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THIS GIRL FOR HIRE
Small-scale but entertaining Broughton tv movie music
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2008 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.; review copyright (c) 2008 James Southall
Bruce Broughton was just making a name for himself as a composer when he scored the tv movie This Girl For Hire in 1983. He had recently scored his first theatrical feature, The Prodigal, but had spent most of his near-ten-year career at that point working in episodic television, on some famous shows (Hawaii Five-O, Dallas) and lots of not-so-famous ones (most intriguingly for me, one called Khan! - I can't begin to imagine what that was about, given it was made several years before William Shatner's infamous cry in the second Star Trek film). I don't suppose anyone remembers this one any more, though it did have a decent cast.
It's amazing really that 25 years after an obscure tv movie that nobody remembers, its soundtrack can appear and will probably sell out, but that's where we are in this golden age for fans of film music (well, golden in the sense of all the old scores being released for the first time). Broughton's music is not one of his finest efforts, but he skilfully used his small orchestral ensemble to fashion a highly-listenable score which vaguely evokes 1940s film noir. Alto sax is the driving force much of the time, with solos dominating the main theme and various other pieces. It's sultry, sexy and most entertaining.
The more straight dramatic segments have slight echoes of Herrmann about them (the jabbing strings of "Shafted" on one hand, the shimmering tension underlying "A Gigantic Black Hole" on the other). There are one or two other little set-pieces which are nice vignettes ("Classical Source" with its baroque stylings, "Western Movie" an intriguing preview of famous scores to come from this composer) but really it's the noir sound which is the highlight. The brief nature of the majority of the cues leaves little time for development, but Broughton is too good a composer to write unfocused music, so everything remains entertaining. It isn't a major score, but it's nice to have a release of music from this fine composer which few people will have heard before. Liner notes from Broughton and producer Douglass Fake round out the package.