During the seventies Jerry Goldsmith made several forays into the world of American television
and here we have one such example with the pilot movie Police Story (1973), the success of
which lead to a series and a number of spin-offs.
The actual 'Theme from Police Story' is so brief it barely has time to register, but this is
soon put right, after some initial atmospherics, in 'Hot Car', the main theme given a lively
run through with its fast-paced tempo similar to something like The Man from Uncle.
What follows are a whole host of variations on this central motif with 'The Tail'
displaying a good deal of invention with a particularly infectious rhythm and this
penchant for percussive creativity is also heard to good effect on 'Stakeout #1',
where a groovy bass-line creates a real sense of excitement. By way of contrast, 'Wrong Number'
introduces a quieter, gentle romantic theme and this is further developed in 'A Love Affair'.
This is really a rather sweet melody that adds an extra dimension to the score and rates highly
among the Goldsmith canon of softer, emotional themes. Despite this though, it's inevitably the
catchy central theme that gets the most mileage.
Also included on the disk are a number of library cue variations arranged and conducted by Richard
Shores (all unfortunately only available in mono). Though many are simply adaptations of the tracks
already heard, there are a few occasions where some nice modifications appear, as in 'On the Streets',
'Legwork Montage', the brief 'Watching and Waiting' and an understated version of that appealing
As an extra bonus there's also a suite from Medical Story (1975), another TV pilot that led to a
popular series. In this particular case, although the main theme was composed by Goldsmith,
the actual score was written by Arthur Morton. Opening with a bold, dramatic main theme taking
advantage of some early electronics, this is ably supported by a range of smaller musical motifs,
from a subdued, sober melody to some notable suspense sequences. I was however slightly confused
by the inclusion of a brief reprise of the love theme from Police Story, so much so that I had to go
back and check that the CD player hadn't somehow slipped and returned to a previous track.
But no, the theme appears in the latter half of the Medical Story material, so either it was
also used for that production or it's an oversight. Either that or I have simply lost my marbles!!
Anyway, whatever the case the suite is a welcome addition and there's plenty here to admire and savour.
To summarise, this is funky Goldsmith with a distinct seventies sensibility, very much of a particular
moment in time in musical terms, but for me it's got a whole unique charm all of its own.