Three Classic Scores by David Shire

Whenever I think of the film scores of the 1970s, I always have three specific themes that stand out in my mind. Of course there were lots of incredible soundtracks and music made for movies in that decade but these were composed by the same artist, David Shire. What’s especially cool about them is the fact they are so different from each other. One is very simple and uses a singular instrument: the piano, the other is a bombastic, funky track and the last is a melodic, breezy theme that counters the actual content of the movie. What all of them have in common is a sheer brilliance of composition which adds so much to the movies they were a part of. For me they’re wholly unforgettable and prime examples of why movies can make such long lasting impacts on viewers.

THE CONVERSATION (1974) This is a story about secrets, surveillance and conspiracy. The music always reminds me of a trail of breadcrumbs that you think will lead to something but suddenly end and then appear again somewhere else. The piano also sounds like a trickling of thoughts that go through your mind then disperse.

THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE (1974) This film takes place in New York City where the people are rushing everywhere and the subways are running nonstop. This theme conveys the train’s power and movement, but also an imminent danger with a funky driving beat that once it starts you don’t it want to end.

STRAIGHT TIME (1978) A career criminal gets out of prison and is thrown back into the hustle of society to try and start over only to get jammed up and repeat his old bad habits. The music is a tragic-comedy with bursts of positive light shining through only to subside and come back down to reality. This is another film like Taxi Driver that focuses on a desperate figure who is ultimately his own worst enemy.



Editor-In-Chief of The Grindhouse Cinema Database/Furious Cinema contributor. Pete is a rabid movie geek who enjoys everything from wild n' crazy exploitation/cult flix to big budget mainstream classics. His other interests include: graphic design, cartooning and music.

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