Still fresh after all those years by Dorian (October 14, 2004)
Michel Magne's score for the classic 1963 comedy Les Tontons Flingueurs is one of those great scores that were missed on CD until recently (2002), when a CD with six tracks was released by Universal France. Though the CD is rather a compilation of this and five other Lautner's movies from the era (even not all of them are composed by Magne !), these six tracks are not only a great example of Magne's scoring ability, but also one of the two highlights on the disc (the other being Magne's score for "Le Monocle Rit Jaune") and the main reason for buying it.
As soon as with the first (and shortest) track, "Route de nuit", we have no doubts what we are listening to: nice melodic score with strong jazzy and early 60's feel. In the movie, this first track is very cleverly played during the opening titles of the movie, with Lino Ventura riding his car 'behind' the titles. The other tracks usually weave the main theme, but in a large scale of variations, from the pop tracks (Tamouré and Hully-Gully) which both contain vocals and 'heavy' (in the 1963 context) guitars, to a great swing track (which features one of the best organ solos I've heard) and also to a good example of how good orchestra arranger Magne was (Slow des tontons). Though the CD omits some pieces of music from the movie, the section of Les Tontons Flingueurs fortunately ends with the Final track, which features the main theme and also a strong organ accompaniment.
This score is a wonderful example of the early 1960's French film music. An era when such masterpieces were produced in mass counts, and which we are lucky nowadays we can at least listen to and commemorate.