In this promotional short for Once a Thief (1965), composer Lalo Schifrin explains how he tries to make the music complement each particular scene, depending on the scene's mood.


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Uncredited cast:
Ralph Nelson ...
Himself (uncredited)
Himself (uncredited)


Director Ralph Nelson hires a boyish Lalo Schifrin to compose and record the soundtrack for the moody black-and-white film, "Once a Thief." We see them discuss the film, then Schifrin gets to work. He tell the camera what he's aiming for, we see him composing at his piano then conducting an orchestra. At the end of the short film, we see a scene with Schifrin's music giving it emotional texture. Written by <>

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A complete dud from start to finish...
8 May 2009 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Instead of being what it purports to be, THE BACKGROUND BEAT is a complete misfire. Film composer Lalo Shifrin attempts to show us how he went about composing the music for ONCE A THIEF.

One can only get the impression that it was hardly an inspiring score, although Schifrin is a very talented man. But the few examples shown here are worthless as far as inspiring anyone to be interested in film scoring. This is more of a promotional piece for fans of Ann-Margret and Alain Delon who are shown in a few brief clips from what looks like a very dull film. If anyone thought that this promotional piece was going to make the film click at the box-office, they were mistaken.

It's a dull talk by Schifrin who says all the obvious things about creating mood and atmosphere for a film. Sometimes romantic music. Sometimes violent. For violence, he uses brass and drums. For romance, the violins and piano. No kidding.

Summing up: As an introduction to scoring music for film, this is a complete failure and an insult to anyone seriously interested in the subject.

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