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Tip on a Dead Jockey


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This is a "sleeper" film, which has apparently been missed by this crowd. I enjoyed it (despite Leonard Maltin's three-star rating), which stars an aging Robert Taylor, who is showing his clearly-detailed wrinkles and is no longer the glamorous star of his swooning and technicolor epic years. I much prefer him this way. This is a movie with an intricate plot, endless twists and turns, and Dorothy Malone to keep him company when he is not tied up with his smuggling duties and cops-and-robbers. Rober Taylor as a smuggler? Yes indeed; anything goes with Mr. heart-throb over the hill.


On to the major purpose of this thread, which is to comment on what, in my opinion, is a dreadful music score, credited in the TCM database to Miklos Rosza, the esteemed and knowledgeable composer of many wonderful film scores (Spellbound, as the prime example). His great film music was regularly composed specifically for a particular film. In this case, however, it is almost certain that the music score was plucked from the Rosza archives and loaded onto the Dead Jockey. Perhaps it was Rosza's music that killed him.


In many places, the spanish-flavored music virtually drowns out the important dialogue, thus reinforcing my belief that the music was not tailored to the film. In other places, where a musical background is much inferior to silence, it takes hold and never lets go, or just for a little bit, after which it eagerly picks up again in the most unlikely place. One never knows when the music is going to pop up out of nowhere and come to the foreground in a most obnoxious manner. Apparently those who "dubbed" in the music assumed that a constant fusion of castanets, woodwinds, violins, spanish rhythms, etc. would be a nice decoration, to distract the viewer's attention from the plentiful action. Wrong! With this constant distraction, it is difficult to keep track of the plot as it unfolds. Without repeated viewings to sort things out, this is likely to prove impossible.


In summary, here is a perfect example of how to ruin a good movie with bad music. What this movie needs in the face of this musical addition is English subtitles for spoken English. The mute button could then be used to provide welcome relief.





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