Sky Riders (Score) / O.S.T.


aec.alep43.2 7/28/09 New
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    Sky Riders (Score) / O.S.T. Aleph

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Review Text The thriller Sky Riders (in which a woman played by Susannah York is kidnapped by terrorists and rescued by her ex-husband, played by James Coburn, who hang-glides onto a Greek island) made little impression on filmgoers when it opened in the U.S. in the spring of 1976, and no soundtrack album containing Lalo Schifrin's score was released. Thirty-three years later, Schifrin himself, on his own Aleph Records label, corrects this oversight. His music may be, as annotator Julie Kirgo claims, superior to the movie in which it was used, but it is still a fairly conventional effort making use of expected effects. Of course, there is plenty of suspense music to accompany the action sequences, especially later on. But Schifrin also takes advantage of the setting to use a bouzouki and suggest Greek folk music in "Climbers," after having taken advantage of the presence of the flying circus recruited by Coburn in the rescue for the opening "Flying Circus." A big difference in this album, assembled under the composer's own auspices, is that it provides a more coherent sense of his music as composition, with lengthy tracks running seven, eight, and nine minutes, instead of as the usual short cues that tend to be used on soundtrack albums, reflecting the way the music is actually used in films, in short bursts without development or context beyond the visuals being accompanied. Here, Schifrin's musical segments have beginnings, middles, and ends, which means this disc works better as a piece of music -- however varied -- than a 1976 soundtrack LP would have been likely to do. ~ William Ruhlmann

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Flying circus - 6:23
  2. 2. Climbers - 4:08
  3. 3. The Riders - 9:32
  4. 4. Gliding - 5:44
  5. 5. The Terrorists - 9:13
  6. 6. The Last Kite - 6:23
  7. 7. Copters and Gliders - 7:18
  8. 8. End Credits (Original Version) - 2:09

Product Details

In Sky Riders, the off-camera tale behind the film cast a more interesting story than the film itself: when a Greek electrician died during an explosion, the film's producer, Terry Morse Jr., was arrested by the Greek government, and executive producer Sandy Howard was detained in Greece for several weeks. Finally, an out-of-court settlement was reached with the Greek government to release the film producer. The plot of the actual film has nothing to do with international incidents, although it does deal, on a comic-book level, with terrorism. The wife, Ellen (Susannah York), of an international industrialist (Robert Culp) and her two children are kidnapped from their Athens home by a terrorist group and taken to an abandoned monastery on an imposing, needle-shaped crag. The police immediately snap into action. Inspector Nikolidis (Charles Aznavour) attempts to free them, but the police force fails. Coming into the picture is Ellen's ex-husband, Jim McCabe (James Coburn). Pondering the situation, he notices a couple of crows in flight and gets a brainstorm. McCabe tracks down a flying circus of hang-gliding riders and requisitions them for the rescue. The hang gliders teach McCabe to fly, and McCabe teaches them to fight. Then, on the night of a full moon, the group glides off to the monastery to save Ellen. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi
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