“Even readers of the Boys Own Paper
might have blanched … ludicrous beyond belief”
– Tom Milne, MFB
The 1981 Lorimar production Escape to
Victory (aka Victory) starred Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine and
Max von Sydow together with a number of internationally renowned soccer stars
including Pele and Bobby Moore in a far-fetched tale about a German POW camp in
1943 that imprisoned a lot of renowned footballers. An escape is planned during
a football match against a German team.
Bill Contis’s score was recorded in Hollywood by 70-80 piece orchestra and the CD booklet caries an amusing story of the
vicissitudes of the recording process.
The Main Title Theme is a racy, lusty march
very much in the mould of so many other heroic World War II films with some
cheeky asides that seem to suggest the prisoners cocking a snook at their
German guards. This devil-may-care impudence is carried over to the sardonic
march that is ‘The Team Uniforms’. The tense material of ‘Match’s Getaway’ is
offset by some more witty ironic material that borders on mickey-mousing – you
can almost visualise the action from Conti’s vividly evocative music.
‘Paris Express’ is a chugging variant of
the main march theme with tense bass piano ostinato and brutal staccato brass –
an imaginative track, well above average for its kind. ‘Team Outing’ is equally
novel, rhythmically jagged and restless, very reminiscent of Ravel’s Bolero.
‘Krauts on a Roll’ unsurprisingly is all brutal swagger, Conti contributing
some impressive polytonal writing. ‘Don’t Leave’ seems to imply tense action
and urgent communication – the ostinati suggest morse code.
‘Let’s Go Guys’ is a cheeky nod towards
Jerry Goldsmith’s Patton march and other American patriotic marches.
Conti’s writing for the brass, as on every track, is most impressive and the
Hollywood Orchestra shine in what must be quite tricky material to perform.
‘Match’s Revenge’ of course recapitulates all the themes in triumph. Three
bonus tracks offer alternative dubs of ‘The Team Uniforms’, ‘Lets Go Boys’ and
Superior heroic, witty marching score for a