bandolero-4The 1960,s through to the mid 1970,s were possibly my favourite time for film music, it was an era which many dubbed the silver age of film music, with composers such as Elmer Bernstein, Maurice Jarre, John Barry, Ron Goodwin, Francis Lai and Michel Legrand to name a few making their mark and also creating their own individual musical fingerprints upon each movie that they worked on. Jerry Goldsmith was also particularly active within this period and he along with numerous other composers created a sound and also a style that was unique to the movies from these decades. BANDOLERO was released in 1968, and although it had been said that the western movie from Hollywood had run its course and was loosing its appeal amongst cinema goers, BANDOLERO was still an interesting and above all entertaining example from the genre, the face of the western was changing at this time and the European/Italian sage brush saga was beginning to gain momentum and popularity, and to a degree had itself begun to influence Hollywood productions, with its increased use of violence and the location in which the stories were set.  BANDOLERO, brought together four actors in the main roles that were in a word STARS. James Stewart, Dean Martin, George Kennedy and Raquel Welch all turned in good performances and even the latter who had been criticised heavily for her acting ability was believable in her role. Directed by veteran movie maker Andrew V McLaglen who had worked on a number of westerns, many of which contained what was thought to be tongue in cheek or unnecessary comedic references and antics that after a while became a little tired and certainly clichéd. However BANDOLERO was slightly different, the director did not look for cheap laughs or uncalled for clumsiness from the characters, instead we were treated to a movie that was entertaining and also in many ways somewhat poignant in places, and is undoubtedly an adventure that is powerful and relentless. The score by Jerry Goldsmith, includes many of the composers whimsical sounding western musical trademarks, such as Jews harp, castanet’s, accordion, and on this occasion a whistler (shades of a fistful of dollars). The composer underlines these and also elevates them with strong use of brass, strings and percussion which are themselves supported by Hispanic sounding guitar and Latin laced passages giving the score a Mexican feel and atmosphere, electric guitar also features alongside  solo trumpet and various other percussive elements, which at times sound like they are out of PLANET OF THE APES.




Cover of "Bandolero!"
Cover of Bandolero!

This was a sound that Goldsmith also employed previous to BANDOLERO, on western movies such as RIO CONCHOS, HOUR OF THE GUN and STAGECOACH, plus it was this sound and these quirky traits of orchestration that the composer utilized on other scores of the western variety 100 RIFLES, RIO LOBO, WILD ROVERS and THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE. But he did not restrict this style to just westerns as it can be heard in many of his scores from this period. To review a score that is already an established favourite of Goldsmith devotees is somewhat difficult because after all they know the music, they are aware that it is of high quality and contains highly infectious and haunting compositions.  But where this release is different is that it contains the actual score, which is represented in the first 15 cues on the compact disc, then there are a further 3 cues which are under the heading of BONUS TRACKS, these include a whistler free version of the opening theme. Then from tracks 19 thru to 28 we have the cuts from the original album release which was on Project 3 records and came in the form of a luxurious looking gatefold LP. So for me it’s the first 15 tracks that are the attraction of this release, I had always thought BANDOLERO was a score brimming with thematic material, but this opinion was based upon the LP release, this compact disc is another story, it is overflowing with Goldsmith’s musical excellence and oozing with the composers ingenuity, originality and prowess, it being filled to capacity with inspiring and driving compositions that delight and enthral. Solo guitar features on a number of cues, as does romantically laced string performances that are melancholy and memorable. This is a classic score, and one that will become a firm favourite all over again when you experience this recording. Presented to La La Land Records normal high standard, with striking art work, numerous stills and excellent notes by Julie Kirgo.

Bandolero! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)