Composed and Conducted by LEONARD ROSENMAN

Intense action score by Leonard Rosenman for demon auto thriller gets first-ever release on CD. Existential horror tale directed by Elliot Silverstein, with James Brolin, Ronny Cox, offers frightening attacks by automobile run amok in small town. Where did it come from? Why is it here? Little time for questions as sheriff and deputy struggle to protect citizens.

Rosenman anchors with powerhouse statements of medieval “Dies Irae” melody, for tuba, trombone. Low brass play major role in score throughout with virtuoso trumpets getting the spotlight in tour de force chase sequences. Woodwinds have their say as well. Action remains keynote, so rhythmic vitality stays front and center. Interestingly, Rosenman offers trademark atonal material to suggest arid desert landscape but imbues action cues with strong tonal flavor, often with major triads in trumpets leading the way. Striking approach! Intrada CD presents entire score from original 35mm three-channel stereo scoring session elements transferred to 1/2″ tape by Universal and vaulted in pristine condition. Extras include three unused versions of climactic “Apparition” cue plus Universal promo spots. CD also offers composer’s intense attack overlay cue for school band parade sequence both with, without interrupted Sousa march.

Trivia for film music buffs: Young hitchhiker in film, seen playing “William Tell” on French horn while thumbing rides, is composer John Rubinstein (Robert Redford’s Jeremiah Johnson, Redford’s The Candidate). His brief horn “performance” is also included as an extra on CD. Liner notes by Jeff Bond plus dramatic design by Joe Sikoryak completes dramatic package. Leonard Rosenman conductsFor the 1977 Universal Picture The Car, composer Leonard Rosenman provided a thrilling score anchored around the medieval Dies Irae chant, signaling early on that this is no ordinary automobile on the loose, but a driverless and demonically possessed devil car. This is musically evident from the beginning, with a clanging chord to quickly reflect the arid, desolate look of the film’s desert setting, before low brass and contrabass clarinet intone the Dies Irae theme. The action set pieces, which make up the bulk of the score,  are especially riveting, with the composer leading the orchestra at an unusually breakneck pace. The film afforded Rosenman the opportunity to compose some of the most wildly kinetic and fast-tempo music in Rosenman’s career.

For this release, Intrada was provided access to the original scoring session masters, recorded onto 1/2″ 15 ips three-channel tape at the Universal Studios scoring stage in January and February of 1977. Every roll of tape survived in pristine condition in Universal’s vaults.

In the film, a mysterious black car appears and begins picking off pedestrians in a small desert town. The devil  is a Lincoln Continental Mark III, with two baleful headlight “eyes,” a sneering grill and a staccato, blaring car horn from Hell—all designed to terrify the victims it stalks in an isolated desert town in Utah. The film additionally stars James Brolin as Wade; grizzled tough guy John Marley as the town sheriff; perennial heavy R.G. Armstrong as an abusive husband; and Ronny Cox as an alcoholic deputy, Luke.

Label: Intrada Special Collection Volume ISC 306
Date: 1977
Time: 40:50
Tracks: 26
01. The Car (Main Title) (2:30)
02. Cyclist Killed (2:35)
03. John Killed (0:47)
04. Dead Girl Found (2:03)
05. Sheriff Killed (1:11)
06. Pete Found (1:38)
07. Eerie Car – Bridge (0:23)
08. Run (3:00)
09. Ray’s Pursuit (3:52)
10. Barrel Roll (1:41)
11. Strong Spirits (2:37)
12. Chase – Part 1 (3:25)
13. Chase – Parts 2 & 3 (4:39)
14. Apparition (0:38)
15. The Car (End Title) (0:41)
16. The Car (End Credits) (1:42)
The Extras
17. Apparition – Revised No. 1 (0:30)
18. Apparition – Revised No. 2 (0:35)
19. Apparition – Revised No. 3 (0:27)
20. Semper Fidelis (John Philip Sousa) w/Parade Overlay (2:38)
21. The Car (E.C.) Wild Chime (0:19)
22. William Tell – Pastorale (Gioachino Rossini) (0:27)
23. Universal Promo – The Car Version No. 1 (0:22)
24. Universal Promo – The Car Version No. 2 (0:24)
25. Universal Promo – The Car Version No. 3 (0:24)
26. Universal Promo – The Car Version No. 4 (0:24)