Jerry Fielding “The Enforcer” (Aleph Records)
Clint Eastwood made 5 “Dirty Harry” movies..w/Lalo Schifrin doing the scores…except for this one. Schifrin was unable to score this but recommended Fielding, who was a well known and popular musician until the 50’s and Joseph McCarthy’s Communist witch hunting led to many Hollywood names being blacklisted. Fielding worked in Las Vegas, he was a fiery workaholic and also was huge jazz buff. This worked well with Eastwood,also a very well known lover of jazz.
The movie, filmed in 1976 in San Francisco featured Harry Callahan breaking in yet another partner, Inspector Kate Moore played by Tyne Daly. The story had a bunch of radicals holding the city hostage with a stolen cache of arms. Callahan and Moore do their very best to stop them. Fielding knew the Dirty Harry movies well…especially how most of Harry’s partners ended up. He created this score knowing the fate of Moore and focused his entire score on this. It makes for a sad yet utterly fierce piece of music. The pace is fast, disjointed at times with crazy horns over some very soulful bass..the “Rooftop Chase” is a prime example of this…breathtakingly quick the first 1-2 minutes then breaks down to minimal keys then back to wild brass.
It’s extremely moving to see a score aimed solely directed at a major character’s onscreen demise but the last two pieces “Death on the Rock” and Finale (Eulogy for Inspector Moore) do just that. You have followed Kate all through this film watching her hold her own and as mentioned in Nick Redman’s fine liner notes, you hope she will beat the odds and live yet knowing her chances are slim. But it’s still jarring to see it happen.
You watch Harry trying to comfort his dying partner and see part of his humanity die along with Kate. The sad music really reflects the depth of emotion Callahan really has. Most of the Dirty Harry movies just bypassed this, you see Harry as a pure “bad ass” and forget the man behind the shield.
This is a wondeful score and must have for serious collectors of both genres, jazz and movie music.
By Michael Sullivan