Getting lost in Yonkers seems like a terrible careless thing to do and on my visit to this particular part of New York with Mr Southall resulted in very little getting lost, remarkable for a pair so inept at navigation as we. Had we got lost, then I'm sure Geoffrey Rush could have played Mr Southall and perhaps Rupert Everett could have played my good self. I'm sure it would have been an hilarious film. However, this particular version of the story stars Richard Dreyfuss as a small time criminal with a dodgy moustache as well as the rather comely Mercedes Ruehl and sports a very pleasing score by a certain Elmer Bernstein.
The 1980's did not really provide Elmer Bernstein with the kind of assignments that were worthy of his not inconsiderable talents. There was no decline in the quality of his writing, nor was his music stylistic out of date, but for some reason he seemed to be offered countless comedy films, many of which were quite dreadful. This was of course the time before Marc Shaiman and Alan Silvestri were around to fill this particular film music niche. Lost in Yonkers was perhaps more of a comedy-drama than an out and out comedy and so at least Bernstein had some dramatic substance to get his teeth into. The opening track, inspiringly called Beginnings sets the score off apace with a bouncy, slightly jazzy big band kind of thing. It never quite gets to a level of fervor that could be described as rollocking, but is certainly extremely catchy. This opening exuberance is something of a red herring as from then on, the music takes on a much smaller scale.
Bernstein is no stranger to family drama territory, one need only think of To Kill a Mockingbird as a high water point, but so many others are almost as wonderful. While Lost in Yonkers is not by no means the best entry in this area of Bernstein's output, it is certainly a cut above younger composers writing for similar films, yet again proving how adept he is with smaller scale efforts. It has a lightness of touch throughout that doesn't resort to endless meandering and that makes it well worth hearing. Bernstein's ability to warm even the hardest heart has in no way diminished and is thus recommended to all.