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McQ (1974)
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $50.00
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: November 2003
Catalog #: Vol. 6, No. 19
# of Discs: 1

John Wayne made two contemporary cop movies towards the end of his career: Brannigan (1975), set in England, and McQ (1974), set in Seattle and starring the Duke as a tough detective lieutenant who takes on gangsters and crooked police after his best friend is murdered. McQ's investigation has him cross paths with the man's grieving widow (Diana Muldaur), a private detective friend (David Huddleston), an aging cocktail waitress (Colleen Dewherst), a black-hearted drug baron (Al Lettieri) and other seedy characters.

Scoring McQ was the man who had defined the sound of Wayne's latter-day westerns: Elmer Bernstein, who had scored The Comancheros (FSMCD Vol. 2, No. 6), The Sons of Katie Elder, True Grit, Big Jake and Cahill, U.S. Marshal, and would score the Duke's finale, The Shootist. As Wayne traded in his cowboy outfit and horse for gray flannels and a sports car, so did Bernstein graft '70s, Shaft-like effects onto his distinctive, symphonic "John Wayne swagger," updating his style of compositional big band jazz from the 1950s (The Man With the Golden Arm) for the new film's car chases.

The result is a minor classic of the Bernstein canon: the composer's stomping, memorable main theme for the Duke weaves amidst wah-wah guitar and funk rhythm section as he treads urban ground broken by composers such as Lalo Schifrin and Quincy Jones. Bernstein also provides a wealth of dark and brooding thematic material for the film's conspiracy story, and sensitive woodwind scoring for its somber emotions.

FSM's premiere CD features the complete score in stereo sound from the original Warner Bros. scoring elements.

DUKE FANS: By coincidence, another label, La-La Land, has concurrently released the soundtrack to John Wayne's other mid-'70s cop film, BRANNIGAN, with music by Dominic Frontiere. For their CD page, click here.

Elmer Bernstein Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Elmer Bernstein (1922–2004) had a Hollywood career that lasted over a half a century; invented and reinvented himself as a composer across several genres (jazz, epics, westerns, comedies and adult dramas); and scored more than a few Hollywood classics—The Ten Commandments, The Magnificent Seven, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Escape and Airplane! to name but five. FSM has released a dozen of his scores and counting, but the most popular may be Heavy Metal (1981)—don't be fooled by the title, it's Elmer's "Star Wars." In addition to his prolific work as a composer, Bernstein was a tireless champion of film music as an art form, serving on the boards of several professional organizations and in the 1970s recording his own LP series of classic Hollywood scores, Elmer Bernstein's Film Music Collection, released by FSM as a 12-CD box set. IMDB

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Track List
Click on each musician name for more credits

Leader (Conductor):
Elmer Bernstein

Justin DiTullio, Armand Kaproff, Dennis Karmazyn, Frederick R. Seykora

Milton Kestenbaum, Peter A. Mercurio, Joseph Mondragon

William "Buddy" Collette, Carole Levine, Sylvia Ruderman

Earle D. Dumler, Jules Jacob, Arnold Koblentz

Justin Gordon, James M. Kanter, Hugo Raimondi

Norman H. Herzberg, Jack Marsh

French Horn:
Vincent N. DeRosa, Richard E. Perissi, Alan I. Robinson, Gale H. Robinson

John Audino, William B. Peterson, Anthony "Tony" Terran

Harold Diner, Barrett O'Hara, Thomas Shepard

Ralph E. Grierson, Artie Kane, Pearl Kaufman (Goldman)

Alton R. "Al" Hendrickson, Alfred Viola

Fender (electric) Bass:
Max R. Bennett

Denzil (Gail) Laughton

Sheldon "Shelly" Manne, Mark Z. Stevens

Dale L. Anderson, Thomas D. Raney, Louis Singer, Kenneth E. Watson

Orchestra Manager:
Richard H. Anderson

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