Catch Me If You Can

DreamWorks US (0600445041028)
DreamWorks Germany (0600445041028)
Movie | Release date: 12/10/2002 | Format: CD, Download

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# Track Artist/Composer Duration
1.Catch Me If You Can2:41
2.The 'Float'4:56
3.Come Fly With MeFrank Sinatra3:19
4.Recollections (The Father's Theme)5:16
5.The Airport Scene2:26
6.The Girl from IpanemaStan Getz, Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim5:15
7.Learning the Ropes8:44
8.Father and Son3:15
9.Embraceable You- Judy Garland2:50
10.The Flash Comics Clue1:47
12.The Christmas SongNat King Cole3:10
13.A Broken Home4:25
14.Doctor, Lawyer, Lutheran3:12
15.The Look of LoveDusty Springfield3:31
16.Catch Me If You Can (Reprise and End Credits)5:14
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Catch Me If You Can - 08/10 - Review of Tom Daish, submitted at
After two differing adventures into the future, Steven Spielberg has turned to recent history to tell the true story of Frank William Abagnale Jnr. who conned his way into jobs and out of other people, a lot of money. The retrograde setting has thus allowed John Williams to steer away from his fantasy heavy scoring of the last few years and onto something completely different. It should be remembered that John(ny) Williams originally made his name as a composer for light comedies and wrote many light, jazzy efforts for films such as Penelope and The Paper Chase. Spielberg's film, by contrast, has somewhat more dramatic weight and so Williams' job is to carefully balance a lightness of touch with music of consequence.

Perhaps the only recent example the style that Williams employs here is in the somewhat unfairly maligned Sabrina, although that was ostensibly a romantic score and Catch Me If You Can is essentially a cat and mouse chase, but with the serious edge of exactly why Abagnale did what he did. The brief opening cue introduces the jazz element with a sax solo, performed by Dan Higgins, which threatens to mutate into an edgy and suspenseful chase cue, with restless strings and flute taking the sax's lead. The 'Float' develops this music further into one of the highlight tracks of the score that introduces one of the main themes, a fairly playful, almost Christmassy melody that represents the chase element. Some of the distinctive harmonic twists of Sabrina are quite evident on a number of occasions, although there is the feeling of more dramatic weight here.

The Father's Theme (the subtitle of the cue, Recollections), is the second notable melody of the score and is much more somber and sobering. The album version perhaps overplays the improvisational sax solo which leads the arrangement, the result being that the quite lovely melody is obscured a little. Call me old fashioned, but in some ways I can't help feel that a more traditional strings version might have been more engaging. Both this and the chase theme appear on numerous occasions, although are offered in surprisingly few variations. The chase theme is always perky and the Father's theme is always on sax and quite somber. Although neither is developed a great deal, they appear infrequently enough to avoid seeming overused. The incidental moments are always engaging, particularly the tense Airport Scene, even if it does seem to surprisingly echo Minority Report's terse opening.

The period songs actually break the score up in a good way and I can't complain as Come Fly With Me is probably my favourite song by Old Blue Eyes. The titular finale cue reprises the major material into a two part arrangement that doesn't seem to resolve as strongly as it might, but still makes for a decent enough concert presentation. One pleasing aspect is the transparency of orchestration; Williams' recent efforts have had very rich and broad arrangements which results in a thick texture, but even the heavier passages of Catch Me If You Can have a gentle grace. A charming change in direction for Williams and an interesting chance for him to return to the time before his grand symphonic writing became de rigeur and for, of all things, a Spielberg film. Surprising fun.
Catch Me If You Can - 06/10 - Review of Andreas Lindahl, submitted at
John Williams returns to his jazz roots with the score for Steven Spielberg's Catch Me if You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the con artist Frank Abagnale Jr. and Tom Hanks as FBI agent Carl Hanratty hot on his trail. Catch Me if You Can is not the typical John Williams score for a Spielberg movie. The bombastic music and the memorable, lyrical themes are gone, replaced by a low key and, at times, minimalistic score that relies heavily on jazz, highlighted by piano solos, but above all Dan Higgins' saxophone solos.

Apart from the jazz elements, Williams also makes extensive use of the kind of minimalistic, rythmic John Adams inspired writing that many of his latest scores, such as A.I. Articifial Intelligence and Minority Report, have been full of. The title track "Catch Me if You Can", which also opens the soundtrack CD, is an excellent example of this kind of writing, as is "The 'Float'", with their quick, repeated musical figures. It's certainly effective in its way of creating a sense of motion and excitement and works great together with Williams' "traditional" scoring style (which is far from entirely absent from this score), as well as the scores' main theme, which is an upbeat melody that sticks, despite the fact that it actually isn't especially good or memorable. It goes through several transformations and alterations throughout the score, from a rather shy carachter performed by woodwinds, to a rather bold theme performed by the entire orchestra (this is where the traditional, familiar Williams shines through) and also receives a very dreamy and, what seems like, a very improvised treatment by Dan Higgins' saxophone. The scores' other big theme, the "Father's Theme", gets its best rendition in "Recollections". It's a rather introvert and quiet theme, but Higgins' sax solos manage to make it interesting and memorable.

The rest of the score isn't that interesting, since there's a lot of rather uninteresting underscore, that unfortunately loses its purpose and meaning on CD. The score tracks are also interrupted by songs a little too often. No matter how good these classic songs are - and they really are - they sort of ruin the score, which, with its quiet and introvert nature, just can't compete with songs such as "Come Fly With Me", "The Girl From Ipanema" and "The Look of Love". And no matter how good the score is in the film, I find it hard to really enjoy and pay attention to the score on CD.

Interestingly enough, this score marks Williams' 42nd Academy Award nomination, which means that he now is only four nominations from beating composer Alfred Newman's record of 45 nominations. I say "interestingly" because in my opinion Williams has written far better scores' than Catch Me if You Can this year. Minority Report, for example, which is excellent. But I suppose that Catch Me if You Can got so much attention, and its nomination, simply because its not your typical John Williams/Steven Spielberg score. That, however, doesn't mean that it's Oscar worthy material.
Oscars: Best Original Score (Nominee)
World Soundtrack Awards: Best Original Soundtrack of the Year (Nominee)

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