Enter the Dragon (Extended Edition)

Music By: Lalo Schifrin

Distributed by: Aleph Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            When I received the Extended Edition of the Enter the Dragon Soundtrack for review late last year, I was reminded just how much I loved the film.  I am of the personal opinion that Enter the Dragon is the best of Bruce Leeís films.  Realizing that it was also the only one I didnít have on DVD, I rushed out to get myself a copy.  I watched the film for the millionth time before I checked out the soundtrack.

            The musical score of Enter the Dragon was created by noted Argentine pianist, composer and conductor Lalo Schifrin.  Music was in Schifrinís family - his father was a violinist - and Lalo Schifrin began studying the piano at the age of six.  He developed an interest in jazz and became a jazz performer before getting involved in film scoring in the early 1960s.  In addition to his many jazz albums, Lalo Schifrin has composed musical score for a number of television series and movies, including The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible, Planet of the Apes, Starsky and Hutch, Cool Hand Luke, Bullitt, Kellyís Heroes, the Dirty Harry movies, THX 1138 and more.

            Schifrin found creating a musical score for Enter the Dragon to be challenging.  According to Schifrin, ďIt was a challenge to take music from the Orient Ė not the stereotypical Fu Manchu ideas that Hollywood had about Chinese music, but something more authentic.Ē  In the Enter the Dragon Special Edition DVD featurette, Blood and Steel: The Making of Enter the Dragon, we learn that Schifrin stepped out of his comfort zone, using unorthodox methods to create the score, even creating instruments so he could present a unique sound for the film.

            The Enter the Dragon Extended Edition Soundtrack features 56 minutes of original score, much of which was never previously available to the public in any format.  As with most of Lalo Schifrinís scores, Enter the Dragon features a jazz flavor on many tracks, such as Headset Jazz, The Gentle Softness and Into the Night.  There is an exotic flare as well, defining the location of the story in tracks like Hanís Island and The Banquet.  I, for one, love the suspenseful moments created in the action tracks like Prologue - The First Fight, The Human Fly and The Big Battle.  I particularly liked the hazy feeling to the music in Broken Mirrors, the iconic scene in which Bruce Lee fights Han in the mirror room. 

            Re-watching the film and listening to the Enter the Dragon Soundtrack proved to be a good thing.  I could now perfectly picture the scenes along with each track, proving that Schifrin created the perfect music accompaniment for each scene.  The soundtrack is a wonderful find for any true fan of the film or of Lalo Schifrinís work and was a fun trip down memory lane for me.


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