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Released by Special Arrangement With Turner Classic Movies Music.
One of Maurice Jarre’s classic 1960s scores comes to CD in complete form: Grand Prix (1966), for director John Frankenheimer’s film about Formula One racing, a masterful technical achievement that has long been lauded as one of the best and most accurate films about auto racing ever made. The film covers the on- and off-track experiences of a group of racers during a Grand Prix season, headlined by James Garner, Yves Montand, Brian Bedford and Antonio Sabato as the drivers, and Jessica Walter, Eva Marie Saint and Francoise Hardy as the women they love.
Maurice Jarre had recently scored The Train (1964) for Frankenheimer (FSMCD Vol. 10, No. 8), and provided one of cinema’s all-time famous scores in Dr. Zhivago (1965) for M-G-M. Grand Prix, also from M-G-M, was hurriedly completed for Christmas 1966 release and Jarre was more or less left on his own to provide music that scored the personal journeys of the characters, rather than the visceral thrill of the racing (which was largely conveyed by sound effects in Frankenheimer’s naturalistic approach).
Jarre’s main theme evokes the pomp and grandeur of the Grand Prix experience, while two secondary themes apply to the French (Montand) and English (Bedford) racecar drivers. The score is beautifully melodic and sensitive, with a wafting Continental flavor that is at once refined yet accessible—Jarre’s career in a nutshell. Few other composers have been able to so elegantly provide the sense of a theatrical frame as Jarre, while maintaining an intimacy with the characters—an achievement he nimbly repeats in Grand Prix.
Grand Prix was previously released on LP and CD but this newly restored and expanded master features superior sound quality (remixed from the original 35mm three-track magnetic film sessions), and eliminates the sound effects that briefly appeared on a couple of tracks on the vinyl. Tracks 1-20 present the complete score, while tracks 21-30 feature alternate and album selections. Liner notes are by Paul Andrew MacLean, featuring new interview comments by Jarre. For the original LP notes—which would not fit inside the CD booklet—go here.