Bullitt (1968) was a tough cops and robbers film set in San Francisco. It
would have been routinely tedious had it not been for the charismatic presence
of Steve McQueen and probably the wildest, most exciting car chase ever filmed.
Lalo Schiffrins score is still remarkably popular and has seen something
of a revival of late with copies of this CD prominent in most shops. It is
big band mainstream jazz-based with strong Latin inflections. The music of
many tracks is thrusting and exciting appropriate to the hard-edged gritty
atmosphere of this fast-moving thriller. One track, Ice Pick Mike has dark
sinister piano figures, growling brass, a low rumbling saxophone motif over
an abrasively scraping ostinatio. I guess by the powerful motor rhythms of
Shiting Gears, that this track serves as undersoring for the
famous car chase. More relaxed and romantic, sometimes smoochy material makes
up other cues such as The Aftermath of Love and On the
Way to san Mateo; while others such as The First Snowfall
make agreeable easy listening.
The music divorced from the film makes great listening; its great jazz
to a great beat good for dancing too.