Released in 1985, this Australian production was something of a groundbreaking movie as it was filmed simultaneously as a motion picture and also as a TV mini series. Sam Neil took the lead role as the debonair and daring Captain Starlight who led his band of wild colonial boys on a series of adventures and robberies. Based on the now familiar and famous story by author Rolf Boldrewood, ROBBERY UNDER ARMS contained an energetic and vibrant musical score by composing duo Gary McDonald and Laurie Stone who formed a musical collaboration in 1980,both came from diverse backgrounds within the world of music and began to become actively involved in the composition of music for film and television in 1982. The brief that they were given by the producers of ROBBERY UNDER ARMS was to create a score that was exciting and thrilling and maybe try to achieve a sound that was a fusion between BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Which is basically what the composers did, it is a score that has numerous sounds and styles to it and does on many occasions touch upon the dramatic, the adventurous and the heroic. Written for a 90 piece orchestra, the score is a pulsating and theme laden work that has within its make up a great sense of the romantic and melodic. The haunting themes being delicate, lush and lingering. Released on Onemone Records in 1991, this is a soundtrack that would be welcome as part of any soundtrack collection, in many ways the music can be likened also to the composing style of fellow Australian film music composer Bruce Rowland and at certain points within its duration does evoke scores such as PHAR LAP and THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER and also I have to say did remind me somewhat of the style employed by composer Roy Budd in films such as SOLDIER BLUE and CATLOW. The compact disc opens with THE MAIN TITLE which is a rousing and robust theme for the films central character Captain Starlight, that also includes elements of the scores more plaintive and romantic sounding thematic material, the brief but affecting opening theme successfully sets the scene for much of what is to follow, with strings and brass being given the lions share of the work to do ably supported by timpani and the occasional punctuation from woodwind. Track number two, STARLIGHT AND AILEEN is a tender and subdued theme which opens with subdued woodwind that has a characteristically English atmosphere to it, strings and horns are added to the mix and the string section take on the main thematic material and expand upon it giving it a more pronounced romantic feel and sound.
Track number three, THE RIDE HOME is as the title suggests a more upbeat and more energetic sounding piece with the central theme for Starlight making a return but being given a more vigorous working by both brass and strings with percussion adding depth and support to the proceedings. Track number four, A TOUCH OF HANDS is certainly the love theme from the score with woodwind etching out a plaintive and somewhat intimate arrangement of the theme for one of the movies main characters Aileen, add to this strings that are mildly lush and it is a beautifully written and performed piece. The remainder of the score is much the same and is a combination of high drama, bold sounding adventure themes and subtle nuances that purvey romantic interludes and humorous occurrences. This is certainly a score that you should own and yes it has been deleted for a while now, but can at times be found on any one of the well known online shopping sites. Highly recommended.