The film Puppet On A Chain received its theatrical release in Great Britain during the latter part of summer 1970. The movie unfortunately did not do that well at the box office, and thus a planned album release of the soundtrack from the film was cancelled. Now some 31 years on, the score has turned up on CD and LP, which for many collectors of film music will be a welcome sight. Composer Piero Piccioni, has over the past three decades been involved with literally hundreds of film soundtracks, both for the Italian market and also outside of his native country. Maestro Piccioni has written music for a wide variety of films, which have included westerns, thrillers, comedies, horror etc etc etc.

Puppet On A Chain was a British production, that boasted an international cast that had a storyline set amongst the dangerous and seedy underworld elements that frequented the city of Amsterdam. Piccioni,s up beat almost bombastic sounding score was well suited to the frenzied and unrelenting action of the movie, and the composer let loose an array of styles and sounds to compliment and underline the non stop onslaught of activity that unfolded upon the screen. Highly dramatic near symphonic passages are fused with Hammond organ compositions and electric guitar riffs, that in turn are swept along by a a big band style that struts its way throughout the score creating a listening experience that must not to be missed. The work also includes some quieter interludes, as in track 14 ‘The Love Theme’. But for the majority of its duration the score is beaty and up tempo, an amalgamation of the dramatic and the pop orientated sounds of Lounge music. Thick and heavy sounding brass is supported and embellished by Piccioni,s utilisation of percussion, bass guitar and brushed or lightly struck cymbals, on cues such as ‘Escape’ track 6. This formula is repeated on track 7, ‘Night Club’, but this time Piccioni adds a somewhat cheeky Hammond organ to the proceedings, that tweeks its way in and out of the piece, weaving a slightly comical thread throughout the cue.
Every cue contains a passage or a sound that will be of interest to someone. There is also certainly no doubt at all that the score has stood the test of time, as it would riot be out of place in some of today’s spy thrillers, The CD is presented excellently, and contains a booklet which comprises of eight pages, that include photographs and information both from the movie and of the composer. For Italian film music aficionados this release is an essential and important purchase, and one that I recommend without reservation. For collectors that have yet to experience the powerful and original compositions of Piero Piccioni, this CD, I am sure will be a perfect introduction to the colours, sounds and varying styles that are the work of Maestro Piccioni.PUPPET ON A CHAIN.

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