JACKBOOTS ON WHITEHALL.

Jackboots_Whitehall_MMS10021

Imagine if you can, the likes of Elmer Bernstein, Ron Goodwin, Malcolm Arnold and Sir William Walton collaborating on a score for a war movie. Such a project would as you can well envisage be a soundtrack full to brimming with powerful themes, patriotic and proud sounding swelling strings, memorable marches and enough high octane battle music to sink a fleet of aircraft carriers. Add to this mix of strong heroic thematic material, mischievous and dark comedic undertones and enough musical parodies from vintage war soundtracks to make any film music enthusiast beam from ear to ear. This is how I would describe Guy Michelmore’s music for JACKBOOTS ON WHITEHALL. Track one THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN is text book war theme, opening with a short but pronounced fanfare of approximately 5 seconds, which segues nicely into a  brass led introduction to the cue that is supported and bolstered by the use of martial sounding timpani and stirring string flourishes, this comes to something of an abrupt halt and gives way to some sinister sounding strings which are short lived and themselves act as an introduction to a more upbeat and intense composition, again this is infused with a martial style of sorts and relies upon the use of brass and percussion that are swept along by the string section. Track number two, HARVEST AND VILLAGE, is a slower and more melodic piece, strings form the backbone of the composition which begins with subtle woods that are underlined by soft and low strings, as the cue progresses it becomes more luxuriant and when strings and woods combine fully the theme blossoms creating an atmosphere that is filled with emotion and warmth.  Track 3, NAZI AIRSHIP, is a more forthright sounding cue, the composer at this point adding electric guitar to the mix, and creating a threatening yet almost mad cap sound and even interpolates the German national anthem into the proceedings to great effect. This style of scoring put me in mind of something that Elmer Bernstein did in movies like SPIES LIKE US and to a degree THE THREE AMIGOS, it just has that characteristic and trait to it.
Track 4, PUNJABI’S LAST STAND, is a fairly brief cue, but again has the ability to attract the listeners attention and hold it. It’s a jaunty and likeable piece, performed in the main by strings which are a forefront and also a background to an almost cheeky sounding woodwind solo, and some nice punctuation from the timpani which add an aire of tension to the events.  The remainder of the score turns up a veritable smorgasbord of musical delights, that will not only haunt and entertain but will also raise more than the odd smile here and there, take a listen to cue number 11 for example NAZIS IN LONDON, this begins with something that resembles a German march and segues into a driving and urgent sounding composition, this short interlude gives rise to an almost keystone cops treatment of Deutschland Deutschland, that I personally would say also has some Yiddish sounding influences? Then it sweeps its way into a waltz type piece which brings the cue to its conclusion. The score also includes some great pastoral sounding cues that are suitably lilting and melodic, Plus we are treated to  a version of Scotland the Brave that has to be heard, complete with bagpipes playing over rock guitar and drums. There is also a rendition of RULE BRITTANIA that at one point overwhelms the German march and a scattering of French infused nuances, and the demo version of the theme which is performed on kazoo’s amongst other things. All in all this is a fun score, not to be taken to seriously like the movie it was written for, overall a rewarding and highly entertaining soundtrack, released on movie score media, I think fans of war movie scores will love it, or maybe hate it, either way this is a release that I would recommend.

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