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  • Stefan Riedlinger

Rent-A-Cop - Jerry Goldsmith - Soundtrack Review

This week a soundtrack for a lousy movie, and even though this soundtrack is none of Jerry Goldsmith’s best ones, I like it very much because of its lovely main theme.

The movie

Rent-a-Cop is a 1988 action comedy starring Burt Reynolds and Liza Minnelli. Reynolds plays a disgraced police officer, now working as a security guard, who falls in love with Minnelli, who plays a prostitute. The film helped both lead actors to be nominated for the 1988 Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Actor and Worst Actress, and Minnelli ended up "winning" this prize.

Directed by Jerry London who also directed the TV-miniseries “Shogun” with Richard Chamberlain from 1980, “Rent-A-Cop” is a police thriller that is typical of the 80s. The bad guy is played by James Remar called Dancer because, obviously, he likes to dance, and there is a scene in the movie showing Remar dancing half naked in front of some mirrors. I still do not get the idea of this scene because it is just funny-strange, but let’s leave this biggest secret of the movie industry unsolved.

On Amazon, the movie still receives good reviews, and it is fun to watch, especially the last scene and the comment after the bad guy got killed. Reynolds said in an interview that this movie was one of the movies in the 80s that just put money on his bank account.

The music

Jerry Goldsmith created a lovely main theme, played on the solo trumpet, balanced by strings and the piano, that you can hear in the first track and in an extended version in the last track called “Jump”.

Here is the trailer:

Track 4 called “Lonely Cop” presents this theme again in a shorter version. On the original album, Jerry wanted to create a balance between the quieter tracks and the action music, so the track “Freeze, Flash Bomb” was dropped off. This is the piece that underscores the scene when the bad guy got killed, a very rude scene with a very special sense of humor as mentioned above.

The love theme, you can hear in track 4 “Lonely Cop”, track 8 “The Station”, track 11 “They Need Me”, and the end credits called “Jump”. The other tracks are action tracks, and I recommend, especially “The Bust”, track 7 “Russian Roulette” that shows us how crazy Dancer is, track 9 “This Is The Guy”, a great suspense track, track 10 “Get Dancer”, track 13 “Lake Forest” (one of the highlights), track 15 “Worth A Lot”, track 16 “Lights Out” and the already mentioned track 17 “Flash Bomb”.

What I really like in this score, is the use of the electronics that you can especially enjoy when you listen to the six minute action track “The Bust” with your headphones on. Jerry used the electronics like a whooshing-sound, and you can hear it from your right ear to the left ear, a funny effect. “The Bust” is a nice action piece, typically for Jerrys’s 80s music, with a high emphasis on the percussion, and it is still nice to hear how Jerry builds up suspense. This whooshing sound is considered as the element of danger, so the audience can imagine that Dancer could kill every time immediately when you hear this effect.

I read an interesting comment in one of the soundtrack reviews that Goldsmith wrote with this soundtrack his only Bill Conti theme because Conti was more popular with this pop rock electronic rhythm. That is a quite interesting idea to look at the soundtrack. The music was performed by the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra, an orchestra that Goldsmith used a lot in the 80s, I suppose because of budget reasons. The music is not so difficult to play, so the orchestra did a nice job.

So, this week a short review for a nice album with a lovely main theme that is worth buying it. I found here a nice soundtrack suite:

Copyright © Stefan Riedlinger, 2016, all rights reserved. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Stefan Riedlinger.

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