The Dead Pool

Music By: Lalo Schifrin

Distributed by: Aleph Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            The Dead Pool is the fifth and final film in the Dirty Harry series.  For those of you who are wondering who Dirty Harry is, let me fill you in.  Harry Callahan, portrayed by actor Clint Eastwood, is a hard-nosed cop with a penchant for going the extra mile to get the job done.  Known as a rogue or vigilante cop, Harry literally puts his life and the lives of his numerous partners on the line fighting crime in San Francisco, California.  In this fifth installment of the series, tabloid coverage has made Harry a public figure.  He becomes an unwilling participant in a sick game in which a series of bets are made as to which local celebrity will die first – the “dead pool”.  A serial killer and obsessed fan of the game’s creator attempts to fix the game, making Harry his next target.  Will Harry live to fight crime another day or will he just become another member of The Dead Pool.

            Noted pianist, composer and conductor Lalo Schifrin was asked once again to create the soundtrack for yet another Dirty Harry film.  The Enforcer is the only film in the series that Schifrin was unavailable to compose, so it seemed only natural that he would be chosen for The Dead Pool.  Of course, composing soundtracks for a series of movies presents quite a challenge.  You want the audience to recognize the sound that they associate with their favorite action hero, but at the same time you want to create something new, indicating that your hero is about to enter a new phase in his career.

            In Sudden Impact, Lalo Schifrin went for a more disco and techno influence in his music.  For The Dead Pool, he opts for a jazzier sound.  In fact, the entire soundtrack is jazz infused with funk in certain areas.  Eerie and ominous in some places, Lalo Schifrin’s music takes you on a trip into the mind of a serial killer.  Reverb and disjointed sound mixed with ominous undertones let you know that the music was written for a scene featuring our “dead pool killer.”  Rising crescendos heighten the awareness causing tension to rise, adding a sense of urgency and letting the listener know that something big is about to happen.  Repetition of high notes played on the piano also adds to the sense of urgency. 

            Lalo Schifrin has done it again with a soundtrack that perfectly completes the movie it was created for.  The Dead Pool Soundtrack is not very lengthy – about forty minutes of music.  However, the music is not meant to be long and drawn out, but to be short in length and have a dramatic impact on the listener.  The music goes hand in hand with the visuals of the film adding intensity to the scenes.  Dirty Harry fans will love this music.  Jazz aficionados will be happy to add The Dead Pool Soundtrack to their collection. 

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