Two recent Varése's came in.
LOVE FIELD: After the strains of 'Total Recall' and the less than ample rewards, Goldsmith attempted a 'genre purge', refusing from then on action and horror pictures, looking for the blessings of character dramas (Oscar bait, for the more cynical-minded). The results were decidedly mixed, with JG doing a string of chick flicks that he graced with sweet puppy-dog tunes that weren't always to the best advantage of the films they accompanied.
Be that as it may, 'Love Field', written around early 1991, has the advantage of being a solid drama about race relations, so the rampant cuteness is bracketed with more somber material for the movie's stoic black character and the problems he and JFK-mad housewife Michelle Pfeiffer (the movie's set in 1963) encounter. The southern settings also beget us a blues/gospel vibe, a rare occurence in Goldsmith's work and a real shot in the arm for the score.
It was released as very short album in 1993, so naturally a lot of Goldsmith's motivic work fell under the table or appeared like random musical ideas. It's by nature not the most exciting music to listen to, but a noticeable asset is the elaborate woodwind writing that recalls Goldsmith's 60's work and is a few notches above other scores of that time (especially in tandem with the deep reverb blues piano). Least pleasant are the typical jagged action moments (The Motel) that fall back on familiar clichés and feel a bit cheap in context, but thankfully they are kept to a minimum. All in all a welcome addition, with a few of Bill Payne's replacement cues, that sound like source music but are a nice bonus (Goldsmith's score got rejected halfway, which happened much more frequently from the late 80's onward).
THE EIGER SANCTION: John Williams lone score for Clint Eastwood, and one wishes it were for a better picture. Part campy Bond movie, part tense mountain-climbing thriller, its elements never come together and apart from the breathtaking photography (Utah and the Swiss Alps), it's a rather unpleasant affair, with Eastwood hitting about everything offensive he could find (queers, women, toxic masculinity, and not in a charming kind of way).
Williams was hired because he was a hot commodity at Universal back then and had a talent for jazz, a Eastwood favourite, even if the movie wasn't an especially 'jazzy' one. The main theme, a vaguely melancholic baroque affair with a distinctly european flavour, has at best a tangential relation to the movie. Like in the disaster movie's of that era, it was kinda hard to come up with anything fitting, so composers resorted to either locale or some other superficial element to grace them with something memorable (see also 'Cassandra Crossing' for a very similar example).
The new Intrada fleshes out the other motivic elements, like the 'Family Plot'-like harpsichord idea that turns up much more often here, as well as the many suspense moments from later in the story, which unfortunately aren't nearly as exciting as i remembered them (resembling Jaws 2, surprisingly). So what we have here is a pop score with a lot o groovy variations on the main theme as a selling point, and single pieces from the fist half of the score - Friends and Enemies, the baroque montage, the fierce car chase, one of the best action cues from that time in Williams' career - as well as the Straussian alpine cues, mainly for the beguiling establishing shots of the Eiger north wall (The Eiger, First Sunset).
It's all not particularly deep or insightful, but once you've seen the movie you wonder why Williams took it at all. It's very entertaining, though, once you got rid of the fat and the repetitions. My perfect 70's Williams collection is complete now.