“The In-Laws (1979)”
Soundtrack Album Review
Music By John Morris
La-La Land Records
18 Tracks/Disc Time: 36:34
Grade: A- (BEST OF 2014)
In 1979, Writer Andrew Bergman (“The Freshman”) would write and Director Arthur Hiller (“Love Story”) what Premiere magazine would call one of the 50 Greatest Comedies of All-Time in “The In-Laws” which was originally intended to be a sequel to the hit, “Freebie And The Bean” which starred Oscar Winner Alan Arkin (“Little Miss Sunshine”) and Oscar nominee James Caan (“The Godfather”). Against a sequel, Arkin thought of a better idea pairing him with Columbo’s Peter Falk (a good friend of Arkin’s) and writing a film involving the both of them together. “The In-Laws” was a critically acclaimed comedy that starred Arkin as Sheldon Kornpett, a mild mannered dentist is about to marry off his daughter Barbara (Penny Peyser, “Pale Rider”) except he’s never met her fiancee’s Tommy’s (Michael Lembeck) father. When the father Vince Ricardo (Falk) of the groom who also happens to be a CIA agent comes to dinner, he begins to exhibit some strange behavior and an international plot that involves stolen plates for U.S. Currency and a crazed General named Garcia (Richard Libertini, “Law & Order”), who only talks with a face drawn on his hand.
Along for this fun and enjoyable ride is the work of composer John Morris, who during the 70’s was thriving writing some stellar music working for the great Mel Brooks with renowned scores for “Blazing Saddles”, “Young Frankenstein”, “High Anxiety” and “Silent Movie” which are amongst the finest he’s ever written. However, “The In-Laws” has to be his comedic masterpiece because it is a score chock full of stupendous fun and a very breezy one filled with wonderful melodic material that you can pretty much hum to yourself and one that perfectly fits the movie to a tee.
Opening with the “Main Title”, Morris’ fabulous score begins with the score’s signature theme: a fun, and breezy one that is big band in nature but featuring playful solos such as keyboards, drums, bongos, casanets, and guitar that also employs a little bit of a mock “Mission: Impossible” feel to it before seguing to the score’s true and fun filled nature with a touch of “Here Comes The Bride” tossed in for comedic purposes. The rest of the score is full of comedic moments that are very tongue in cheek and Morris utilizes the score’s main theme throughout highlighted by the “Shelley Meets The Heavies” which features the theme on a goofy sounding synthesizer matched perfectly with an electric guitar and then switches over to some fun and frenetic piece of scoring in the exhilarating “Bag Chase”, “T-Men Waiting / T-Men Chase / Honduras” continues the pace which incorporates a comedic version of the “William Tell Overture” mixed with the score’s main theme that works perfectly together. while providing some Latin goofiness to the proceedings in “Orange Chase”, “Banana Chase”, and “The General’s Secret Chamber” which has some rather weird synthesizer effects for the crazed General in the film. Morris has some fun with the finale of the film with the purposely over the top “T-Men Rescue”, the fun “Helicopter Arrival” and the sweet and sccarine “Bridal Chorus / Wedding / End Title” which ends the score and the film on a grand and lush note, at least until that great main title theme makes one grand comeback to cap things off.
This has been one of La-La Land’s long overdue album releases and one that they’re quite proud of. I really would have to agree with them on that because this is a flat out fun score that is a favorite amongst fans of John Morris’ work. I’m a fan of Morris’ and really have to say that this score and his brilliant, “Mel Brooks’ History Of The World Part 1” are most stupendous and wonderful work that really deserves a little more recognition as much as the films rightfully deserve. Morris really has a great comedic touch and his brilliance in the genre is really on display here and the best part is that there isn’t a heck of alot of music in the film, but when it appears, it’s just perfect in tone. “The In-Laws” is easily one of the best comedy scores that ranks very at the very top with the likes of “Airplane!”, “1941”, “The Naked Gun” and “National Lampoon’s Animal House” and definitely one of the labels’ stellar releases of this year. Brilliant fun! Thumbs way way way up! Also, go see the movie! It’s just as great!
“The In-Laws” is now available to order from La-La Land Records at a great low price @ http://www.lalalandrecords.com/Site/In-Laws.html