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February 2001 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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The Fugitive  

  Silva Screen FILMCD 316   [47:06]

For 4 years, US audiences could be certain of 2 things: Dr. Richard Kimble would still be on the run, and that the music underpinning his fleeing footfalls would be a mish-mash of a myriad sources. The full story of the show’s musical history is well chronicled in Jon Burlingame’s great booklet notes in this release. Put concisely, when it wasn’t borrowing from the likes of The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, or general library archives, the music came from a uniquely commissioned body of work from Rugulo.

This album represents about half the total amount of music he wrote from seeing the pilot script and a general brief. Compiled here are some of the best of the many chase cues he composed, as well as a few tender moments. It’s a difficult release to comment on since the cues were tracked to action on numerous occasions. Their only consistent context being determined by the drama of the pieces themselves.

Get beyond the famously the big adventurous expression of the singalong motif ("Theme From The Fugitive"), and most of what follows is literally one protracted variation after another. There’s lots of invention; a nice contrast immediately follows the signature tune by the delicate woodwind solo of "The Kimbles". But although you can enjoy the Herrmannesque use of brass in "Tragic Homecoming", or the stop-start intrigue of something like "Brass Interlude", you can tell there’s something missing.

This music is rightly spotlighted as the advent of a different approach to television scoring. Even though it’s also high-spiritedly engaging, this reviewer finds it hard to reconcile the thinking behind the application of near random music to picture however. The same goes for the scenario the classic Star Trek series wound up with. By repetition these pieces in such series become comfortably recognisable. But also by repetition they have no individuality or particular meaning.

Paul Tonks


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