Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2020 December 21 • Monday

The 653rd Soundtrack of the Week is one from the great Maurice Jarre: the score for Grand Prix.

The movie starts with an overture that pretty much presents a digest-version of Jarre's score.

The opening credits for the movie were one of Saul Bass's creations, and it seems that he decided to out-split-screen everyone who ever split-screened.

This was obviously supposed to be a huge movie and so it made sense to get Jarre, who had done so much for the success of Lawrence of Arabia.

Most of what you hear is a heroic nad triumphant theme whose melody can also be adapted for gentler and quieter situations, such as in the "Do You Ever Get Tired" cue or even as a waltz "In the Garden".

Now, Grand Prix is just shy of being three hours long and I'll confess that I got sick of hearing this particular theme.

In the movie's final scene, in fact, it seemed like a grossly inappropriate choice, completely at odds with the visual, emotional and dramatic content of the moment.

And of course by that time you've heard this melody, nice as it is, about ten thousand times. It's a testament to Jarre's genius that he gets so much out of this tune. The slight variation heard in "The Clermont-Ferrand Race" is one example of his brilliant arranging.

There's even a bossa nova version for the album release, "Sarti's Love Theme (Bossa Nova)". Bossa nova was hot enough at the time for there also to be a "Scott's Theme (Bossa Nova)".

As usual, the Film Score Monthly release of this music is just about as good as it gets. I really miss that label.