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Artwork copyright (c) 1970 Turner Entertainment Co.; review copyright (c) 2005 James Southall



Esoteric, sometimes bizarre war score


A WWII comedy mixing scenes of battle with a humorous caper plot, Kelly's Heroes was director Brian Hutton's follow-up to the popular Where Eagles Dare but, despite a cast including popular names Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland and Telly Savalas, wasn't particularly well-received.  Its rather peculiar nature possibly kept audiences away, though it has enjoyed something of a surge in popularity in the ensuing years.  Providing the music was Lalo Schifrin; unsurprisingly, the eclectic film prompted him to write one of his most eclectic scores.  The original album release was a re-recording which changed the tone of things greatly; for their release, Film Score Monthly have included those selections as bonus tracks, but the main attraction is the first ever release of the original film recordings of the music.

For the most part, Schifrin writes in a dissonant style for a small orchestra, dominated by percussion, for the more serious battle scenes.  Things are held together by a fairly odd (and not particularly appealing) main title march, but it's a far cry from the kind of thing this sort of movie usually receives; it's appropriate for the film, but the whistling and small nature of it don't make the most endearing piece of music to sit and listen to.  The theme is heard in various different guises over the course of the album, including a very odd electric guitar riff in "Tiger Tank".  There's also some gentle country music sung by Hank Williams Jr. ("All for the Love of Sunshine") and a very cheesy ballad "Burning Bridges".  "Quick Draw Kelly" is very strange too, but is probably the most entertaining track on the whole album; a pastiche of Ennio Morricone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, complete with sampled animal noises, electric guitars and a great little theme, it tries to outdo Morricone himself, and succeeds.

This is such a peculiar score, it is one which is very difficult to sit and listen to from start to end.  The main theme eventually gets quite irritating and the enormous clash of styles from one piece to the next can be a bit too much to take; while I'm sure Schifrin's fans are pleased to have it released 35 years after the film for which it was written was first released, it's not a typical score from the composer (who usually writes interesting and enjoyable scores) by any means.  FSM's production values are typically good, with fine stereo sound and detailed, interesting liner notes by Lukas Kendall and Jeff Bond. 


  1. Behind Enemy Lines (1:52)
  2. Kelly's Heroes (2:45)
  3. Big Joe / Gold Bar / Colonel Dankhopf (1:46)
  4. Si Tu Me Dis Monique Aldebert (3:36)
  5. More Gold / Mulligan / A Piece of the Action (1:38)
  6. Sherman Holiday Inn (2:54)
  7. Warriors on the Move (1:40)
  8. Burning Bridges (1:43)
  9. Crapgame (:57)
  10. All for the Love of Sunshine Hank Willians Jr (3:46)
  11. Close Order Drill (2:34)
  12. Minefield (2:15)
  13. Ready for the Ambush (3:39)
  14. All for the Love of Sunshine (2:17)
  15. Burning Bridges The Mike Curb Congregation (2:41)
  16. Clairmont Waltz (:43)
  17. Commando Prelude, Opus I-V (7:24)
  18. Tiger Tank / More Tiger (2:59)
  19. Quick Draw Kelly (2:54)
  20. Covered Boxes (:52)
  21. End Credits (2:32)
  22. Kelly's Heroes (alternate) (2:53)
  23. Burning Bridges (alternate) (2:11)
  24. Tiger Tank (alternate) (1:59)
  25. Clairmont Waltz (alternate) (2:19)
  26. Battle Hymn of the Republic (2:56)
  27. Quick Draw Kelly (alternate) (3:10)
  28. All for the Love of Sunshine (alternate) (2:49)
  29. I've Been Working on the Railroad (3:41)
  30. All for the Love of Sunshine (second alternate) (2:34)