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It's been a while since I've seen the film, but I do recommend seeing it. Not so much for the music, though it's interesting to see the way it's worked in (and one scene may scar your perceptions of "The Sound Of Silence" forever). The film does have some good dialogue, such as "I got one word for you, kid: plastics" when a friend of Ben's father tries to advise him about a career; "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me... aren't you?" (which is now my computer's startup sound out of sheer hilarity), and the line from the hotel lobby that reveals Ben's inner guilt: "Are you here for an affair?"

But the best reason to see this movie is the editing. I'm not kidding. I haven't been this impressed by the editing in any other film so much that I noticed it, but with the oodles of music-accompanied montages, poor editing would have killed the movie.

But you're not here to hear me go on about the movie; you want to know about the soundtrack. I'll forego reviewing the David Grusin instrumental tracks and stick to the Simon and Garfunkel music, and I won't be reviewing songs in relation to their contexts in the film - it's purely the sound I'm concerned with here.

The first track is "The Sound Of Silence," and as far as I can tell it's simply the Sounds Of Silence album cut. A few tracks later comes a brief instrumental of "Mrs. Robinson," highlighted by "deet deet" and "doot doot" noises sung in the background, but made especially good by the ominous tones provided by some low-pitched string instrument over top of it at various points.

"Scarborough Fair/Canticle (Interlude)" is definitely worth noting. It's short, delicate, and wordless, and the instrumentation is deliciously sparse - the melody on high plucked strings, with nothing else but a few occasions of the afore-mentioned low-pitched strings at strategic points.

"April Come She Will" is another track taken straight from an album, and the 6+ minute version of "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" is nothing special either. It's merely the album track twice in succession, with some pretty flute music patching the middle. "The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine" is about a minute shorter than the album version, leaving out the last verse and introducing a few little musical differences, but other than that I don't find it worth noting, as I'm not all that impressed by the song to begin with.

Another brief rendition of "Mrs. Robinson" appears near the end of the album. It runs through only one verse, and some of the lyrics are a bit different from the full version. It also has a terribly nifty ending. It's worth mentioning that the four-minute version you're used to hearing from Bookends doesn't appear in full in either the film or the soundtrack.

A pretty acoustic version of "The Sound Of Silence" closes the album. As far as I can tell, it's higher-pitched than the original, which seems to be for two reasons: there's more emphasis on Art's voice, and I believe it's in a higher key than normal. While it's as long as every other version, the last verse is hummed instead of sung. The softness and delicacy make this version of the song one of my favorites. (And I'm sure my geekiness shows by virtue of that fact that I'm able to have a favorite version of a particular song.)

I give it 3 out of 5 stars. It's not horrible, and it does have a few excellent tracks, but for the most part it's a very quick recap of Sounds Of Silence and Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme, mixed in with plot-oriented guitar instrumentals.

All reviews © 2000-03 Andrea L. Robinson.
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