These past few days I’ve been listening to Elfman’s Hitchcock score, which for the most the part I enjoyed. As well as the film. Even though it didn’t really go as in depth into the making of "Psycho" as I thought it would. The plot mostly balances the production with Hitchcock & Alma’s personal/professional relationship. Both Hopkins and Mirren do a nice job of exploring Hitchcock’s more flawed and emotional side. As well as their marriage on film.
Elfman’s score is mostly underscore in the film. Though still very effective none the less. The album is nearly forty minutes long. Hitchcock does remind me of some of his more dramatic 90s scores in a good way. It has grim, somber, jolly, and touching moments throughout the score. And though Elfman has mentioned that he wasn’t channeling Herrmann on this one. At least consciously anyway. And for the most part he’s correct, but some tracks share the spirit of Herrmann's music. I can’t really describe it.
There’s two themes/motifs as far as I know. There might’ve been third motif. If so it was vaguely used. The main theme “Theme from Hitchcock” is very dispirited, but bittersweet. To me it represents Hitchcock’s more intimate and emotional side. A side mostly hidden from Hollywood. When I hear the theme/motif play I can sympathize with the character, which was probably Elfman’s intention. Elfman sprinkles it throughout the album turning it inside out. Emulating a variety of emotions from it. This theme (to me) also depicts Hitchcock’s and Alma’s marriage. As well as how important she is in Hitchcock’s life. He needs her as much as he needs movies to make.
The secondary theme/motif is a lot more playful and humorous. The vibe I get from this particular motif represents the fun, pleasant, witty, and glamorous side of Hitchcock and his method of filmmaking, imho. I feel it touches upon Hitchcock’s professional relationship with his mate, Alma. This motif also echos the film's oddball humor. I love his jazzy rendition of it in “Selling Psycho”. As Elfman did with the main theme, he explores and tries different colors with the secondary motif. Proving it can do a range of things emotionally. This particular motif even opens the album in the track “Logos”.
Elfman also arranged the iconic “Funeral March For A Marionette” from “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” to conclude the album, which was a nice way to wrap up the score, imo. Especially for fans of Hitchcock.
The highlights on the album for me were, "Logos", “Theme from Hitchcock”, “The Premiere”, “Paramount/Out the Gate”, “Walk With Hitch”, “Celery”, “Telephone”, “Suspicion”, “Explosion”, “Selling Psycho”, “Fantasy Smashed”, “Finally”, “Home At Last”, “End Credit #1”, “End Credit #2”, and “Funeral March For A Marionette”.
Even though I enjoyed this score. I doubt it’ll be hailed as a classic years from now. The album is too short and most of the tracks are less than a minute to about a little over a minute long. So the score as a whole won’t stay in your memory long. Even though the main theme haunted me way after my first listen. Plus some of the cues feel like tension music and that might not sit well with teh average listener's enjoyment of the score. It might even take a few listens from some to appreciate the score as a whole. I’ve heard some believe that the themes/motifs aren’t developed enough. I disagree with that, but like I said I think it could take a few more listens for those to really comprehend.
So overall I thought this was a pretty good solid effort from Elfman.