Monday, November 8, 2010

Milan Calibre 9 & The Designated Victim

A pair of Italian genre films from around 1971 that share some brilliant soundtrack themes composed by Luis Bacalov, whose amazing career spans everything from "Django" right through to the Oscar winning goodness of "Il Postino". For these projects, Bacalov wrote and composed various themes which were then performed by Italian prog rock bands Osanna & The New Trolls.

Milano Calibro 9 is a great slice of Italo crime directed by one of the masters of the genre Fernando Di Leo. After a mobster is released from prison, he finds himself unable to get out of the game when mobsters become convinced he's holding onto a secret loot stash.
It's worth noting that the film actually uses different mixes of the themes (just Bacalov compositions?) then what appeared on the original albums. If you haven't heard this before, you're gonna love it. Classical influences clash with early '70s prog rock (especially Jethro Tull) with an Italian flavour. You might have even heard a snippet of the main theme sampled by DJ Shadow! I was actually lucky enough to pick up a mint Japanese lp at a record fair many years ago. It was one of the first lps I ever picked up and it was only years later (after having a hard time finding the CD reissue) that I realised just how lucky I was. It's still a personal favourite and probably in my top ten soundtracks of all time. Yep, it's that good.

Maurizio Lucidi's "The Designated Victim" (frankly I prefer the "Murder By Design" video retitle, which is where I first saw the film) is a spin on Hitchcock's "Strangers On A Train", with Tomas Milian and Pierre Clementi as a pair who promise to murder the others spouse. Naturally, things don't run that smoothly. It's maybe a bit too tame for it's own good (and lacks the delirium of any other Italo thriller from that period) but Milian & the great score make it worthwhile.

Milano Calibro 9 - Osanna & Luis Bacalov
1 - Preludio
2 - Tema
3 - Variazione I - To Plinius
4 - Variazione II - My Mind Flies
5 - Variazione III - Shuum...
6 - Variazione IV - Tredicesimo Cortile
7 - Variazione V - Dianalogo
8 - Variazione VI - Spunti Dallo Spartito...
9 - Variazione VII - Posizione Raggiunta
10 - Canzona - There Will Be Time
The Designated Victim (Concerto Grosso) - New Trolls & Luis Bacalov
11 - Allegro
12 - Adagio (Shadows)
13 - Cadenza - Andante Con Moto
14 - Shadows (per Jimy Hendrix)
15 - Nella Sala Vuota, Improvvisazioni Dei New Trolls




  2. just watched Designated Victim this evening - fantastic score especially at the end with Milian climbing the stairs & preparing to take the shot & we get that wonderful view of Venice

    Does a full soundtrack of Designated Victim exist anywhere? Or is this it? any info appreciated

  3. Heya, as far as I know, this is indeed the official release soundtrack, although much like "Milano Calibro 9", the film seems to occasionally utilise some re-recorded versions of the album tracks - not an uncommon practice at the time (I'm thinking of "Profondo Rosso" film soundtrack vs. original album release)...