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Two of the best scores of the 1970s come to CD at last: Klute by Michael Small and All the President's Men by David Shire. Both films were produced by Warner Bros. and directed by Alan J. Pakula—the respective films, and scores, are among the most lauded of the decade.
Klute (1971) starred Jane Fonda (in an Oscar-winning performance) as a New York call girl being terrorized by a sadistic ex-client, with Donald Sutherland as the private detective (the title character) looking for a friend whose disappearance may be related. Part neo-film noir, part sophisticated, adult drama, the film is a fantastic character study as well as a gripping thriller, modern feminist classic and a fascinating journey through the New York City of the sexual revolution.
Klute's score by Michael Small—his first Hollywood assignment—was groundbreaking in its use of an avant garde chamber orchestra (piano, percussion and voice—a creepy female "siren song") compared to symphonic or jazz approaches of the past. Such a style had never been used in a Hollywood thriller and it was an instant hit, leading to Small scoring other '70s classics like The Parallax View and Marathon Man. The score also includes a melancholy "pop" love theme for trumpet and eclectic source cues for the 1970s urban setting.
All the President's Men (1976) was the brilliant film adaptation of the book by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, chronicling their historic investigation into Watergate and President Nixon. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman played the reporters in one of the best films about journalism and politics ever made—a crackling true-life mystery with global implications.
In the mid-1970s, no composer was as renowned as David Shire for finding exquisitely subtle musical solutions for demanding and unique films like The Conversation, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Farewell, My Lovely and The Hindenburg. When Shire was first screened All the President's Men, he asked if the film needed any music at all, but director Pakula suggested that music could remind audiences of the "human heart" beating in the characters. Shire crafted a brief and understated score that never sacrificed melody or musicality, with a memorable theme speaking of the journalists' resolve to untangle the mystery.
Klute has circulated for many years as a "promotional" or bootleg LP from which numerous unauthorized copies have been made; the original soundtrack to All the President's Men has never been released. This definitive CD features both scores remixed from the 16-track master elements for optimal stereo sound quality. Liner notes are by Kyle Renick.