The Dave Grusin Archive
Music for the Screen

Stars:  Ewa Aulin, Marlon Brando ,Richard Burton, James Coburn, Walter Matthau, Ringo Starr, Charles Aznavour, John Huston, John Astin, Sugar Ray Robinson, Elsa Martinelli
Director:  Christian Marquand  
Producer:  Robert Haggiag
Released:  1969

Story:  The Candide-like adventures of a beautiful, innocent high school girl who encounters lust and lunacy on a journey of sexual discovery on which she encounters a drunken poet, a Mexican gardner, a patriotic general, a mad surgeon and a mystic guru.

When, only in his second year working on movies, Dave Grusin scored “The Heart is A Lonely Hunter” and “Candy” back-to-back, he instantly established a reputation for remarkable breadth of range and eclecticism.

One is lead to ponder how these two scores could possibly come out of the same young head within a matter of months.  Or, for that matter, why anyone with this gift for rock didn't pack in the jazz and film music, and become a pop chart billionaire.

When Dave Grusin declares that there are at least a half dozen radically different approaches to any motion picture, “Candy” stands out as the ultimate example of such possibilities.

Just as easily, the young lady's adventures could have been accented by chamber music or cool jazz.  Or why not a romantic orchestral backing in the Alfred Newman mode?  What emphasis of the poison-dipped finger pointing that might have made.  

Certainly the iconoclastic picture would have also lent itself nicely to something  surreal and synthesizer-based a la “Three Days of the Condor.”

But appropriately enough the musical backdrop for the long-heralded, star-drenched, but radically unsuccessful flick was psychedelic rock.  The composer modestly denies any special knowledge of the field, but rather says such film compositions are born out of an impressionistic feel for the genre.

Courtesy of contributions by Roger McGuinn (who co-wrote “Child of the Universe”), performances byThe Byrds and Steppinwolf, the rock achieves an authentic touch which robustly moves the picture along at transitional points from one disaster to another.

But there's still a tinge of jazz influence in the rock, along with a carousel of flourishes from Latin guitar (for reprisal assault by Manuel's family), military march (for the airborne soldiers) and matador fanfare (for surgical arena), not to mention the flavorsome rock guitar underscoring the scenes with the hunchback.

Sounds of the Sub Continent - courtesy of sitar and other Indian instruments set a location for the travelling pool of the self-styled mystic, lending their own humor while his Anglo Indian accent frequently lapses into New Yorkese.

“Candy” remained in virtual obscurity for some three decades, not being translated to home video format due to problems with music rights.  It's arrival on DVD has caused a flurry of excitement over the Grusin score, with commentary ranging from praise of its appropriate frivolity, ecstasy over the grand instrumentation of the closing music, declaration that it's the only thing which makes one want to see the film again, to calling it one of the best film scores of the decade.

Whereas the original sharp satire might have been lost in the book's translation to film, it is, nevertheless, always inherent in the score, with each chord punctuating the outrageousness with its own bite.

Music editor: Stanley davis

ABC S- OC 9   


Side One:

Child Of The Universe (The Byrds)
Birth By Descent
Opening Night: By Surgery
Border Town Blues:
A Blunt Instrument
Magic Carpet Ride (Steppenwolf)

Side Two

Constant Journey
Every Mother's Daughter
It's Always Because Of This: A Deformity
Marlon And His Sacred Bird
Ascension To Virginity
Rock Me (Steppenwolf)

Dave Grusin
Feature Films

soundtrack album