Used Cars Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score Used Cars by Ernest Gold.
At a glance:
Geek Score: 81.3
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 16.02
Album Excellence: 49%
Ernest Gold is a name I must confess that I haven’t heard much of, or rather the music of. I don’t know why that is, I just never came around to it, but I will and this is my first. This is the rejected or unused score of the 1980 Robert Zemeckis comedy Used Cars starring Kurt Russell as as sleazy used cars salesman Rudy Russo is trying to get a loan of $10,000 because he wants to run for senate. His boss gets in an “accident” however and all hell breaks loose amongst the car dealerships and there’s a full war where everything and anything goes. Ernest Gold recorded a score for this movie but instead they opted to hire Patrick Williams to do a replacement score. The unused score was luckily salvaged and released by La-La Land Records. The Patrick Williams score was really good, although nothing spectacular.
The Patrick Williams score started with a march and so does the Ernest Gold one. It starts however with an adapted march originally created by John Phillip Sousa adapted by Ernest Gold. He uses many different Sousa marches and they are very well known, and the adaption is good enough, but I won’t include them as part of the score because they are so well known. The first original score cue is ‘Mickey Arrives (Outtake)’ which is a much more darker and sinister take on Mickey compared to what Williams had in mind. ‘Eulogy’ sounds like a source cue from a sad church piano. Works well and is quite funny given the context. ‘Circus Source’ is by all means a source cue from the circus and it plays like one too. Very fun as well. ‘Disco Intro (Outtake)’ is a very short 70s/early 80s style disco piece. ‘Western Bar Source’ is a simple piano and organ cue fit for a western bar.
There are a lot of source cues and outtakes on Ernest Gold’s score which makes me think that this is all they could get from the original tapes. It is still fun to hear Gold’s vision of the movie, even though we might not get the complete picture. Gold’s ‘Test Pattern (Outtake)’ is using a flute as a rhythmic pattern and mixing in a bit of Sousa as well. Again, stylistically it’s completely different from the Patrick Williams version which ended up in the movie. Seems like the director and Gold were thinking very differently in terms of music. ‘The Fight (Outtake)’ is a comedic and light cue a bit slap stick-ish I thought. Almost sound like an 80s Elmer Bernstein comedy cue at times. ‘Flame Out (Outtake)’ is a fun march cue that sounds a bit like big band music as well. ‘Let’s Move Out! / More Speed (Outtake)’ is a great heroic orchestral cue, sounding a bit like something you would hear from the 50s from Rozsa’s epics. The “epics” continue with ‘M104 (Outtake)’ in the beginning, but it is a more varied cue and you even have a waltz in here. ‘M111 (Outtake)’ is giving us more classic golden age inspired music. Lovely! The ending title ‘Used Cars End Credits (Outtake)’ is more of the good stuff and this makes me want to listen to more of Ernest Gold’s scores. If it sounds something like this, yes please.
What I liked about Ernest Gold’s unused score is the fact that it is very different from Patrick Williams recorded score. Williams’ score had a pop/blues/country feel over it but Gold’s score is more traditional and orchestral particularly near the end.
12. Flame Out (Outtake)
15. Let’s Move Out! / More Speed (Outtake)
16. M104 (Outtake)
17. M111 (Outtake)
19. Used Cars End Credits (Outtake)