I know it's been some time since I put out one of these, and I hope the wait is worth it to the few people following my work. I actually wrote 85% of this material months and months ago, but got distracted with other things before I had a chance to finish it. I just set aside some time today and pushed myself to complete the work. Sadly this time I have no online version of the film to link to, but if anyone owns the film themselves as I do, I have included time stamps to find each cue as usual.
For those who don't own the film but would appreciate a preview of the score, here is a simply gorgeous 5:20 suite of the score's central regret-filled love theme compiled by Zooba some time ago, the bulk of which consists of the substantial sequence I titled "Lost Love / Too Late for Us", followed by the brief finale/end credits cue:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo4jD5xF3YA
The film itself is really pretty good, considering it was a "B" picture. Impressively stark black and white cinematography, strong lead performances by George Montgomery and Diane Brewster, a unique and memorable villain, and some quirky touches like the constant infernal saloon player piano which helps to furnish an interesting, if not very musically enjoyable, main title sequence. For me only Tom Pittman's (Carl) performance is a bit annoying and over the top at times, with his transformation from boy to tough-talking gunslinger a bit of a stretch. But overall the film is a very mature and different take on the west.
0:01 - 0:09 1. Fanfare :08
A unique fanfare by Goldsmith heralds the Warner Bros. logo, similar to how his unique fanfare would accompany the Universal logo five years later for his first true masterpiece, Lonely Are the Brave.
0:10 - 0:35 2. The Horse :25
A subdued but uneasy accompanies the first black and white shot, a slow pan across the empty wilderness, until a horse passes into view. The brief cue ends with the interruption of a gunshot sounding, which startles the horse.
0:40 - 1:14 3. The Rider :34
As a man comes into view (presumably the man who had fired his gun), an arresting musical idea is introduced: a strident brass fanfare (somehow tinged with a bit of darkness), followed by an unsettling phrase on low-end piano (a sound which would become a familiar Goldsmith trademark). A muted echo of the fanfare then plays on woodwinds, the piano phrase repeating again, followed by a final repetition of the fanfare, now more fragmented and played tensely, urgently on strings as the man suddenly rides away.
1:15 - 3:03 Saloon Piano Source (Main Title) 1:48
A painfully out-of-tune piano plays from a saloon (first barely audible, then louder) as the film transitions to a small western town. Then, surprisingly, the main title sequence begins, with the same source music continuing! In fact, we are introduced to the title protagonist (played by George Montgomery as the large credit on the screen tells us), not with any sort of fanfare or heroic theme, but with honky-tonk piano music. This unconventional main title sequence continues through shots of what is revealed to be an automatic player piano — in fact is is more than just a piano, with cymbals, tambourine, and drum also being shaken and struck mechanically rather than being played by a human being. As musically unappealing as this cue is, it still may have been written by Goldsmith and is uniquely conceived. This source music is suddenly extinguished as the credits cease and a man is punched out between the pair of saloon doors.
3:45 - 4:51 4. Two Arrivals 1:06
The hints of a romantic theme are introduced on strings and woodwinds as a lovely woman arrives by stage, but the cue soon transitions to cover a later arrival in town of the mysterious man from the beginning shot of the film, this time first represented by the piano figure, more ominously played than before, followed by a more subdued woodwind setting of the accompanying fanfare as he hitches his horse to a post and looks around town, finally walking into a saloon as the music trails away.
9:37 - 11:12 5. The Danners 1:35
In a bit of a plot twist, the mystery man turns out to be Mr. Danner, the husband of the lovely woman who arrived in town shortly before him. As he asks for a room in the hotel and discovers his wife has already arrived in town unexpectedly early, her lovely warm music starts to play. Despite a few uncertain moments in the music as Danner shows a bit of jealously apparently connected to Marshall Clay Morgan (owner of the title’s “Black Patch”) his wife’s warm music continues to dominate the scene, swelling as they embrace at the end.
11:11 - 11:21 More Piano Source :10
The player piano keeps going. Seems to be the main source of atmosphere in this town.
14:00 - 15:33 6. Old Married Man 1:33
Clay meets his old friends, Hank and Helen Danner. Helen was apparently an old flame of his, as he is taken aback that she has married Hank. A lovely new theme with an air of regret is fully developed in this cue.
15:31 - 16:16 Even More Piano Source :45
Does that infernal contraption ever stop?
16:17 - 18:00 7. Lost Love 1:43
Delicate harp leads back into the poignant theme for Clay and Helen’s lost relationship, on strings.
18:01 - 20:45 8. Too Late for Us 2:44
An initially more nebulous cue immediately follows, developing the themes for Helen/Clay and briefly at the beginning, hints of Helen/Hank, as Helen sneaks out of her hotel room to go speak with Clay. The music swells with their love theme in full flower as they embrace, but then growing more tense and pained as Clay explains how he has changed and why he didn’t return to her years before (“I’ve seen too much war and killing…”) It is one of the highlights of the score.
23:11 - 24:08 9. I’d Know Him :58
A hint of Hank’s motif plays ominously as a deputy from a neighboring town claims he can identify on sight the robber who held up the town bank. The uneasy piano figure soon joins underneath tense brass, and as Clay, the deputy, and the neighboring town’s sheriff head off to visit Hank, the Clay/Helen theme plays briefly a couple of times, but Hank’s piano figure interrupts both times. When Hank emerges from the hotel a brief standoff occurs and the music grows more tense, before he ultimately surrenders his gun to Clay, his piano motif slowing down and transferring to low strings before coming to a rest.
26:13 - 27:16 10. Hank Jailed 1:03
A very Herrmannesque three note motif repeats several times interspersed with hints of Clay’s theme as he leads Hank to the jail cell.
29:13 - 30:18 Yet More of That Darn Source Music 1:05
This now accompanies a more typical saloon scene, as the visiting deputy tells the shady saloon owner Frenchy all about the money which was stolen and apparently hidden.
31:42 - 32:01 11. The Deal :19
One of Frenchy’s men sneaks to speak with Hank in his jail cell, convincing him to give up the location of the money in exchange for help escaping from jail. This brief suspense cue begins just as the man convinces Hank by bringing up Helen, but seems to end prematurely after it underscores the money being dug up. This cue probably went on longer as originally written, so it is fortunate the original written scores survive.
33:23 - 34:33 Harpsichord Source 1:10
Frenchy plays his harpsichord as he plots to double cross Hank, setting him up with champagne-soaked bullets which won’t fire.
36:40 - 39:48 12. Jail Break, Murder, and Framing 3:08
Subdued strings play as Clay returns after riding to seek out a lawyer for his old friend. Hank’s piano motif rumbles underneath as he goes through with his escape, pulling a gun on Clay. The score erupts into an exciting action cue as they fight, Hank ultimately escaping on his horse but getting shot in the back by Frenchy’s confederate. The exciting music continues as the town erupts into chaos, Helen and other arriving on the scene as Clay seems to take the blame for Hank’s death, hints of Hank’s fanfare and his own sad theme playing as the now subdued score cue fades into more harpsichord source music.
39:46 - 39:53 Harpsichord Flourish :07
Pleased with the way his plan has turned out, Frenchy briefly plays a little flourish on his harpsichord (we see only his hands on the keys), before the soundtrack returns to score.
39:53 - 41:31 13. Detective Work 1:38
A mysterious suspense cue plays on harp and high strings as Clay contemplates the stolen money which he found on Hank’s body, as well as the faulty bullets in Hank’s gun.
41:30 - 41:51 More Harpsichord :21
Frenchy continues playing nonchalantly as Clay enters and confronts him.
42:54 - 43:19 14. Judgement :25
A dark cue plays for a montage sequence of sorts as one townsperson after another condemns the Marshal for his apparent murder of Hank Danner.
45:59 - 46:08 Happy Harpsichord A :09
Frenchy plays cheerfully as he contemplates the missing money.
46:06 - 47:14 15. Inheritance 1:08
Strings capture Helen’s dark mood (she refuses to eat) while the low piano motif hints at dark possibilities as she tells the curious teenage boy, Carl, that he can take Hank’s guns and other belongings.
47:58 - 48:45 16. I Know What You Did :47
Carl confronts Clay briefly on the staircase, before Clay has an emotional meeting with Helen, asking her to believe him that he was not responsible for Hank’s death. The cue is a reflective one which focuses on Clay’s sad theme of regret.
50:20 - 51:56 Sensitive Source 1:36
“Don’t over crank her, she’s sensitive,” someone in the saloon says about the player piano contraption, before we are treated to the return of its lovely sound. As Clay walks through the saloon and enters Frenchy’s quarters, the sound of the harpsichord joins in as Frenchy plays.
51:56 - 52:36 17. Knock Knock :40
A woodwind-heavy cue plays as Carl tentatively knocks on Helen’s door and enters, continuing through a bit of dialogue for the hotel owner who reveals his fondness for the teen.
52:35 - 52:46 Noise :11
A brief bit of piano contraption source leads into another montage of townspeople spreading gossip about Carl and Helen.
53:15 - 53:22 Happy Harpsichord B :07
Frenchy is downright gleeful as he sees things going his way.
53:22 - 54:07 18. Gun Practice :45
A part-comical, part-innocent-sounding woodwind-led cue plays as Carl childishly plays with his new gun as if it were a toy.
58:53 - 59:02 19. Competition :09
Brief rising brass capture the audience’s surprise at Carl’s fast draw.
59:01 - 59:46 Still Saloon Source :45
This further saloon source as Carl talks to Frenchy’s henchman overlaps with another dramatic cue as Carl challenges Clay to move aside for him.
59:43 - 60:15 20. Confrontation :32
A brief dramatic cue as Clay refuses to respond and simply walks away, which unfortunately undermines his reputation further (we are shown school kids have made a mocking blackboard drawing of him just before the cue concludes).
62:18 - 63:20 Harpsichord Hell 1:02
63:37 - 64:59 Player Piano Playtime 1:22
These two source cues cover Carl’s continued corruption by Frenchy and his henchman.
66:15 - 67:12 21. I’ll Meet You Even :57
Rumbling tympani hinting at Hank’s dark motif lead this uneasy, threatening cue as Clay confronts the rowdy Carl in the street.
67:33 - 67:51 22. Black Patch, Yellow Patch! :18
Dark low strings and threatening brass continue Hank’s material as Carl insults Clay after being let out of jail.
67:52 - 71:42 23. Leaving 3:50
Helen’s theme leads off an uneasy cue as Carl enters her room while she packs to leave. The music grows more dramatic and threatening as Carl’s infatuation with Helen becomes evident to her and she rebuffs his advances, causing him to leave in a huff. Hank’s insistent low-end piano motif begins to dominate the cue, especially as Carl rides away into the country in anger. Sympathetic strings take over a minute before the end as Carl collapses on the ground in despair, and the cue ultimately ends with more threatening low strings as Frenchy begins to beat his familiar prostitute Kitty, whom he coldly plans to leave behind.
71:42 - 72:42, 72:48 - 74:23, 74:42 - 75:07, 75:15 - 75:36 End of the Saloon
The last extended sequence of saloon source music accompanies Kitty’s steps towards revenge against Frenchy and Frenchy’s goading of Carl into a confrontation with Clay, interspersed with silent interludes as Clay sits in quiet contemplation in his office.
76:28 - 80:26 24. Final Confrontation 3:58
Dark brass heralds Carl’s exit from the saloon with a hint of Hank’s theme, followed by extended suspense music as brass continues to play over strummed harp, as Carl walks along to street towards Clay’s house. This music is interspersed with brief flute punctuations as Clay waits tensely in his chair. The brass snarls as Carl arrives at the house and calls for “Black Patch” to come outside and meet him in the street, throwing rocks at his windows and continuing to insult him. The Carl/Hank theme gains in intensity as it alternates briefly with Clay’s sad “regret” theme in a much more subdued guise, while the Marshal straps on his gun and reluctantly goes outside. Low rumbling piano tensely underscores their standoff in the street, raising in pitch near the end of the cue as Carl gives Clay a countdown and draws his gun. The cue ends as Clay refuses to draw in return, followed by Helen running in with the news she just received from Kitty about who was really responsible for Hank’s death.
81:28 - 82:36 25. A Job (End Credits) 1:08
The final cue begins, lead by solo flute, as Carl finally drops his gun, his rage toward Clay diffused as he is finally convinced he’s been manipulated against his friend. As Clay picks up the gun and returns it to him, saying, “C’mon Carl…we got a job to do.” the sad and fateful “regret” theme plays one final time, swelling warmly on strings, as the two of them finally walk off together to confront the villains, ending at last with a callback to the fanfare which opened the score. Unconventionally, the end credits appear as they depart for the saloon; the film does not consider it necessary to have some final action sequence where Frenchy gets his comeuppance.TOTAL SCORE TIME: 32:33
(The complete original score if recorded as written would likely be at least a little longer, as it sounded as if some music was dialed out early on the soundtrack. This number also excludes all of the very repetitive source music, which may or may not have been penned in part by Goldsmith.)
This score has a great number of highlights and it would be so marvelous to get a new complete recording of this paired with Face of a Fugitive (1959). Westerns as a genre tend to sell, and on top of that these are two completely unreleased (not even represented on a single compilation) yet superb scores which show the young Goldsmith already at the top of his craft. Given the popular genre and composer, a pairing of these two "lost" scores would probably have greater sales potential than most titles, as well as lower costs since they are by and large written for a smaller and more intimate ensemble than usual. There would also be no expensive and time-consuming "reconstruction by ear" process on these (as there was for The Salamander and QB VII) since the full written scores have been confirmed by James Fitzpatrick and others to survive in the Academy library.
If Intrada or Tribute (haven't you heard? They may be coming back!) decides to tackle this project I would be happy to revise these track by track notes and offer them for free to the label for use in their liner notes booklet.
Other threads in this series:
FACE OF A FUGITIVE (1959) Advance Liner Notes: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6958
TAKE HER, SHE'S MINE (1963) Complete Score Breakdown: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6966
THE MAN (1972) Advance Liner Notes: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6967
CRAWLSPACE (1972) Advance Liner Notes: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=7213
DO NOT FOLD, SPINDLE, OR MUTILATE (1971) Complete Score Breakdown: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=7216
The Waltons: THE CEREMONY (1972) Complete Score Breakdown: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=7219
DAMNATION ALLEY (1977) Advance Liner Notes: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=7223
PURSUIT (1972) Advance Liner Notes: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=7236