There are three main elements to Peppino De Luca’s score: a lovely, tragic main theme for the self-obsessed & self-loathing Dorian Gray; a pulsing mysterioso with guitar and screeching synth feedback; and a broad selection of source music evoking the indulgent lifestyle of a pretty male model who made a dangerous deal with the Devil to remain young.
De Luca’s main theme has two ongoing shades: there’s the tenderness and insecurity conveyed via piano and acoustic guitar, and a sense of something corrupt & fetid, via the use of a de-tuned bar piano. It’s an effective, simple trick that captures Dorian’s flawed morality, and it paves the way for more extreme musical contrasts which De Luca does explore later in his score.
Interspersed with these dramatic cues are myriad source cues that chart Dorian’s journey through hedonism, indulgence, and cruelty. DigiMovies’ CD features several score and source variations which do give the album a sometimes schizophrenic narrative (not to mention an abrupt finale), but that’s more reflective of the extreme moods De Luca had to capture in what was a mixed literary adaptation / sexploitation flick set in swinging sixties London.
The source cues range from lush orchestral to ditsy Bossa Nova (some featuring mixed vocals), a honky-tonk piano, a riff on Max Steiner’s A Summer Place theme in “Amore in Piccadilly (versione 3),” and a trippy rock theme (“Rito a Los Angeles”) which, like Stelvio Cipriani’s Bay of Blood (1971), echoes the guitar and ethereal organ instrumentation of Iron Butterfly’s “In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida” song, albeit goosed with exotic congas (which Cipriani also incorporated in his Bay score to evoke the sense of an ongoing human hunt).
The variety of styles, ranging from rock, jazz, and gilded Renaissance, merely reinforce De Luca’s talent, and DigitMovies’ CD offers a rare & complete sampling of the composer’s small body of work before his passing in 1974. De Luca’s other available scores include L’Uomo dagli occhi di ghiaccio / The Man with Icy Eyes [M] (1971) and La Ragazza conla pistola / The Girl with the Gun (1968).
© 2012 Mark R. Hasan