Apart from the innumerable Newmans, there aren't really any great film music family legacies, but it appears that Jerry has passed on some of is not inconsiderable talent to son Joel, who has already made a name with a few excellent selections in Star Trek: First Contact
and other completely original efforts such as Moon 44, Kull the Conqueror
and Shiloh. His score to Diamonds demonstrates that he is perfectly capable of applying his talents to any type of film and come up smelling of roses. The film itself seems to be some kind of father and son, buddy-buddy, caper, comedy thing with the rather famous Kirk Douglas in the leading role. The music flits from one thing to another with relative ease and what it lacks in overall coherence makes up for in being Randy Newman
or James Horner
delicate to some very OTT big band cues.
The opening title tune is lovely and somehow manages to pull itself away from a generic sentimental theme into being that bit more subtle and thoughtful. The theme appears on occasion throughout, but is used sparingly enough to never feel like it intrudes in every track. The more sentimental selections are interrupted with several more rumbunctious moments with the mandetory comedy scherzo in Harry Drives and the aforementioned Vegas big band tracks. These are especially enjoyable and given a rollicking performance by the Diamonds Orchestra, the members of which include such luminaries as ace trumpeter Malcom McNab and James Horner
's favourite horn player, Jim Thatcher. The entire orchestra is thoughtfully credited inside the booklet. Mugger introduces some darker material that really is rather threatening, but it is relatively short lived and soon gives way to something a little more soothing, before a bit more langerous and loungy jazz in Harry Chooses.
The album is rounded out by Keeps This World Alive which seems strangely familiar for some reason. It is rather difficult to describe, but sounds like Dick Van Dyke performing the finale to a Broadway Musical about cheerful Cockney folk that was co-composed by Chaz, Dave and Randy Newman
. If you take it as pure cheesy fun then it's a hugely entertaining finale to a wonderful score. There are few direct hints of anything by Goldsmith senior and only minor nods towards other composers. The well balanced blend of fun, sentiment and drama have produced an excellent score to what was an apparently unworthy film. Let's hope that Junior gets some better assignments as he clearly has plenty of potential.
Read other recent reviews by Tom Daish: The Snow Files: The Film Music of Mark Snow
, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad