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Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music
"Broadsword calling Danny Boy"! The 1968 WWII film Where Eagles Dare is the model of a no-nonsense military adventure, with Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood leading an Allied rescue mission into an impregnable German fortress high atop a mountain. Scripted by Alistair MacLean (The Guns of Navarone, Ice Station Zebra), who provides gripping plot twists, the film has become a virtual institution in Britain, beloved for its straight-faced depiction of machine-gun-wielding good guys blowing up everything in sight.
Composer Ron Goodwin (1925-2003) was an equally beloved British composer who contributed a number of popular scores, such as Of Human Bondage (1964), Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965), and four Miss Marple films. But Goodwin was best-known for his war efforts, such as 633 Squadron (1963) and Battle of Britain (1969), of which Where Eagles Dare was unusual in that it eschewed major-key pomp in favor of gritty, minor-mode determination. The title music embodies the single-minded ambition of the protagonists to infiltrate the mountain fortress and complete their mission, and becomes the basis for the entire score, which is full of hard-nosed suspense and pounding symphonic action.
This release also features another of Goodwin's WWII scores, for Operation Crossbow, the 1965 procedural adventure about German efforts to develop long-range rocket weapons, and the Allied mission to counter them. George Peppard stars as an American agent going undercover, with Sophia Loren top-billed in a brief appearance as a beleaguered widow, and a large multinational cast (including Richard Johnson, Patrick Wymark, John Mills, Trevor Howard, Barbara Rueting, Paul Henreid, Jeremy Kemp and Tom Courtenay) speaking their native languages with subtitles—rare for the period.
Goodwin's score to Operation Crossbow features a main theme more in line with his work on the genre—evoking optimistic British patriotism—with churning, dynamic music for the German war efforts, and flavorful suspense for the unfolding mission. The lengthy interlude with Loren features sympathetic, melodic music for the woman's allure—rare, romantic work for the genre, and a highlight of the release.
The complete underscore to Where Eagles Dare comprises disc one of this release—the first-ever release of the film soundtrack, as the LP was a re-recording. This has been newly mixed and mastered from 1/2" three-track tapes in the Turner archives. The score to Operation Crossbow can be found on disc two (complete except for one short cue); this part of the album has been mastered from 1/4" two-track tapes possessed by the composer, as studio masters no longer exist. Complete source music from Where Eagles Dare—plus earlier, alternate versions of the Eagles cable car cues—rounds out disc two. The entire release is in stereo.