I have little doubt that the late Jerry Goldsmith was one of the best film composers of the last forty years, and watching the new Fox DVD of Von Ryan's Express (1966), with their new policy of isolated film score tracks, simply confirms it. His music is always wonderfully rich in instrumental texture. His lack of stylistic dogma allows him to use a twangy electric, baritone guitar right along with very contemporary percussion styles, even if it is 1940's Italy. The largest part of the 27 minutes of music is about dramatic and cinematic clock and kinetic alignment. But like the oil derricks in Long Beach Harbor, dressed up as apartment buildings, he dresses his technical, narrative business up as music. Right from the start, there is a military drum visual instrumental, but he adds a wood block to keep the dramatic pulse right. Although his orchestra is equipped with a mandolin (so evocative of Italy), it seems they were short an accordion, so he uses some kind of accordion emulation, with synthesizers (also apparent in several places in the film, a WWII movie) or organ. What a pro. What great sounding music. The main thematic element is a march that sounds very close to the Hogan's Heroes March by Jerry Fielding (the first four notes are the same), which came onto television some weeks after the film was released (who stole from whom? Ahhh, there are only twelve notes, and as military music is for mentally challenged folks with short hair, they use even less.). To be particularly relished, the sophistication and accuracy apparent in a somewhat broad, comedy cue (right down to the brass waaah, waaah).