Film Music Review
The Sammy awards








Editor's Choice -

Best Of The Month

September 2012  


BODY HEAT (1981)


Music Composed and Conducted by John Barry

Disc One (Total Playing Time = 78:28)

1. Main Title (3:20)
2. Searching for Matty (1:11)
3. Agreement (1:19)
4. I'm Weak (3:25)
5. She Tries 1:00)
6. 3M3/3M4 (1:42)
7. Hey Lady (1:18)
8. What I Want (1:10)
9. Chapeau Gratis (1:17)
10. Busted (2:04)
11. Head/The Breakers (1:25)
12. Kill for Pussy (0:49)
13. Dead Elephan2:53)
14. Surprise (1:43)
15. He's Dead/ Basement (2:11)
16. Explosion (0:58)
17. Problem (1:09)
18. Nothing We Can Do/Heather and Roz (2:12)
19. Us and Oscar/Oscar (2:04)
20. See Ya/ 11M1 (1:00)
21. Watch Your Step (0:53)
22. Glasses (0:52)
23. Better Get Him (6:10)
24. Matty Was Mary Ann (4:19)
Total Time = 48:10

Bonus tracks:
25. Searching for Matty/ Agreement (film edit)(1:23)
26. She Tries (alternate) (0:55)

Source Music:
27. That Old Feeling (Lew Brown and Sammy Fain) (3:14)
28. A la Harry James (3:26)
29. 1M2 (1:43)
30. 4M3 (3:11)
31. 5M3 (1:03)
32. 5M4 (1:47)
33. 9M1 (0:55)
34. 9M1a (1:05)
35. Cocktail Hour (3:09)
36. Pantyhose/ Maidenform (Michael Lang)(3:52)
37. Tonight's Romance/ Tomorrow's Romance (Michael Lang)(4:32)
Total Time = 27:51

Disc Two (Total Playing Time = 61:07)

John Barry Soundtrack Album
1. Main Title (3:21)|
2. I'm Weak (3:25)
3. Chapeau Gratis (1:17)
4. Hey Lady (1:17)
5. Busted (2:04)
6. Kill for Pussy (2:21)
7. I'm Frightened (2:21)
8. Surprise (1:46)
9. Us and Oscar (0:55)
10. Oscar (2:06)
11. Problem (3:48)
12. Better Get Him (6:12)
13. Matty Was Mary Ann (4:19)
Total Time = 35:26

Demo Recordings
Tracks 14-23 (25:31)

Music Produced by John Barry.
John Barry Soundtrack Album by Dan Wallin
CD Edition Produced by Lukas Kendall and Neil S. Bulk
Executive Producer for Screen Archives Entertainment: Craig Spaulding
CD Remixed Assembled and Mastered by Mike Matessino
Selected Cues Mixed by Dan Wallin
Orchestrations by Al Woodbury
Score recorded May 4-6, 1981 at CBS Studio Center,
Studio City, California
Recording Engineer: Dennis Sands
CD Art Direction: Joe Sikoryak
Booklet Notes: Jon Burlingame

Film Score Monthly, Volume 15, No. 4

Rating: ****

With John Barry's unfortunate death last year, we lost a true giant among film composers. Because of his many excellent film scores, I named him for he Lifetime Achievement Sammy Award, which is named for a film composer after he or she is gone and who has shown a high level of compositional creativity. On that page I listed my ten favorite John Barry scores and one of them was BODY HEAT.

I suspect this is a favorite Barry score of his many fans. I believe it is one of his best and that's why this new 2 CD set is a real treasure. Not only do we get the unreleased original soundtrack album on disc two (tracks 1-13) but also the expanded unreleased soundtrack recording as well on disc one (tracks 1-26). Plus there are worthwhile extra tracks on both discs: source music on disc one (tracks 27-37), and a wonderful selection of demo recordings on disc two (tracks 14-23) of various interpretations of the lusty and unforgettable main theme.

That opening main theme, representing the clever and ruthless Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner) is heard many times in this score but never wears out its welcome because it is handled so brilliantly by Barry.


Body Heat [Blu-ray]

On the Blu-ray disc, in the Post-production special feature, film editor Carol Littleton says that John Barry wrote the main theme based on the words "Body Heat" and that fits the opening notes of this "jazz ballad," which is what Barry calls it on the Post-production segment on his scoring. It is a deceptively simple though also highly sensual tune that is beautifully played by Hollywood veteran alto sax player, Ronnie Lang. Also worth mentioning is the piano player, Mike Lang (no relation). In a sense this score is often a duet with these two talented musicians playing the wonderful jazzy themes that Barry has created.

The main theme perfectly represents the lusty sex and criminal intrigue in the steamy climate of Southern Florida. The film has an extremely well written screenplay by the director, Lawrence Kasdan. Barry says on the Blu-ray disc that the ending is where he gets the chance to let that main theme really come forward and that is heard on the cue, "Matty Was Mary Ann," included on both discs.

Besides the prominent main jazz ballad there are other suspense themes that Barry uses effectively. One of these themes is heard in the cue "Busted" with a restrained but still suspenseful statement in the piano and especially the strings. An even more apparent suspense theme is heard in "I'm Frightened" which reminds me of themes Barry used in his early James Bond scores, except the alto sax solos makes it even more suspenseful. And as might be expected, the cue titled "Surprise" is another highly effective suspense cue, without the alto sax being used and a prominent piano figure. This is carried over to the next cues: "He's Dead/ Basement."


Body Heat (1998 Re-recording of 1981 Film)


This 2 CD set has become the one to have over the old Varese Sarabande re-recording of BODY HEAT by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Joel McNeely, which has only 15 tracks of Barry's score, similar to the second disc on this FSM release.

The booklet notes by respected Los Angeles film music critic, Jon Burlingame, are well written and very informative, with descriptions of each cue on the two discs. He has obviously studied this score in great detail and provides the reader with the results of his findings. If only more CD restorations had this much to offer.

This is another superior effort by the Film Score Monthly team, especially CD producers Lucas Kendall and Neil S. Bulk, music editor Dan Wallin, mixing engineer Mike Matessino, and art director Joe Sikoryak who provides a colorful, well designed CD booklet and cover.

I give this BODY HEAT 2 CD set my highest recommendation. It is well worth the price to finally have one of John Barry's greatest scores in as a complete version as you'll likely ever get.

I'm pleased to name this excellent release as Best of the Month.

-- Review by Roger Hall, 30 September 2012


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