Score by Dave Grusin
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Story: At a spa clinic in the Alps, a jaded Formula One driver casually encounters a seemingly free-spirited girl, and is drawn into love by her unconventional charm.
Because this motion picture is a character study whose dialogue does more to mislead than to enlighten, its score has the critical role of revealing many nuances and undertones. While the picture is not heavy on music, it nevertheless contains a considerable number of original compositions.
Both the principal characters, Bobby and Lillian, are substantially different than their words and actions indicate. He appears jaded, methodical, and without much feeling. She acts like a mischievous pixie.
Through the music, primarily the main theme, we see Bobby as a person of greater sensitivity and reflection. In Lillian's case, as the film proceeds, her playful manner is revealed as a device only masking a tragic and unrelenting secret.
But this is not just a movie about character development. The European locations and milieu of the Formula One world are a vitally important part of the film's raison d'etre. Two of Dave Grusin's original works for “Bobby Deerfield” take their impetus from this facet of the motion picture, evoking the Continental locations in a quite charming way.
Ironically, Dave Grusin chose a samba to accompany the road journey through Swiss Alps. A trick which nevertheless comes off perfectly, giving an unmistakable sense of a European setting. In so doing, it not only lends mood and locale instantly, but also amplifies the feeling of an American driver from Newark never really in his element on the Continent, most especially with this unconventional Italian woman.
When Bobby and Lillian arrive at Como, the luscious “Bellagio Vista” underscores the beautiful setting. It is an evocative and tender piece, and is also used to suggest romance. (Fragments of it are to be found seven years later in the poignant theme for “The Little Drummer Girl.”) This is superlative Grusin scoring.
The main theme (“Bobby Deerfield”), runs through opening credits and during the most emotional moments in the film. Especially when played as a trumpet solo, the piece gives layers of dimension to both the characters and scenes which, at first, appear deceptively simple. Haunting and sad, the theme exposes the seemingly world-weary protagonist as actually deeper than he acts.
“Bobby Deerfield” also contains an incredible gem of music, buried towards the end of the picture, and virtually caught between other cues.
“Quiet Evenings” ranks with Dave Grusin's very best romantic jazz. It is worth buying the video or begging, borrowing or stealing the rare soundtrack LP (on which there is an extended version). Played over a montage of happy scenes, this is a piece which easily stands on its own, and really deserves to be on a “Cinemagic” volume two ! There is an additional bit of glittery samba for the following scenes of the couple enjoying themselves together which also has a bright appeal, and like the smooth “Quiet Evenings,” is heard only once in the motion picture.
“Bobby Deerfield,” which is really a tragedy - not just about the death of a young woman in love, but of a man who, despite his power, is unable to be himself with anyone but her - is not played as a tear jerker, and the careful use and placement of music prevents it becoming so.
In addition to the music actually contained in the film, the soundtrack album also offers a version of the title theme with lyrics by Allan and Marilyn Bergman plus a piece called “Formula One” which encapsulates the excitement and danger of the racetrack.
Music Editor: Ted Whitfield
Stars: Al Pacino, Marthe Keller, Anny Duperey, Walter McGinn
Director: Sydney Pollack
Producer: Sydney Pollack
Released: Columbia 1977
Running Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes
Music Time: (approx) 40 minutes