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THX 1138 (1971)
Music by Lalo Schifrin
THX 1138 THX 1138
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $14.96
Limited #: 4000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: February 2003
Catalog #: Vol. 6, No. 4
# of Discs: 1

Before Star Wars, before Indiana Jones—even before American Grafitti—there was THX 1138 (1971), the first film directed by George Lucas. Based on a student short made by Lucas and Walter Murch, THX 1138 is a 1984/Brave New World-type of story of a dehumanized worker (Robert Duvall) who breaks free from the shackles of his totalitarian society. The flipside of Star Wars' carefree adventure, THX 1138 was a downbeat experience little seen at the time, but its reputation has grown due to its famous creator and its copious merits: innovative editing and graphic design, fascinating sound montage (by Murch), and a mesmerizing look-and-feel.

Lalo Schifrin's score for THX 1138 is as far from John Williams's symphonic sweep for Star Wars as one can get, but Lucas's first musical collaborator proved to be no less imaginative than his most-used one. Schifrin provided an eclectic blend of styles, from Baroque-influenced choral work for the main titles, to liturgical cues, to brooding strings for the oppressive society, to the use of Bach's St. Matthew's Passion for the end credits. There are strange, avant garde sounds for the film's memorable creations—buzzing organ for the white-on-white prison and menacing percussion for the robot policemen—an evocative love theme for alto flute and harp, and multiple source cues meant to sound like "drugged-out" Muzak.

FSM's premiere release of the THX 1138 soundtrack is a fascinating musical journey of Schifrin's score and source music, ranging from avant garde soundscapes to cheeky plays on his Latin jazz of the '60s. The CD includes passages not heard in the finished film and is entirely in stereo, remixed from the original Warner Bros. elements. Liner notes by Jeff Bond and Lukas Kendall include a history of the film's production and Schifrin's comments.

Lalo Schifrin Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Lalo Schifrin (b. 1932) is an Argentinean-born composer, conductor, arranger and pianist who has made a major impact on film, TV, the concert hall and jazz stage. He parlayed an early career as a pianist and arranger for Dizzy Gillespie into a run as one of the hottest film and TV composers of the 1960s and '70s, with projects such as Mission: Impossible, Bullitt, Dirty Harry, Cool Hand Luke, Enter the Dragon and more. His more recent films include the popular Rush Hour series. He is beloved for his Latin jazz but is also an accomplished classical composer and conductor with ongoing recording, composing and performing projects.IMDB

Comments (20):Log in or register to post your own comments
¶ Here is Lalo Schifrin's avant garde masterpiece of the Seventies along with The Hellstrom Chronicle.

¶ THX 1138 is extremely versatile like many scores of Schifrin (Cf. Coogan's Bluff, Bullitt, Dirty Harry, Pretty Maids All in a Row). The common denominator is unconventional rendition of Baroque Church choir and abstract ambient music (mixing folkloric instruments from Brazil, Africa, Eastern Europe) combined with such hard counterpoints as an African ethnic cue ("Primitive Dance"), a light little ladies song ("Be Happy Again")—that I adore—, smooth latin tunes a la Cool Hand Luke ("Source #1", "Source #2", "Source #3"), intimistic music ("Love Dream"), a rock spaghetti western tune ("Source #4").

¶ THX 1138 features many of Schifrin's gritty Seventies devices: dissonant buzzing organ or synthesizer, scrapped cymbals, tablas or cimbalom tapestry or punctuations, instruments distorted with echo, weird and swift cue transition inside a track.

¶ THX 1138 has got two tracks that got me hooked up on the spot: the pair of dissonant tracks entitled "Escape" (First is track #12 and Second is track #14) because of the Dirty Harry connection. Think Scorpio and the money delivery at night!

First http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/store/MP3/0604/12_FIRST_ESCAPE.MP3 Escape

¶ Anyway, I love the Baroque and solemn finalé dominated by a harpsichord entitled "The Hologram".


••• For those happy few listeners who own the score: why do you like it?

THX 1138 Trailer

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hLXOVCZr-8[/youtube]

¶ In the previous decade (2000's), two experimental scores fascinated me:
THX 1138 by Lalo Schifrin (Film Score Monthly)
The Conversation by David Shire (Intrada)

¶ Both were part of the American Zoetrope company.

¶ Both integrate daring sound design.

This has always been one of my favorite Schifrin scores. It's a high point in his film scoring, not only simply a film score but also a piece of art with its masterful mixture of avantgardistic, baroque and popular idioms. It tells much about the composer that this works so effortlessly and naturally.

Many of Schifrin's avant garde scores are worth listening to away from the film for its experimental tone and orchestrations. Another score I would love to have released if the rights issue is ever resolved is John Boorman's HELL IN THE PACIFIC with Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune. There is little dialogue so Schifrin's modernistic approach works well with the visuals.


http://youtu.be/dTPd3eOPPNQ?list=PL1BPrVOMOxxLSzP8LRE-7II0aHEUhKadL


Due to the minimalism of dialogue and music, the overall sound design plays an important role in each of the character's psyche.


JP

Many of Schifrin's avant garde scores are worth listening to away from the film for its experimental tone and orchestrations. Another score I would love to have released if the rights issue is ever resolved is John Boorman's HELL IN THE PACIFIC with Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune. [/endquote]


¶ What musical connection do you spot between Hell in the Pacific and THX 1138?
¶ Can you elaborate on the rights issue for Hell in the Pacific, please?

Many of Schifrin's avant garde scores are worth listening to away from the film for its experimental tone and orchestrations. Another score I would love to have released if the rights issue is ever resolved is John Boorman's HELL IN THE PACIFIC with Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune. [/endquote]


¶ What musical connection do you spot between Hell in the Pacific and THX 1138?
¶ Can you elaborate on the rights issue for Hell in the Pacific, please?[/endquote]


1. THX 1138 and HELL IN THE PACIFIC are modernistic due to Schifrin's orchestration and use of instrumentation and coloristic tonalities. Both scores deeply reflect psychological and physical trauma while the sound design reflects natural and artificial settings within the film.

2. I am not the one to discuss the rights issue, but if you think about the person who has championed many of Schifrin's scores, from DIRTY HARRY to THE HELLSTROM CHRONICLE, he would be the better person to ask.

I avoided this for a long time because I live in a Star-Wars-free zone, but I eventually got beyond any potential embarrassment and got it. Well worth it.

¶ To those of you, willing to expand their THX 1138 avant garde experience,
I advise you to dive into Earth II, also from Film Score Monthly.
It's the ideal companion into the 1971 abstraction.

Earth II Page
http://filmscoremonthly.com/cds/detail.cfm/CDID/460/TV-Omnibus-Volume-One-1962-1976/

¶ FSM online liner notes for Earth II
http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/notes/earth_ii.html

¶ The atmosphere and the soundscape of Lalo Schifrin's THX 1138 is influenced by the work of Gyorgy Ligeti that you find and hear in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

¶ Please listen to: "Overture: Atmospheres", "Requiem For Soprano, Mezzo Soprano, Two Mixed Choirs & Orchestra", "Lux Aeterna".

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Track List
Instruments/Musicians
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
Lalo Schifrin

Violin:
Israel Baker, David Berman, Bobby Bruce (aka Robt. Berg), Herman Clebanoff, Samuel Cytron, Bonnie J. Douglas (Shure), Baldassare Ferlazzo, Howard W. Griffin, William Hymanson, George Kast, Alfred Lustgarten, Gordon H. Marron, Alexander Murray, Jerome Joseph Reisler, Nathan Ross, Sam Ross, Paul C. Shure, Robert "Bob" Sushel, Dorothy M. Wade (Sushel), Harry Zagon

Viola:
Dorothy Colton-Pratt, Rollice Dale, Allan Harshman, William Hymanson, Maurice Keltz, Myra Kestenbaum, Virginia Majewski, Joseph Reilich, Milton Thomas

Cello:
Joseph DiTullio, Armand Kaproff, Raphael "Ray" Kramer, Irving Lipschultz, Emmet Sargeant, Joseph Saxon, Eleanor Slatkin, Gloria Strassner

Bass:
John Bambridge, Jr., Raymond M. "Ray" Brown, Milton Kestenbaum, Peter A. Mercurio, Joseph Mondragon, Meyer (Mike) Rubin

Flute:
Carmine Coppola, Sheridon W. Stokes

Woodwinds:
Plas Johnson, Jack Nimitz, Wilbur Schwartz

French Horn:
James A. Decker, William A. Hinshaw, George W. Hyde

Trumpet:
Emanuel "Manny" Klein, Oliver Mitchell, Anthony "Tony" Terran

Trombone:
Hoyt Bohannon, Richard Noel, Kenneth Shroyer

Tuba:
John Bambridge, Jr.

Piano:
Ralph E. Grierson, Artie Kane

Guitar:
Alton R. "Al" Hendrickson, Thomas "Tommy" Tedesco

Harp:
Catherine Gotthoffer (Johnk)

Harmonica:
Tommy Morgan

Accordion:
Carl Fortina

Percussion:
Larry Bunker, Victor Feldman, Joe Porcaro, Emil Radocchia (Richards), Kenneth E. Watson

Orchestra Manager:
Kurt E. Wolff

© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.