Intrada: SEVEN DAYS IN MAY and THE MACKINTOSH MAN


SEVEN DAYS IN MAY
Composed and Conducted by JERRY GOLDSMITH

THE MACKINTOSH MAN
Composed and Conducted by MAURICE JARRE

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John Frankenheimer’s emphasis on realism in the 1964 production Seven Days in May provided composer Jerry Goldsmith with an unusual challenge. Goldsmith gave the film what is likely his shortest score for a feature film—only a handful of cues totaling eleven minutes in the finished film. After a tense main title (with drums evoking the role of the military as the film’s “bad guys”), Goldsmith’s music appears only occasionally, and always to help maintain tension. He contributed longer cues for two major sequences: a suspenseful scene of trailing to a secret rendezvous and exciting music for a daring escape from a secret base. His score features simple motifs and distinctive rhythms rather than fully developed melodies, using similarly sparse orchestration, featuring only pianos and percussion; its closest cousin in the Goldsmith oeuvre is his music for the “Time Out” segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie. Intrada's release features the premiere release of the score in stereo, including a few minutes of score not used in the film and an alternate main title, all totaling 17 minutes.

As Seven Days in May unfolds, a series of seemingly innocent messages among top U.S. generals about the upcoming Preakness horse race leads Col.“Jiggs” Casey (Kirk Douglas) to uncover a military plot to overthrow the U.S. government. Casey and beleaguered President Jordan Lyman race against the clock to foil the imminent coup, finding obstacles at every turn.

For the 1973 Warner Bros. film The Mackintosh Man, Maurice Jarre provided a distinctive and memorable main theme reminiscent of his then-recent score to another international espionage thriller filled with moral ambiguity, Alfred Hitchcock’s Topaz. The theme has a strongly European flavor befitting the setting, with prominent use of the cimbalom, a zither-like instrument whose unique sound has been a memorable part of the soundscape of such spy films as The Ipcress File. For the first part of the film, the music glides along dispassionately, but once Paul Newman's hero Joseph Rearden's mission goes south, Jarre drops the detached approach and lets his music reflect the hero’s state, providing eerie, unsettling variations on his main theme.

In the film, Paul Newman plays Joseph Rearden, an intelligence agent working for an English spymaster named Mackintosh. Under Mackintosh’s orders, Rearden assaults a London postman in order to steal a fortune in jewels—and ends up (as intended) with a twenty-year prison sentence. It is in prison that Rearden’s real mission begins. He encounters an infamous double agent named Slade and a gang of criminals called “the Scarperers,” whose specialty is breaking out long-term prisoners. The Scarperers help Rearden and Slade escape together. To confirm his suspicion that high-ranking politician Sir George Wheeler is a double agent, Mackintosh informs him of Rearden’s mission to expose the Scarperers. The plan works too well—Rearden is severely beaten by his “rescuers,” and Mackintosh is put in the hospital by a hit-and-run driver, ultimately dying of his injuries. Rearden manages to escape from the Scarperers, and with the help of the beautiful Mrs. Smith, Mackintosh’s daughter and assistant, he tracks Wheeler and Slade to Malta.

INTRADA Special Collection Vol. 235
Retail Price: $19.99
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For track listing and sound samples, please visit:
INTRADA

-Jeremy [Retro-Z]

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