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Released by Special Arrangement With Turner Classic Movies Music.
The Dirty Dozen (1967) is one of the most famous war films of all time, a revision of WWII adventures in which the "heroic" team of American G.I.s is a collection of convicted murderers, rapists and sickos sent on a suicide mission in German-occupied France as an alternative to their bleak prison sentences. Lee Marvin plays their savvy commanding officer, with a primo collection of acting talent and screen personalities—including John Cassavetes, Donald Sutherland, Charles Bronson, Telly Savalas and Jim Brown—as the dozen. Shocking, violent, entertaining and surprisingly funny, The Dirty Dozen was a megahit that spawned a new style of nihilistic war movie during the Vietnam era.
The artistic visionary behind The Dirty Dozen was director Robert Aldrich (What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, The Flight of the Phoenix), who insisted upon the film's uncompromising tone. Scoring the film was Aldrich's regular composer, Frank De Vol, whose credits include the famous theme to The Brady Bunch as well as scores for most of Aldrich's films of the 1960s and '70s. De Vol was a veteran bandleader, raconteur, songwriter and even character actor, but for The Dirty Dozen it was his longtime skill as composer that enhanced the story's effectiveness.
De Vol's score to The Dirty Dozen is deceptively simple. He writes an almost comedic war/action score that makes the film's uncompromising depiction of violence and cruelty all the more shocking by giving it a cheery, conventional demeanor. The film as a whole is given a four-note theme that seems to speak the title ("Dir-ty DOZ-en"), while De Vol quotes old chestnuts like "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree," "You're in the Army Now" and band marches for thematic dimension and a sense of period—as well as an evocation of the characters' rather lowbrow sense of humor. The film's climactic mission in France is treated seriously with hard-driving action and suspense, some of the finest in De Vol's career.
De Vol provided two original songs for the film: a German ballad (as radio source music) with lyrics and vocals by Sibylle Siegfried (the director's wife), and an anachronistically 1960s pop song, "Bramble Bush," with lyrics by Mack David, performed by Trini Lopez (one of the dozen in the film). Each song is presented both in previously unreleased film version and existing album rendition.
The Dirty Dozen was previously released on LP and CD but this definitive FSM release more than doubles the playing time and remixes and remasters the sound quality from the original 35mm three-track stereo recordings for vastly improved sonics. The CD features comprehensive new liner notes by Daniel Champion.