Title: Il poliziotto della brigata criminale (Fear over the city)
Composer: Ennio Morricone
A French crime thriller starring one of France’s biggest stars Jean-Paul Belmondo in his first role as a police officer. Morricone scored the film without any surprises but included many nods to his previous works even outside the Poliziotteschi genre.
The score begins with a heartbeat sound effect before the main theme is performed by two Morricone trademarks: whistling and harmonica. The theme has an underlying piano ostinato that is also a regular in Maestro’s writing for crime flicks. Most notably it has been used in Revolver (1973) and even in the absolute music work Varianti su un segnale di polizia. The main theme is the only connecting factor and parts of it are heard in almost every track. Even the following track Considerazioni su un omicidio has the B section of the theme reprised for screeching trumpets and clarinets though otherwise it is a nauseating (in a good way) piece for atonal string clusters that swirl around without any structure whatsoever. Sui tetti di Parigi provides snippets of the main theme among a few suspenseful shockers for brass. The ostinato is joined by the nauseating strings and a steady drum beat in Parigi segreta which give the track perfect uneasiness. The following two 4-minute cues evolve entirely around the piano ostinato and they both are great in building up anxiety with every added instrumental colour. Azione panoramica includes another Morricone favourite, the screeching trumpet that is played in an unusual way reminding me of a barking animal. Ostaggi on the other hand includes more improvisation for the piano and at the end has more orchestral backing than its predecessor. Finale reprises the whistling this time in a beaten up way.
This album includes a few pieces from other Morricone scores as well. Sospiri da una radio lontana is originally from Crescete e moltiplicatevi (1973) and it’s a cheesy piece of 70s sleaze complete with sighing vocal work including Edda dell’Orso once again. I haven’t seen Il poliziotto della brigata criminale but in my twisted mind I would imagine this piece would suit perfectly to a scene of a murderer going around killing women while this track was playing in the radio. The ‘lyrics’ of the track are nevertheless “Die, die, die…”. Just an idea for a musical joke but most likely it isn’t like that. All’angolo di una strada di periferia might not be originally from this film either because the longer version of the piece is included on the soundtrack of Storie di vita e malavita from the same year as this film. The reason I think it’s originally from that film is that the piano in this track has prepared sound which doesn’t appear elsewhere. The cue itself is a forgettable piece of dark suspense material. The only other moment of beauty on the album besides Sospiri… is Sosta vietata which is a lounge type dance piece that doesn’t really stand out that well either.
The score is by no means a Morricone classic but there’s a certain charm about it. However it’s very hard to enjoy because the bleak soundscape has no time for beautiful melodies. The inclusion of whistling and harmonica give the music an edge transforming it into a kind of urban Western score. The 30-minute presentation is a perfect length even though longer versions of the score float around as well.
1. Paura sulla città (04:16) ****
2. Considerazioni su un omicidio (03:17) ****
3. Sui tetti di Parigi (01:48) **
4. Sospiri da una radio lontana (06:00) *****
5. Parigi segreta (02:19) ****
6. Azione panoramica (04:14) *****
7. Ostaggi (04:33) ****
8. Paura sulla città (Finale) (01:45) ***
9. Sosta vietata (02:25) ****
10. Manichini (01:20) ***
11. All'angolo di una strada di periferia (02:45) **