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Soundtrack review: Candleshoe (Ron Goodwin – 1977, 2015)

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“Candleshoe” was the second film in Disney’s deal with child actress Jodie Foster, who plays teen orphan Casey, running amok in the streets of urban Los Angeles until she’s literally purchased from her unfeeling foster parents by an English con man, Bundage. Bundage recognizes an opportunity to pass Casey off as the missing granddaughter of Lady St. Edmund (Helen Hayes), mistress of the English countryside estate of Candleshoe. Bundage’s motivation is the promise of an ancestral treasure buried somewhere on the grounds, and he grooms Casey to take in the old lady and root out the storied chest of Spanish doubloons. Quite a different plot from Jodie Foster’s movie from next year, 1978, “Taxi Driver”. The score was written by Ron Goodwin and released by Intrada this year.

The perfume of the age when the music was recorded is obvious from the “Main titles”. There’s that joyful fanfare sound that represented a hopeful period in movies and film music. The orchestra seems to be having a lot of fun and there’s also that brass section which makes me think of a sunny adventure. I could see these main titles also working as a theme song for a cop show from the 70s. There’s a disco vibe in there that gets quite addictive.

It’s hard to connect with a lot of the cues because they feel more like inserts. A lot of them clock at under one minute and don’t really have time to develop. I like a sweet optimistic melody like “Casey arrives in London”. A lot of the music of “Candleshoe” is children’s adventure material with bursts of emotions every now and then. I like these pieces with their flutes and innocence.

The music of Ron Goodwin is quite nice even if it doesn’t have anything special. It’s a sound I’ve heard many times before and it gives me the feeling of a Saturday morning as a child. The composer introduces some dramatic moments as well to balance the feel good adventure sound that dominates the score.

It’s nice to get a release like this from time to time because it provides a break from today’s film music. A score like this is the equivalent of just blocking out the worries and the outside world and just watching your small child play. The appeal of “Candleshoe” lies there. If I were to highlight one cue it would be the exciting “The big fight at Candleshoe” which is completely different as level of action and exuberance from anything else the score had to offer.

Cue rating: 79 / 100

Total minutes of excellence:8 / 47

Album excellence: 17%

Highlights:

The big fight at Candleshoe

Market Day (Take 2)**

About the author

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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