The 1960s. Michael Caine. Len Deighton. John Barry. A perfect cocktail of talents shaken (but not stirred) into the memorable 1965 spy film The Ipcress File, directed by Sidney J. Furie and produced by Harry Saltzman (who also worked on the James Bond franchise).
Our occasional Japanese CD of the Day series, today celebrates John Barry’s superb soundtrack to this downbeat espionage movie, as issued by MCA in Japan in 1995 (cat no. MVCM-22046) as part of the label’s 60th Anniversary celebrations.
Although presented in a standard jewel case (with white insert tray) there is an attempt to reproduce the original vinyl packaging with this Japanese presentation. The booklet cover has a very cool graphic design, looking authentic to the period, and doesn’t even feature the film’s leading star. Likewise the rear of the booklet has what looks like a facsimile reproduction of the original back sleeve of the vinyl record and the disc design (“Long Playing Unbreakable”) suggests an echoing of the original LP label.
Of course, it’s one thing looking great, but the music within is really quite outstanding. Barry’s association with the Bond films is what he will be most remembered for, but this jazzy, slinky effort is surely one of his very best.
Like the most satisfying film scores this soundtrack has a memorable main title theme and then spends 38 minutes playing around with it. The music evokes the solitary nature of the anti-hero spy Harry Palmer (as played by Michael Caine). Highlights include the stunning Alone In Three-Quarter Time, the dramatic A Man Alone and the meditative Alone Blues. You get the idea – ‘alone’ is something of a running theme. The soundtrack comes full circle with A Man Alone (three tracks have this title!) reprising the main title theme.
This CD was bought at the time of release in Tower Records in London’s Piccadilly Circus (don’t look for it, it’s not there anymore), and yours truly paid £23 for this ‘import’ item. Painfully expensive for one CD of music, but the mastering is excellent and like many other Barry soundtracks (Midnight Cowboy being a good example) this still gets played with surprisingly regularity. I threw away the OBI strip, by the way. Annoying.
If anyone fancies picking this up amazon uk have one…