I love this movie, and I can confirm that I’m far from the only guy who also loves this score (just ask Brett Ratner how he decided to hire Lalo Schifrin for the Rush Hour movies). It is, of course, the greatest kung-fu movie ever made, with an amazing performance by Bruce Lee both as star and fight choreographer. Lalo Schifrin’s score was originally released in 1973 as a 26-minute LP but then expanded by producer Nick Redman into a 56-minute CD by Warner Home Video in 1998. I was privileged to write the notes for that expansion, interviewing the composer and delving into the creation of this iconic score. So for Aleph’s reissue of the latter — expanded slightly to include the film’s main title, with Lee’s unique shouts — I have adapted my earlier essay.
This was another in a series of composer profiles I’ve recently done for Variety. Chris Beck is one of those guys who has paid his dues, come up through the ranks and emerged as one of our most versatile composers (just contrast The Hangover with The Muppets). I talked to Chris, and several of his admiring directors, for the main story; visited the scoring stage for The Muppets; talked to him about working in TV, notably on Buffy the Vampire Slayer; and asked him to comment on 10 of his most interesting assignments.
I’ve often written about composer Danny Elfman, and here is a career profile I penned in 2006 for one of Variety‘s “Billion Dollar Composer” issues. This story gave me a chance to interview not only Danny but also composers Gus Van Sant, Sam Raimi and Brett Ratner. The very next day I published a story about conductor John Mauceri leaving L.A., and it references Danny’s first major non-film work (and still one of his best), Serenada Schizophrana. And here is one I had completely forgotten about, a profile of Danny from June 2002 written for BMI. That one also quotes directors Tim Burton, Sam Raimi and Brett Ratner plus Simpsons creator Matt Groening.