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This Film Score Monthly release premieres two Silver Age scores for films which take very different approaches to their respective stories. Telefon is a taut cold war thriller which plays out on an international stage; Hide in Plain Sight is a moving personal drama which focuses on family. To some extent, these differences are reflected in the music for each film.
Telefon (1977) features Charles Bronson as a KGB agent charged with heading off an international crisis by finding and killing a rogue Stalinist who is activating sleeper agents planted in the United States during the 1950s. Lee Remick co-stars as his helpmate (actually a double agent). The brooding and atmospheric score by Lalo Schifrin contributes greatly to the film’s tension. Apart from a deceptively peaceful folk-like melody for the rogue Russian agent and a would-be “love theme” (not developed until the end credits), the score is essentially devoid of expansive melodies.
Schifrin’s music relies instead on carefully inflicted motives (à la Bernard Herrmann) and a vaguely Russian harmonic and melodic basis—reinforced by prominent use of a cimbalom in the orchestration—to provide atmosphere and a sense of menace where appropriate. The original multi-track recordings of Telefon do not survive, but FSM has created a convincing stereo image from a ½" three-track monaural mix preserved by the studio.
Hide in Plain Sight (1980) is based on the true story of a New Jersey factory worker whose children are whisked away by the Federal Witness Protection program when his ex-wife’s mobster husband turns state’s evidence against his former associates. James Caan—who also directed the film—plays Thomas Hacklin, a man who takes on powerful governmental forces in an attempt to find and re-unite with his kids.
Leonard Rosenman composed a relatively brief score for the film, of which Caan ultimately used only four cues (two of which are source music), retaining Rosenman’s soaring, lyrical theme for Hacklin’s relationship with his children (including the touching finale), while eliminating the more dramatic, suspense oriented material. This FSM CD reveals for the first time the much broader range of Rosenman’s effort since it includes all the music the composer recorded for the picture, newly remixed from ½” three-track stereo masters.
The accompanying 20-page booklet includes essays on both titles by film historian Scott Bettencourt, FSM’s customary track-by-track analyses, film stills and promotional materials. Longer, more detailed versions of Bettencourt's essays are available here
, along with FSM's other free online notes.