The quirky black comedy The Traveling Executioner reunites Jerry Goldsmith with filmmaker Jack Smight, for whom the composer delivered one of his greatest scores, The Illustrated Man. Created in the wake of masterpieces Planet of the Apes and The Mephisto Waltz, The Traveling Executioner captures Goldsmith in arguably the most experimental chapter of his career, forging oddball Americana melodies with the idiosyncratic spirit of outsider art: blues, Dixieland, and even carnival music collide to form an evocative pastiche of the post-World War I Deep South. Perhaps no other Goldsmith score embraces so many musical approaches and sensibilities. It's a bit too much of a crazy quilt to succeed on every level, but The Traveling Executioner remains a delightful portrait of a cinematic master with complete confidence in his own powers.
1 Main Title 2:39
2 The Fields Of Ambrosia 6:11
3 He Ain't Dead / The Fee 2:12
4 The Paint Job 2:13
5 A New Client 1:05
6 Missing Chair 0:51
7 The Lawyer / Short Circuited 2:01
8 A Sight To Behold 2:06
9 Past History 1:30
10 A Special Treat 1:01
11 Instructions 4:18
12 The Experiment / Late Work / The Loser 1:55
13 Unwelcome Visitor 2:09
14 The Getaway 2:08
15 The Fields Revisited 4:51
16 End Title 1:57
View CD Page at FSM Site (More Details)
Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music.
In 1970 Jerry Goldsmith scored one of his most offbeat films: The Traveling Executioner, a period drama/black comedy starring Stacy Keach as Jonas Candide, a proud electric chair owner who sends condemned prisoners off to "the fields of Ambrosia" for $100 a pop. When Candide is charged with executing his first woman (Mariana Hill), he falls for her and ends up crossing the line from state-sponsored execution to simple murder. The film was directed by Jack Smight (The Illustrated Man, also scored by Goldsmith, FSMCD Vol. 4, No. 14) and remains an intriguing effort virtually out of circulation today.
Coming off of such avant garde masterpieces as Planet of the Apes and The Mephisto Waltz, Goldsmith turned to a broadly melodic and bluesy approach that captures the film's 1918 Deep South setting and wild shifts in tone. The main theme is a charming blend of Americana, Dixieland and circus atmosphere as it paints a portrait of the contented but oddball title character, a former con man living on the fringes of society. As Candide delivers a heartfelt, calming pre-execution pep talk to his "customer," Goldsmith provides a soft, six-minute spell of Americana foreshadowing his score to Magic (1978). When the story kicks into high gear, the composer enthusiastically touches all the bases, from bluegrass comedy to avant garde suspense to full-scale action.
The Traveling Executioner—never before released in any form—is presented in complete form (including deleted and alternate cues) in excellent stereo sound, remixed from the original three-track masters. Liner notes are by Jeff Bond and Lukas Kendall.