The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Album of
Music composed and conducted by John Barry
featuring Shirley Bassey singing the title theme
originally on LP: 20th Century-Fox Records, CD re-issue: Retrograde Records USA 1997, FSM 80124-2
The original album notes:
by film writer and director Bryan Forbes
The problem was this: which was to come first - the director's chicken, or the composer's egg? Normally, film music is only written after a director has assembled and edited the visual material into a fine-cut, for it is only then that the mathematical exactness of composing for the screen can be decided. (Perhaps it is not generally known that film composers have to work within extremely fine limits, their inspiration restricted and confined by measurements scaled down to a single frame of film.)
Deadfall posed a major problem for both John Barry and me. I had written into the screenplay a long robbery sequence running some seventeen minutes without benefit of dialogue, and the actual robbery had to be timed against a concert performance. The music for the concert had to do two things: firstly it had to underline, dramatically, the action and at the same time it had to stand alone as a major piece of music capable of being performed by a renowned symphony orchestra and a star soloist. In addition since the concert performance was to be crosscut with the robbery, I had to film a complete musical performance.
Initially, John Barry and I had to decide on the form of the music and the choice of the solo instrument. After long consultation, we agreed on the guitar. John felt that it would be too pretentious to call his work a Concerto - instead he elected to write what he termed "A Romance for guitar and Orchestra." We approached The London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Renata Tarrago and eventually agreed on recording dates. At this point not a note of music had been written, nor a frame of film exposed. Everything had to be taken on trust and planned well in advance.
Then, both working entirely separately, and inevitably in the dark as to the other's intentions, I started shooting the robbery and John started composing his music. When this stage was completed, we then had to record the actual "Romance" on tape, and it was only at this point that I had any idea as to the form the music had taken. The third stage was to film the actual concert performance to playback.
Then came the moment of truth. Would the filmed images time out and fit exactly? Miraculously, they did. I cannot pay high enough tribute to John's contribution and whatever the merits of the film, nobody should underestimate his achievement. To my mind he has written a major piece of music which will enrich the comparatively small library of works for guitar and orchestra.
In Senorita Tarrago we were fortunate to have not only a superb soloist but also a very attractive woman, and her striking and individual beauty enhances the filmed performance. John Barry makes his own first appearance before the cameras, conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
This is the sixth film we have done together. I firmly believe that he is the most original composer working in and for films.
As for Shirley Bassey - well, it was snowing in London when we recorded her vocal, but as always, she raised the temperature the moment she started to sing. The mercury, I think you will agree, stayed high.