film scores


Score by Dave Grusin

For a website devoted to the musical career of Dave Grusin, check out

Story:  A racing driver marries, and finds his new wife unhappy with her new lifestyle.

By its nature, centering on the world of motor racing, “Winning” is a motion picture dominated by the sound effects of the track environment.

Nevertheless, complimenting but not competing with the prevalent engine noises, Dave Grusin has put together a score which aptly reflects the worlds and relationships of the film's protagonists.

Indeed, it's a matter of joining rather than fighting when it comes to the movie's lively main title.  Opening with a prologue of some very interesting sounds giving a racing engine feel, it is characteristic of the top TV themes Dave Grusin was turning out in the late 60s - contemporary and with a great sense of forward movement.

The music surrounding the relationship between Frank and Laura has a light touch, indicative of the fact that they never really connect.  Their early romance is accompanied by a breezy melody which indicates them happy together, but not deeply involved.

Even the more romantic music is only tinged with caring, no more heartfelt than the characters seem capable of.  It is sweet and lilting, but limited.  Trouble between them starts quickly enough, but it is as easy go as easy come, and the themes for their break up have only a hint of bittersweetness.

The memorable piece from “Winning” is Dave Grusin's swinging “Gasoline Alley” (which he can be heard playing with Howard Roberts on the “Spinning Wheel” album - see 70s Records as Sideman).  A great groove, there's just not enough of it in the picture, played as all-too-faint source music with four characters chatting over it.

There are also some notable musical effects accompanying pre-race scenes, building up from jovial marches, one following on another to a point where they subtly begin to play  simultaneously, conveying the increasing agitation of the moments before the start of the Indianapolis 500.  One of them, “Back Home in Indiana,” is then reprised at the post-race party with a rousing Dixieland treatment.

First of Dave Grusin's two motor-racing movies (the other being “Bobby Deerfield”), “Winning” was honoured with a gatefold soundtrack album which gives an excellent overall feel for the score.

Stars:  Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Robert Wagner, Richard Thomas, David Sheiner, Clu Gulager, Barry Ford, Karen Arthur,  Bobby Unser, Tony Hulman

Director:  James Goldstone

Producer:  John Foreman

Released:  Universal 1969

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