A Guide for the Married Man
FILM SCORE MONTHLY
For further information (including track list):
After FSM's previous offering of Ron Grainer's truly magnificent score for
The Omega Man, I really wanted to say kind things about this long
awaited release of one of John (Johnny) Williams early works, before the
heady days of Spielberg and Star Wars. But sadly I'm going to find
that difficult. Let me try to explain why.
The title song performed by The Turtles with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse is
actually quite a fun, very sixties pop tune and this melody features throughout
in various incarnations on tracks such as 'Misdirection/Emergency Kit' and
'Trial Run'. The mainstay of the score is a combination of this swinging,
then fashionable pop music, with orchestral background comedy scoring, which
while being extremely accomplished is less rewarding to listen to.
Williams certainly provides many proficient cues like 'Prologue/Off to Work'
with its subtle, intricate opening and music to illustrate the advance of
time from dinosaur to modern man. 'Why do they do it?' is also worth mentioning
where everything is exaggerated, all with tongue firmly in cheek.
Many pieces are of course incredibly dated now, like 'The Bust-Up Scene'
and 'The Divorcee' and although I suppose that may be attractive to some,
personally I found it all rather tiresome. The problem with a score like
this is the question of its value beyond the historical. The appreciation
of film music divides many fans. Do we admire a soundtrack from a technical
point of view or simply as music? Each has his own view. But whatever the
case, you are entitled to enjoy your listening experience. If you are technically
minded, a score like this will no doubt prove fascinating, but for many others
it will have far less appeal.
There are a few small pleasures. The unused version of the 'Main Title: A
Guide for the Married Man', as performed by a small studio chorus, is quite
entertaining, especially as a musical time capsule. Also of note is 'The
Globetrotters', a kind of mock secret agent theme that isn't at all bad.
Indeed, it would not have been out of place in something like Our Man
Flint, made around the same period.
But what is right for a film is not necessarily meant to stand up as purely
a piece of music and my own personal ratings will always be geared toward
the listener rather than the viewer. After all, it's the CD I'm discussing,
not the film.
Few could fault the overall presentation or quality of this CD, the inclusion
of numerous bonus and alternate tracks to be commended. But removed from
its source, it really is only interesting in an academic sense.
So, while acknowledging this as a fine example of a sixties comedy score,
I find it very difficult to recommend with any true conviction.