The long awaited LE MANS 66 or FORD VS FERRAI as it is known in the United States hit the screens this week and by the look of it the critics and the audiences love it, there is certainly a chemistry between Matt Damon and Christian Bale on and off screen as we can witness in the movie and also in the numerous interviews that they have be doing on TV etc in recent days. It’s a story of the underdog, which of course everyone loves and shouts for, I know I do. The film is powerful, exciting and also funny and keeps one fixated throughout. The direction is polished and flawless and also the supporting cast are as excellent as the main players. I know a lot of people will remember the movie LE MANS which starred Steve McQueen which was in cinemas back in the 1970.s. This too was a brilliant movie and is now considered a classic, the musical score for this was written by French Maestro Michel Legrand, and although probably not as memorable as some of his other film scores, still on listening today stands the test of time and remains fresh and vibrantly melodic with ample amounts of dramatic writing as well. For the new movie LE MANS 66, the music has been penned by Hollywood Composers Marco Beltrami and Buck Saunders. This is initially musically very removed from Legrand’s approach to the subject, but as they say its horses for courses and in this case I must say I do prefer the less melodic and syrupy approach of Beltrami and Saunders, this is a score that will tantalise and excite, it is at times just relentless and contains some inventive writing for the more animated scenes within the movie, but saying this there are also some nice interludes which are pretty groovy and retro as in the short lived HENRY FORD THE SECOND and also the jazz orientated FERRARI FACTORY which is a laid back piece for piano, bass and drums which are at ties brushed and almost sleazy. The jazz vibe is carried on throughout the score with the cue PHOTOS TO FIAT sounding like something out of a John Barry score, but for me it is the up beat fast paced cues that attract the attention more, not simply because they are overflowing with a rapid and driving persona but also because of the composer’s inventiveness creating themes that shine through all of the high octane effects, Track 14 for example CHASING BANDINI, is not symphonic or lush in any way, but there is still a theme emerging throughout as the composer’s utilise percussion and guitar to great effect which they underline with even more driving elements to fashion an exhilarating and absorbing composition.
Then in a quieter moment MILES DID IT(track 16) we are treated to a semi lilting theme for guitar which has to it a melancholy and subtle mood. Within the score there is some interesting instrumentation, including organ, that at times I thought evoked the easy listening sound achieved by composers such as Morricone, Nicolai, Piccioni or Umiliani back in the 1960,s, in fact there is a sound within the score that is very Italian retro at times which I found appealing and entertaining. TEAM PLAYER for example could easily be a theme for either a western or Giallo movie. There is just something within the score and its overall sound and style that for me anyway is alluring and interesting. The closing track is probably one of the most infectious and foot taping pieces I have heard for a while, bluesy. Hill billy sound with rock and roll thrown in, LE MANS 59 takes the score out on a high. In my opinion this is a score that you will either love or hate, but in my case, it is the former, worth checking out and adding to your collection as soon as you can.