Music By Marvin Hamlisch
“Somewhere I Belong” Performed By
La-La Land Records
22 Tracks/Disc Time: 47:30
The film “D.A.R.Y.L.” may not linger in the minds of many filmgoers, but it was one that I personally grew up with and one of those films that featured a what if premise. What if a boy could be made out of a machine? Or a machine that wanted to be a real life boy with real life parents and live a normal life with friends yet be smarter than the average human? Well, those are all of the questions that film does ask and then some in Director Simon Wincer’s Pinocchio like sci-fi drama. D.A.R.Y.L. stands for Data Analysing Robot Youth Lifeform (the charming Barret Oliver, “The Neverending Story”) who is found wandering the woods with what appears to be amenesia and then placed in an orphanage where he is then taken in by a childless couple, the Richardson’s (Michael McKean, “This Is Spinal Tap” and Mary Beth Hurt, “The Big Chill”) as he starts to piece together where comes from and who his real parents might be. He starts to adapt to his new surroundings by making friends with their neighbors, the Fox family’s (Colleen Camp and Steve Ryan) children (Danny Corkill and Amy Linker), plays little league baseball where he excels and learns to be a real life boy. Soon the military and a pair of scientists, the kindly Dr. Stewart (Josef Summer) and Dr. Lamb (Kathryn Walker) soon take Daryl back to their lab for analysis and soon discover that he is a living breathing human artificial intellegence capable of much more than they had originally anticipated. However, a renegade General has other ideas on how to utilize Daryl’s looks and innocence to be used against any foreign enemy. The film wasn’t exactly a hit since “Back To The Future” practically devoured the competition the Summer of 1985, but the film has gained a cult audience over the years particularly on HBO, home video and DVD which gave the film a new life for people to discover the film.
An intriguing part of this film is the film’s composer who was multi Oscar Winner and Tony Award Winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, who hadn’t scored a film in three years when this film came along due to his commitment to a ill fated Broadway production. Hamlisch, a gifted lyricist and musician was given high priority projects throughout his career which included the memorable “The Sting”, “The Way We Were”, “Ice Castles”, “Seems Like Old Times” and “The Spy Who Loved Me” along with the great Broadway production of “A Chorus Line”, which was made into a film the same year that D.A.R.Y.L. was released. The score to the film is one of the important elements of the film that brought both dynamic depth as well as playful innocence to the young robotic character through electronics.
The main theme to the score is featured in varied forms throughout the score starting with the film’s opening “Main Title” which features lush strings, guitar, harmonica and a whistling theme which represents D.A.R.Y.L’s youthful innocence but shifts to a more lush orchestrial setting which reminds me so much of his debut score for 1968’s “The Swimmer”. Hamlisch wonderfully underscores Daryl’s arrival to his new family and his adjustment to his new surroundings with wistful and tender material with a sprinkling of electronics in the tracks “They’ve Got A Kid/Second Part Of Game”, “Long, Long Ago/D.A.R.Y.L’s Second Hit”, “Long, Long Ago (Reprise)/Is It Me?”, “Baseball Montage/D.A.R.Y.L. Sweetheart!” and “D.A.R.Y.L And Dad” which feature Hamlisch providing some fun with the material but also providing a bit drama underneath that is very subtle musically via a piano or a harmonica solo much like the track “The Departure” which feels a bit elegiac. The final half of the score features Hamlisch providing more suspense and urgency in his material as D.A.R.Y.L figures out who he really is and what his true purpose is in the tracks “Terminated / What You Feel In Yourself / What Am I?”, “Welcome to TASCOM / Never Was Human”, “The Army’s Coming / The Destruction of D.A.R.Y.L. / The Escape”, “You Are A Person/Two Soldiers”, and “The Big Plane Moves/The Joyride”. Hamlisch ends the score proper with D.A.R.Y.L’s rescue and rebirth in the tracks “Hooker and Turtle To The Rescue” and “D.A.R.Y.L. Hits the Water/D.A.R.Y.L. Runs Home” that have an urgent and musically desperate feel to them orchestrially with each frantic note building and building till a happy resolution that culminates in Teddy Pendergrass’ wonderful 80’s ballad, “Somewhere I Belong”, which is definitely dated but a very passionate and brilliant ending to the film and the album.
La-La Land’s premiere release of this score is one long in coming because the film’s score is a very strong and memorable experience that should rank amongst Hamlisch’s great body of work that has withstood the test of time and strongly does today. The score isn’t for everyone except for die hard fans of the film who are familiar with it as I am or fans of the late composer who left one final impression with his delightful score to Steven Soderbergh’s “The Informant” and a true testament to the man’s diversity and talents that are now sorely missed in Hollywood and Broadway. “D.A.R.Y.L.” is a fine score that should be rediscovered again and filled with some lovely themes that soundtrack fans will enjoy. Recommended. Thumbs up.