELERUE has crafted music for a male character… regardless of his sexual orientation [as he did for the’Biloxi Blues’ gay character]… it’s music that is warm, humane and beautiful. Compare the ‘Partner’ themes to those awful, uncaring underscored cues devised by LEONARD ROSENMAN for another 1982 movie ‘Making Love’ starring Michael Ontkean as a young L.A docter who meets Harry Hamlin a gay novelist. Their ensuing complex relationship resulted in unemotive, unrelated and unchallenging themes from ROSENMAN. ‘Milk’, written by DANNY ELFMAN in 2009 was another ‘missed opportunities’ score. His music failed to define Harvey Milk’s [Sean Penn] successful political battles against America’s harsh anti-gay rights… nor Milk’s relationship with Scott [James Franco]. I recall ENNIO MORRICONE’S ‘Here’s to You’ anthem for the activists in “Sacco e Vanzetti”… JERRY GOLDSMITH’S homáge to the Freedom Fighters in “Under Fire” & GEORGES DELERUE’S emotive salute to the political activists in “To Kill a Priest”. ELFMAN’S music to celebrate the activism of a Gay Culture against threatening subjugation by inhumane legislation pales in comparison & his dreary love theme ignores the emotive content of any relationship – gay or straight. Incidentally, the ‘Partners’ album contains three iconic jazz source cues: ‘In the Mood’…’Moonlight Serenade’…and ‘Tuxedo Junction’ (traditionally) arranged and conducted by DELERUE.