One of the most rollickingly enjoyable crime movies of any age is Michael Crichton’s 1978 historical heist flick THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY which had dapper Sean Connery, Donald Sutherland and a particularly bodice-cous Lesley Anne-Warren ripping off the Crimean War gold from said speeding train.
The fourth accomplice who truly helps them get away with the crime of the Victorian century is composer Jerry Goldsmith, delivering what arguably stands as his most elegantly stylish, and fun score of all time. With a score that sounds as much as a locomotive as melodically possible, the thematically driven Goldsmith varies his main motif between the thrill of the conspirators’ key-stealing set-ups and their breathless pursuit of the vaulted, moving treasure. Whether taking the forms of a sensual harp, the dark suspense of a prison break, chugging ahead with a whistle and percussion, and engaging in his brassy, staccato action writing, Goldsmith’s score is an exemplar in rhythmic pacing.
His music always carries a cunning wink in its eye without sacrificing the criminal enterprise’s sense of danger, or the magic of the glistening prize- a lush, orchestral majesty that even hearkens to Goldsmith’s upcoming gig on STAR TREK- THE MOTION PICTURE. In any case, consider THE GREAT ROBBERY as Goldsmith’s OCEANS ELEVEN, employing a fun, funky classical approach in going for the big heist. First released on LP at a concise 27 minutes and change, Intrada’s ultimate edition packs the original album while also giving us the whole musical treasure, one that reveals even more energetic, scheming complexity to Goldsmith’s masterwork, with Victorian source stylings to spare. It’s a long-awaited release that’s a steal.
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Article: Review of THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY soundtrack