The Conversation (original soundtrack vinyl LP)
This is the first time the complete score to The Conversation has been released on vinyl. The film itself was originally released in 1974 and a 7” demo of the theme was sent out as promotional material, but a USA stock edition was never issued. The film was written, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and is still a thrilling journey into sound, mind and murder. Sonically this movie – all about sound - is groundbreaking in many ways, with actual “sound design” provided by the legendary Walter Murch - the man who actually invented the term in the first place. For the music, Coppola wisely chose a young David Shire, his brother in law. Shire’s deceptively simple piano theme (composed because of no budget for big orchestra) is one of tragic beauty, brilliantly capturing Caul’s (Gene Hackman) loneliness, his slightly disturbed nature and this trip into darkness. The melody has both sweet and sour tones, feeling a little like a slow ragtime, which both develops and retreats throughout the film; there are even trips into avant-garde territory with electro-acoustic flourishes and concrète. The soundtrack for The Conversation proved to be a major break for Shire, his career really taking off from this musical point. His next score was to be the underground classic Taking Of Pelham 123, followed up later ironically by All The Presidents Men - a thriller about the Watergate scandal. The Conversation went on to win several awards and nominations, and has become a classic of the “New Hollywood” movement.