Kritzerland is proud to present a new world premiere limited edition soundtrack:
Music Composed by Philippe Sarde
“You son of a double-eyed whore from the reeking gutters of Rotterdam!”
Roman Polanski had long wanted to make a pirate film; a grand, lush, fun pirate film like those he’d seen as a child. He and collaborator Gerard Brach (with whom Polanski had collaborated on Repulsion, Cul-de-Sac, The Fearless Vampire Killers, What?, The Tenant, Tess, and others that would come later), wrote the script after Polanski had finished with Chinatown. Originally slated to star Jack Nicholson and Polanski himself, the film would not be made until a decade later, this time with Walter Matthau in the lead.
Pirates premiered at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival, after which it opened in the United States to critical disdain and box-office apathy. Grossing only two million dollars, the film was simply not what audiences of the day wanted and it disappeared quickly. Even so, it did manage to pick up one Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design (Anthony Powell). It vanished for a while, but, thanks to home video and cable showings, over the years people have come to appreciate its many pleasures, including Matthau’s terrific performance, the sometimes-mordant black humor, wonderful action scenes, gorgeous visuals (photography by Witold Sobocinski), and Polanski’s excellent and robust direction. And, above all, the wonderful, colorful, lush, exciting, and altogether beautiful score of Philippe Sarde.
Polanski had begun what would be a fruitful collaboration with Sarde on The Tenant, which was followed by Sarde’s incandescent score for Tess (for which Sarde was nominated for an Academy Award) and then Pirates. Born in 1945, Philippe Sarde began scoring films in 1970, and from then on became one of France’s busiest and best composers. Right from the get-go the Sarde sound was instantly recognizable – his wonderful gift for memorable and melodic themes, his ability to do just about any genre, but in his own unique style. His film scores throughout the 1970s were some of that decades’ best. Soon thereafter, Hollywood discovered him, and he did many terrific scores for US films, such as Ghost Story, The Manhattan Project, Lovesick, Lord of the Flies, Music Box, along with an impressive list of French films and films from other countries
About the scoring of the film, Polanski said, “I did not intend to make a spoof and therefore I did not ask Philippe to spoof the music, though we both wanted to make references to the period and the atmosphere of the old Hollywood action flicks. I wanted a music that would underline certain actions and gags, and yet I didn’t want a “Mickey Mouse” type of score. I wanted to avoid a caricature.” Sarde delivered exactly what Polanski wanted and an absolutely brilliant score.
Pirates was originally released on LP and then on CD by Varese Sarabande. That release was oddly sequenced, as a quick perusal of the cue titles will tell you. We were going to leave it that way until we actually arranged the cue titles so that they followed the film’s story, and once we heard that we knew that we wanted to present it as Sarde wrote it. And interestingly, we later found out that’s exactly how the original LP presented the score – the CD mixed it all up, but if you look at the LP cue order you’ll see it’s all in film order, sans the music that was added for the CD.
The sound has been completely remastered, and additionally we’ve included two bonus cues: the main and end titles as presented in the film, taken from the beautiful-sounding foreign Blu-Ray release.
Matey, they don’t seem to write scores like Pirates anymore, so it’s a real treat to have Philippe Sarde’s great swashbuckling music back on CD, sounding better than ever with enough buckle and swash for a dozen films.
This release is limited to 1000 copies only. The price of the CD is $19.98, plus shipping. Additionally, we are offering a special deal with the purchase of this release.
CD will ship the second week of May – however, preorders placed directly through Kritzerland usually ship one to five weeks earlier (we’ve been averaging four weeks early).