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Soundtrack review: Indecent proposal (complete) (John Barry – 1993)

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Soundtrack review: Indecent proposal (complete) (John Barry – 1993)


Whenever a new John Barry remastered / complete score is released, it goes to the top of my priority list. This wonderful composer has achieved cult status with me and he can’t do wrong. The most romantic composer film music world has ever seen has left a legacy that will live forever. His music is timeless; his compositions are tender and fragile like butterfly wings. His scores are among the most beautiful ever written and every note is covered in the smoothest velvet.

It’s time now for “Indecent proposal” to see the light of day. The infamous movie where Robert Redford offers Demi Moore 1 million dollars for a night with her and forever changes her marriage to Woody Harrelson has become part of popular culture. I have seen it a couple of times but I didn’t pay attention to the music. Of course I should have, since even from the first moments of the main titles I am transported back into that special meadow where his score for “Somewhere in time” stays forever young.

Listening to a John Barry score is like traveling to the most romantic place in the world. Everything is floating on white clouds; everything flows slowly and gently and the sun just caresses everything in this perfect landscape. I forget about everything else when I listen to a score like “Indecent proposal” and just close my eyes and dream and think about the most precious things in my life. Actually I don’t forget about everything else, because each John Barry score is a portal to his other works and I like to recognize motifs, moods and emotions. Those soulful piano themes, the sublimely reflective sections just make me stop, clear my mind and enjoy the music. The effect John Barry’s music has on me is quite unique.

I discover here, surprisingly, one of his quieter scores. I would say one of the most melodic but it would be wrong because all his scores are like that. I’ll just name it one of the more fragile, one of the scores I want to cradle in my arms. I love the subtle changes in tone, the sudden raise of the eyebrows as the situation gets dire (“All is lost” or “One million dollars”) and the return to the natural flow afterwards. Yes, this is the score that feels closest to “Somewhere in time” and that one has a very special place in my heart.

There is a special kind of sadness and longing in “Indecent proposal”. There’s always a doubt that I can hear in the music, there’s a permanent shadow that clouds the eyes and it’s just beautiful. I’ve spend most of this review talking about John Barry and less about this particular score but maybe this is because this score is pure, vintage, classical, perfect John Barry. His fans will just be in awe and add this to their list of favorites while the ones who don’t know his music yet (is such a thing even possible?) will wonder how they lived until now without being exposed to one of the composers that made me fall in love with film music.

For me, a John Barry score is the wind that blows gently and brings a scent I can’t necessarily identify but which sends me back to a precise moment in time, a moment when I felt the most at peace.

Cue rating: 95 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 57 / 74

Album excellence: 76%


Main Title

Kitchen Floor

The Recession

Drive To Vegas

Dress Shop

One Million Dollars

Complimentary Suite

Can’t Sleep

Let’s Do It

The Run To The Heli-Pad

Helicopter To Yacht

Lucky Dollar

Diana Returns


Last Fight

I Need You

Flashback & Photos

Intoxicated David

The Morning After

The Auction

Let It Go Free

Goodbye John

Goodbye John

Main Title

Helicopter To Yacht

Main Title

Main Title

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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