The tenderness of Elmer Bernstein’s score for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD meets the officious jackboot he’d apply to STRIPES to accompany one of Robert Duvall’s best roles as a marine pilot who wears his full-fury stripes at home. Bernstein was equally adept at dealing with youthful life-lessons and the charge-ahead determination of military hard-asses. And no picture played better to both melodic strengths than the critically decorated GREAT SANTINI, whose score swings from the twinkling of adolescent magic to the roaring military drum force of a blowhard, who nonetheless packs his own hidden heart. The film’s South Carolina location in a pre-Vietnam America also allows Bernstein to engage in a RAMBLING ROSE rustic feel, as well as 60’s rock-jazz source. But there’s also racism in the air, which inspires some of Bernstein’s most savage music for a racial attack that gets some canine payback. But overall, there’s an overriding kindness in Bernstein’s work that puts SANTINI among his affecting best. Film Score Monthly’s notable release (among its last as the label sadly winds down) sounds just dandy, with its unused main title “The Santini Mystique” an over-the-top march intro that plays Duvall like Godzilla entering the gladiator ring.


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Article: CD Review -THE GREAT SANTINI soundtrack

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