Album: Catch Me If You Can: Music from the Motion Picture

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Album:

Catch Me If You Can: Music from the Motion Picture

Artist: John Williams
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Label: Dreamworks

Steven Spielberg veered from the futuristic sci-fi flirtations of A.I. and Minority Report with this brisk, stylish period take on the career of teen con-man extraordinaire Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his dogged G-man pursuer/de facto extended family member Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks). As always, the director’s musical collaborator is John Williams, and the scoring legend uses the occasion of their 20th collaboration as a rewarding musical journey back to the days when he was known as Johnny Williams, ambitious young pianist for Henry…

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Steven Spielberg veered from the futuristic sci-fi flirtations of A.I. and Minority Report with this brisk, stylish period take on the career of teen con-man extraordinaire Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his dogged G-man pursuer/de facto extended family member Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks). As always, the director’s musical collaborator is John Williams, and the scoring legend uses the occasion of their 20th collaboration as a rewarding musical journey back to the days when he was known as Johnny Williams, ambitious young pianist for Henry Mancini on such early jazz scores as Peter Gunn. Informed by a half-century of subsequent achievement, Williams’s return to the jazz idiom of his youth yields a smart, nervous score that evokes more than mere nostalgia. But with Dan Higgins’s moody sax often leading the way, the veteran composer’s work here seems more evocative reinvention than revisitation, yet another tribute to his uncanny ability to make any idiom his own. A handful of pop standards (including Sinatra’s “Come Fly with Me,” Getz and Gilberto’s “Girl from Ipanema,” “The Christmas Song” by Nat “King” Cole) deftly color both period and plot, but, as always, it’s Williams who provides Spielberg’s masterful imagery with its musical life’s blood. —Jerry McCulley

Catch Me If You Can is the 19th John Williams and Steven Spielberg feature collaboration, for which the composer has combined progressive jazz influences with the Philip Glass style minimalism he first explored for the director’s A.I.. The result is a unique and compelling blend, with the cool sax of Dan Higgins insinuating itself like a question mark through such otherwise sunlit set pieces as “The Float”’. Elsewhere, the vibes of Alan Estes are used to equally strong effect and though the jazz melodies sound improvised, every note was written to complement the most sophisticated and elegant orchestrations to grace a Hollywood film for some considerable time.

“Recollections (The Father’s Theme)” is a beautiful, introspective number developed from the score and intended as a future concert piece. The main theme and its variations are filled with effortless charm. The only drawback is that some may find the melodic material just a little too similar to that in A.I.. Five songs are interspersed among the score tracks, with Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly with Me” and Dusty Springfield’s “The Look of Love” (originally from the 1967 Bond spoof Casino Royale) especially complementing Williams’ highly engaging soundtrack.—Gary S. Dalkin

Related Works

Book:Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake

Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake

Frank W. Abagnale, Stan Redding

Frank W. Abagnale, alias Frank Williams, Robert Conrad, Frank Adams, and Robert Monjo, was one of the most daring con men, forgers, imposters, and escape artists in history. In his brief but notorious criminal career, Abagnale donned a pilot’s uniform and copiloted a Pan Am jet, masqueraded as the supervising resident of a hospital, practiced law without a license, passed himself off as a college sociology professor, and cashed over $2.5 million in forged checks, all before he was twenty-one. Known by the police of twenty-six foreign countries and all fifty states as “The Skywayman,” Abagnale lived a sumptuous life on the lam-until the law caught up with him. Now recognized as the nation’s leading authority on financial foul play, Abagnale is a charming rogue whose hilarious, stranger-than-fiction international escapades, and ingenious escapes-including one from an airplane-make Catch Me If You Can an irresistible tale of deceit. …[more]

Film:Catch Me If You Can

Catch Me If You Can

Steven Spielberg

An enormously entertaining (if somewhat shallow) affair from blockbuster director Steven Spielberg. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Frank Abagnale, Jr., a dazzling young con man who spent four years impersonating an airline pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer—all before he turned 21. All the while he’s pursued by a dedicated FBI agent named Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), whose dogged determination stays one step behind Abagnale’s spontaneous wits. Both DiCaprio and Hanks turn in enjoyable performances and the movie has a bouncy rhythm that keeps it zipping along. However, it…

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