Musings About Music In Film

The Car

By Karol Krok TheCar_600a

Score: The Car

Composer: Leonard Rosenman

The Film: The Car is one of those bad films about murderous objects that go on a bloody rampage. In this case, you guessed it, it’s a car (a modified Lincoln Continental Mark III, to be exact). Not much more needs to be said, really.

The Score: Leonard Rosenman was a respected concert composer at the time who also happened create music for film medium. The Car is probably among the weakest titles he’s worked on but, nevertheless, the managed to smuggle some of his experimental compositional techniques into this unlikely project.

Distinguishing Features: Leonard Rosenman makes an interesting use out of Dies Irae, which he introduces right from the outset in ‘The Car (Main Title’). It’s ugly and dirty, swamped in modern gnarly orchestrations. It returns later several time later on (‘Eerie Car –The Bridge’, ‘Run’ and 'Apparition' are the most notable examples) and de facto becomes this film’s main theme. The score is brutal and rhythmic, exploring many ideas he would later incorporate into his Lord of the Rings only a year later In fact one could almost certainly confuse the two in some passages recalling Mordor music (‘John Killed’, ‘Run’). The composer gets a lot of mileage (pun intended!) out of all those ingredients and creates numerous exciting action pieces towards the end (‘Ray’s Pursuit’, ‘Barrel Roll’, as well as all parts of ‘Chase’). The 'The Car (End Title)' is surprisingly triumphant, given what preceded it, but 'The Car (End Credits)' soon corrects that.

Final Thoughts: While not exactly an easy listen, The Car reminds us that there used to be a room for invention in film scores back in the old good days, where the modern (then) avant garde techniques could be used in the schlockiest of movies. An interesting score which should appeal to fans of this notorious composer.

The Car is out now from Intrada