Kelly's Heroes (1970) is a WWII comedy-adventure cult classic starring western genre icon Clint Eastwood and Telly Salavas, Donald Rutherland and Don Rickles. This movie was a pot pouri ranging between a war heist movie with a didactic 60's anti-war message to bizarre comedy. The plot of the film revolves around the possible discovery of a hoard of gold located behind enemy lines that attracts amoral army Lieutenant Kelly (Eastwood) and his motley crew.
The film was directed by Brian Hutton, who had already directed Clint Eastwood in his other famous WWII film Where Eagles Dare that had been scored by Ron Goodwin. But for this adventure romp, Lalo Schifrin was hired after working with Hutton on Sol Madrid.
Appropriate to the wildness of the plot, Lalo Schifrin delivered a rambunctious score. For starters, Schifrin delivers a foot-stomping, jazzy march scored mainly for
of military snares and whistles. It’s a cross between the "Colonel Bogey’ march from The Bridge Over the River Kwai and Elmer Bernstein’s The Great Escape. The result borders on the hilarious, but it is very enjoyable.
For Donald Sutherlands' larger than life and strangely anachronistic bearded hippie character: "Tank Sgt. Oddball" Schifrin belts out an Eastern European gypsy flavoured theme which is more like a source cue.
One of the main album highlights is "Quick Draw Kelly". In the film all the four characters confront a German Tiger tank in a western-style duel. This is a wonderful cue that both parodies and pays homage to legendary star Eastwood and Ennio Morricone's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
The album like the film is over the top but nicely entertaining. The styles of the music are very mixed but the unique Schifrin sound is always there. For instance, fans will recall Dirty Harry and Scorpio in "Warriors on the move". Many of the cues signify the obligatory military sound, most notably in "Close Order Drill". And then there is the elaborate suspense build-up in the "Commando Prelude, Opus 1-IV" which has an oddly 70's percussive sound built in. A recurring motive is the "Tiger Tank" which features an electric guitar, another highlight.
Supporting the thematic structure of the film, there is a great deal of external source music including the song " Burning Bridges" - a folksy melody also used as the opening title and end titles in the film. "All for the Sunshine" is another vocal performed by Hank Williams Jr. Both these songs have instrumental versions on this album. Another mellowed down instrumental version of "All for the Sunshine" is an added bonus that rounds off the album. But the most outrageous inclusion is a Kazoo version of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" which has to be heard to be believed.
The original Kelly's Heroes LP was essentially a re-recording that did not really represent Schifrin's score as actually heard in the movie. This CD features, for the first time, both the original film score and major sources cues (all remixed from the film’s 3 track stereo masters) The sound is dynamic and clear. As a bonus the CD also features the LP version but these were mastered off the LP as the album masters were in degraded condition. As with all FSM CDs, the booklet is crammed with a detailed background on the film and new comments and reminisces from composer Lalo Schfirin in the track by track liner notes (written by Lukas Kendall and Jeff Bond).
All in all this is a fun album - for Schifrin fans this is a must have! FSM has lovingly prepared a deluxe edition with bonus cues galore.
Film Score Monthly News Release:
Kelly's Heroes (1970) was a sprawling WWII comedy-adventure starring Clint Eastwood as an amoral Army officer who organizes a platoon to rob a bank loaded with gold behind enemy lines. Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland and Don Rickles co-star as comic relief in a film that oddly blends escapist adventure, farce, violent action, and anti-war philosophizing.
Kelly's Heroes was scored by Lalo Schifrin, whose other Eastwood movies include Coogan's Bluff, The Beguiled, Joe Kidd and the Dirty Harry films. Schifrin responded to the film's shifts in tone with an eclectic score encompassing straight-ahead action, pleasantly anachronistic source music, and a jazzy, whistling march for the film's titular heroes.
Three Schifrin songs are included: "Burning Bridges" (performed by The Mike Curb Congregation), "All For the Love of Sunshine" (a country/western song performed by Hank Williams Jr.), and the never-before-heard French cocktail number "Si Tu Me Dis" (performed by Monique Aldebert).
For score fans, it is Schifrin's expansive underscore that is the revelation, most of which has never been released, as the original LP was largely a re-recording. Notable are the propulsive "Tiger Tank" and the climactic spaghetti western spoof, "Quick Draw Kelly." Many of the underscore cues were not included in the film and have never been heard -- chief among them Schifrin's original main and end titles, featuring the whistling theme and replaced in the film by "Burning Bridges."
Kelly's Heroes was released on CD by Chapter III, but that album merely contained the LP tracks. This premiere release of the actual Kelly's Heroes underscore includes the original soundtrack -- newly remixed from the 1/2" stereo masters -- with the LP re-recordings as bonus tracks. Liner notes by Jeff Bond and Lukas Kendall include Schifrin's comments on the project.
Music Composed and Conducted by Lalo Schifrin
Total Time: 54:08
- Behind Enemy Lines 1:52
- Kelly's Heroes 2:45
- Big Joe/Gold Bar/Colonel Dankhopf 1:46
- Si Tu Me Dis (Sung by Monique Aldebert) 3:36
- More Gold/Mulligan/A Piece of the Action 1:38
- Sherman Holiday Inn 2:54
- Warriors on the Move 1:40
- Burning Bridges (instrumental) 1:43
- Crapgame 0:57
- All for the Love of Sunshine (Sung by Hank Williams, Jr.) 3:46
- Close Order Drill 2:34
- Minefield 2:15
- Ready for the Ambush 3:39
- All for the Love of Sunshine (instrumental) 2:17
- Burning Bridges (Sung by The Mike Curb Congregation) 2:41
- Clairmont Waltz 0:43
- Commando Prelude, Opus I-V 7:24
- Tiger Tank/More Tiger 2:59
- Quick Draw Kelly 2:54
- CoveredBoxes 0:52
- End Credits 2:32
Total Time: 24:48
- Kelly's Heroes 2:53
- Burning Bridges 2:11
- Tiger Tank 1:59
- Clairmont Waltz 2:19
- BattleHymn of the Republic 2:56
- Quick Draw Kelly 3:10
- All for the Love of Sunshine 2:49
- I've Been Working on the Railroad 3:41
Total Disc Time: 79:02
- All for the Love of Sunshine (alternate) 2:34